7 Things to Do in Kanagawa Prefecture
Just south of Tokyo, Kanagawa Prefecture is known for its ancient temples at Kamakura, healing hot springs and beautiful beaches along the coast, as well as thriving cities like Yokohama rich in culture and history. Loved by locals and visitors alike, a trip to Kanagawa is an ideal holiday destination in Japan.
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Due to its proximity to central Tokyo and the picturesque harbor front, Yokohama is the top place to visit in Kanagawa Prefecture. The city's highlights include the trendy Motomachi area, the largest Chinatown in Japan and Minato Mirai 21, the commercial waterfront, home to historic brick warehouses, a romantic seaside promenade and the iconic Ferris wheel.
This small island is a popular summer destination, filled with gardens and greenery, shrines and caves to explore and even an impressive day spa. Just across the water on the mainland, vast stretches of sandy shores perfect for sunbathing, swimming or surfing await after a day spent discovering Enoshima.
Known for the healing powers of its hot springs and the natural splendor of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Hakone is the ideal place to escape to for rest and relaxation. On clear days, Mount Fuji is visible behind the green forests and hills of the park. The symbol of Hakone is its lakeside shrine, the stunning red torii (gate) which rests partially submerged in water.
The ancient city of Kamakura is very much a temple town, home to the majority of Kanagawa's major Buddhist temples. But there's more to Kamakura than the Giant Buddha, stone steps and ornate wooden gates. The town is located on the seaside, and is host to a number of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and noted for its local specialty, vegetarian cuisine influenced by the traditional diet of monks.
The pride of Odawara City, this castle once belonged to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The castle tower and gates are just fragments of the original size it was during the Kamakura Period, around 1200 AD. The structures have been restored several times over the years and Odawara Castle is now considered one of Japan's finest castles.
On the Boso Peninsula, Cape Kannonzaki is known for its lush hydrangeas in summer, well-maintained beaches and seaside views. The area's highlights include the Kannonzaki Lighthouse, the Yokosuka Museum of Art and Hashirimizu Shrine. The cape is located in the Shonan area of Kanagawa Prefecture, southeast of Yokosuka.
Mount Oyama is a perfect day trip from Tokyo or Yokohama. Like many of Japan's mountains, there's no need to worry about things like toilets, food or water, since the mountain is well-traveled and equipped for explorers of all fitness levels. After hiking or taking the cable car to the halfway point, hikers can rest, grab a snack, visit the shrine or check out the deer park. A full hike to the top, without using the cable car, would take about five hours.
Whether a day trip from Tokyo or a trip in its own right, Kanagawa Prefecture is filled with fun activities to do and fascinating places to explore.