The call of the Zen
Receiving over nine million visitors a year, the Hachimangu Tsurugaoka Sanctuary is the symbol of the old capital. It is dedicated to Hachiman, the God of War. Yabusame is celebrated in the month of September, when a rider has to shoot arrows and hit a target while riding at high speed.
Today Kamakura remains relatively important politically, though it’s best known for the quality of life it offers. For starters, the city has a very agreeable temperate climate, with an average temperature of 16ºC. To the south it looks out over the Gulf of Sagami, and is completely surrounded by mountains to the north (Mount Genji), the east (Rokkokuken, Ōhira, Jubu, Tendai y Mt. Kinubari) and to the west. The river Namerigawa is a source of life for the city, and covers the city streets with bridges and riverbanks. Its beaches – Yuigahama, Zaimokuza, Koshigoe and Shichirigahama – are ideal for walking, surfing, and swimming, and, since the Japanese tend to hide away from the sun, they are rarely crowded. Meanwhile, trees, plants and green areas abound in the city, notably in its Kanagawa Prefecture Botanic Gardens which hold over 5,700 species of plants including a collection of rhododendrons and camellias.