Kamakura is a coastal city one hours train ride south of Tokyo. The former capital of medieval Japan, modern-day Kamakura is a resort town featuring dozens of Buddhist Zen temples and Shinto shrines. Its most recognisable landmark is the Kotoku-in Temple’s Great Buddha (pictured), a 13m-high bronze statue which is still standing after a 15th-century tsunami. Yuigahama Beach is a popular surfing spot, although on the day we visited it looked more like a lake with only the most optimistic surfers in the water.
Kamakura is Japan’s version of Californian/Hawaiian surf culture. The town is relaxed once you get away from the main tourist streets and has good food and coffee. For this trip we visited the famed Great Buddha, walked the back streets to the nearby town of Schichirigahama for lunch at Bill Granger’s restaurant overlooking Sagami Bay. As we have come to expect from bills, the food, service and atmosphere is all top notch and provided a faint feeling of home after the, at times, alien experience of Tokyo. Walking back along the coastline, there were paddle-board riders and eagles circling overhead. Before catching the train back to Tokyo, we stopped in for coffee at The Good Goodies, a focused coffee shop on a side street that also sells delicious cookies and cakes.