Kamakura [鎌倉]

Enclosed by hills in the west, north, and east and by Sagami Bay to the south, Kamakura is a natural defensible stronghold. Before modern roads and tunnels were constructed, connecting the city to surrounding areas, Kamakura could only be accessed through narrow artificial passes, of which seven of the most significant are known as the Kamakura Seven Entrance. For this reason, Minamato no Yoritomo, the first shogun of the Kamakura Period, chose to make Kamakura the de facto capital of Japan.

Kamakura is now a popular tourist destination, having many significant Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. In fact, some of these buildings are over 1200 years old and are listed in UNESCO:s World Heritage Site list. However, the most visited site is the monumental outdoor bronze statue of Amida Buddha. This Daibutsu has become one of Japan’s most recognizable images. In addition to its many historical sites, Kamakura has many festivals and events throughout the year.