An hour and a world away from Tokyo lies Kamakura, briefly capital of Japan in the 12th century. Today it is a sleepy and charming coastal town, surrounded by hills. This natural physical barrier has preserved the atmospheric character of Kamakura, which is full of centuries-old temples and shrines still in use, giving visitors a rare glimpse of a much older Japan.
The principle shrine is Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu. Though now seen as the god of war, Hachiman was once regarded as the guardian of all Japan and his shrine is one of the most important Shinto shrines in the country.
Kamakura is also home to the Daibutsu Buddha, an imposing 13m tall bronze statue built in 1252.