Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine
Kamakura makes for a colorful and cultural day trip from Tokyo. The small city has over 75 temples and shrines, the biggest and most famous of which is the Tsuragoaka Hachimangu Shrine.
The shrine was founded by Minamoto Yoriyoshi in 1063. Despite being a shinto shrine it's layout is that of a Japanese buddhist temple. Because of its extreme beauty it's a popular spot for weddings and for the year's first shrine visit, a practice called hatsumode. During the New Year holidays it draws over 2 million visitors.
The walk from the station to the shrine is beautiful and dramatic: a long wide street embellished by orange torii gates that leads from the waterfront through the entire city. In April and September archery on horseback is performed along this street. The best time to visit is early springtime when the cherry blossoms and azaleas burst into colorful bloom.
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