Shonan Area [湘南]

1Kamakura [鎌倉]

    Kamakura is one of the most well known of all tourist attractions in Japan. With a rich history spanning several centuries, Kamakura is a must see destination for any tourist wishing to visit Japan. The city is a treasure trove of interesting shrines and monuments depicting the long and rich history of Japan. As one of the foremost cities created when Japan was starting to emerge as a nation, Buddhist and Shinto shrines centuries old are common through the city and make for wonderful tourist attractions. The most famous of these shrines is the Koutokuin Shrine, of more commonly known as the Great Buddha. This massive bronze statue of the Buddha is one of the popular tourist destinations in Japan, making it a must see sight. Other shrines such as The Kamakura Gozan and the Tsurugaoko Hachiman-go are also famous attractions that attract thousands of visitors per year. Museums are also popular destinations, and the most famous, the Kamakura Kokuhoukan, the home to relics and artifacts of Japan’s vibrant history.  Kamakura also provides fantastic beaches, such as the renowned Yuigahama beach; a popular destination for surfers and beach goers alike.

              Kamakura is known for festivals, or “Matsuri” in Japanese, and the summer months are filled with fireworks and lots of dancing and singing. Kamakura is a lively place, and will sure to entertain anyone who visits the city. The food in the city of Kamakura is quite excellent, such as Kamakura’s nationally renowned senbei, a delectable Japanese snack. Stores such as Beniya(紅谷) and Noushimya (農島屋) specialize in Japanese confectionary goods, and make good gifts for family members and friends.

2. Chigasaki [茅ヶ崎]

While Chigasaki may be a small city, this does not mean that this wonderful city has little to offer. Becoming a city in 1947, Chigasaki is the birthplace of surfing in Japan, and is a well known spot for surfing enthusiasts. The “Southern Beach” of Chigasaki has become a renowned place for surfers and non-surfers alike for its beautiful beaches and superb waves. The surfboard and other surfing accessories store “Goddess” is reportedly the first surfing store that opened in Japan and is famous for its surfboards and other paraphernalia. Chigasaki is also the centre of Hawaiian Japanese culture, and as such, many restaurants and shops cater to the Hawaiian culture. Chigasaki also has “Aloha Fridays”, where Hawaiian culture and customs come alive within the city.

              There are plenty of eateries and shops that offer a wide selection of goods in Chigasaki. A brewery called “Kumazawa Sakekou” offers original brews that quench one’s thirst after a long day at the beach, and “Kumaya”, a well-known Japanese restaurant full of delicious food. One can also buy gifts and presents in Chigasaki, including delicious sea food, such as Yajima Ham and Shounan Zantes, and numerous accessories at Studio Starfish.