Kanagawa For the First Time

Kanagawa Prefecture is where you will find the cosmopolitan port town of Yokohama, the ancient political capital, Kamakura, beach resort Enoshima and onsen town of Hakone. 

Conveniently located to the south of Tokyo, Kanagawa is a popular destination for day trips or a short getaway from Tokyo, both for people living in Tokyo and tourists alike. 

As a harbour city, Yokohama was the first point of entry for foreign influence to Japan. As such, it came under the influence of the British, Dutch and Chinese, and these various influences can still be seen in its beautiful Western influenced red-brick architecture and diverse community today.

The capital of Kanagawa prefecture is also the second largest city in Japan after Tokyo. Its scenic harbourfront makes it a popular date spot for the locals, and the illumination of the buildings and landmark ferris wheel makes for a great view at night.
Image source: By Alberto Carrasco Casado - Flickr: Yokohama, Japan (2010), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17882028
Attractions here include Yamashita Park, which provides a lovely walk around the harbour, a rose garden and a former cargo and passenger ship anchored at the bay for display. Yokohama is also home to Japan’s largest Chinatown, where you can find authentic cuisine from all over China, and various shops claiming to serve the best meat buns in the world. 

Kamakura was Japan’s political capital in the 10th century for over a hundred years, and is sometimes referred to as the Kyoto of east Japan for its many shrines and temples. It has one of the biggest Buddha statues in Japan. It is a popular spot to visit in summer when the purple and blue azaleas bloom, and in autumn for its mountains and hills covered in azure leaves.

Further south of Kamakura is Enoshima, known as a surfer’s paradise during the summer. The small island has many restaurants offering fresh seafood, as well as stylish cafes and bars catering to the younger crowd.
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Probably Japan’s most famous onsen resort is Hakone, which is under 90 mins by train from Shinjuku. There are several onsen zones here, from those by Lake Ashi, which offers a view of Mt Fuji from certain angles, to those high up in the mountains, where the spring water is milky.

Taking the cable car to get to Lake Ashi and then hopping on a cruise ship that gives you a view of Mt Fuji en-route is a popular course. There are also many art museums here that are worth a visit.
Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ALakeAshi_and_MtFuji_Hakone.JPG

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