Friday, 13 April 2012

T.G.I.F: Kamakura Festival

I decided to branch out this T.G.I.F thing a bit more and have decided to include events from around Japan more regularly. As such, this weekend there is a fantastic festival occurring in and around Kamakura's Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. So if you can peel yourself away from the cherry blossoms (the season of which is starting to wind down), you might find this festival could make for an interesting weekend. This weekend is the final chance to enjoy this festival so hop on it! 

Kamakura Festival promises to be bustling with parades of mikoshi (portable shrines) and musical bands. This Sunday you can enjoy a display of yabusame as a part of the festival. Yabusame is archery on horseback performed by men in traditional samurai garb. It is said that Minamoto-no-Yoritomo (a Japanese warlord, 1147 - 1199) came up with the idea for this festival with the aim of strengthening the mental power of his samurai warriors. The next large-scale yabusame Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine wont be until September.

Kamakura attracts large hoards of tourists on an average weekend, but with a festival thrown into the mix, you can expect Kamakura to be very busy! To get there, take the JR Tokaido Line to Ofuna then switch to the JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line (via the Yokosuka Line) to Kamakura. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is a 15 minute walk from Kamakura station's east exit. If you are interested in checking out the iconic daibutsu (big Buddha statue) afterwards, just take the Enoshima Electric Railway line from Kamakura station to Hase station (5 min) then walk to the Daibutsu (the area is clearly sign posted).

Enjoy! What are you doing this weekend?


  1. Looks like a great festival. We also have a big one in Gifu Prefecture on April 14-15 called the Takayama Sanno Matsuri. It is rated one of the 3 great festivals in Japan and attracts over half a million spectators.

    Japan Australia

    1. But are their samurais firing arrows on horseback?


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