The Daibutsu / Buddha
This is definitely one of the places to go to when visiting Kamakura. The Buddha, a 13th century relic, majestically thrones above the temple grounds. It´s a rather quiet and recreative spot, especially if you are lucky to visit here during the cherry blossom (sakura) season. The blooming cherry trees along the temple grounds turn it into a great and unique scenic site to take pictures at.
The squirrels populating the place are not only cute but also not shy at all, so be prepared to have a furry squirrel friend approaching you when settling down on one of the stones and banks, especially when they spot you carrying food with you.
A few facts regarding the Buddha statue:
Height : 13,35m (47,8 ft)
The Amita Buddha statue was being made in 1252, by the artists Ono-Goroemon and Tanji-Hisamoto, on behalf of Idano-Tsubone and priest Joko, who also had the idea of making this Buddha and temple after raising money for this project. In the year 1498, a tsunami hit the temple grounds and it got completely destroyed, leaving only the foundation stones in place. For over 500 years now, the Buddha successfully managed to peacefully oppose weather, natural disasters and war.
In 1960, the statue was thoroughly renovated, repaired, enforced and put on a flexible base in order to avoid damages caused by future earthquakes. This took almost a year but turned out to be a good investment as the statue is in a very good condition regarding its age.
For a small 300 Yen fee, you can enter the statue and have a look at it from the inside.
If you are visiting in summertime, I can just recommend having either “sakura” or “lavender” icecream from one of the many shops surrounding the temple. Trust me, it´s delicious. You can also buy all sorts of souvenirs ranging from T-shirts to fans or wallscrolls there.
Kamakura is located around 35 to 55 minutes to the South of Tokyo, depending on which train connection you´ll take. It´s really easy to get to (via Yokosuka train line), and if you´d like you, you can make a stopover at Yokohama on your way back, which is another interesting city with many sightseeing places, including Chinatown and its famous harbour area.