Kamakura is perhaps most known for its meditating giant Buddha and scenic coastline but come late May, its temples and Enoden tram tracks are bursting with the vibrant blooms of hydrangeas and irises. This is one of Japan’s prime spots for enjoying the rainy season — a centuries’ old tradition of flower gazing on a dreary grey day. But with a little luck, you can catch this scenery on a sunny afternoon, too.

Hydrangeas, in particular, seem to be nearly everywhere in this seaside city. Some temples even have up 40 varieties of hydrangeas blooming on its grounds.

Meigetsuin Temple in late May. Photo by sweetscentofmagnolia935

To get around Kamakura, the local train called the Enoden Electric Railway is the best option, but it will be really crowded this time of year. Locals are starting to complain, actually! Because it’s so crowded it’s best to arrive early. There’s bound to be a line on the train platforms and at the temples.

Make the most of your visit to this popular coastal destination with this itinerary that will take you to the best spots for temple hopping, flower photography and good (no great!) eats.

1. Breakfast at Cobakaba

Start things off right with breakfast at Cobakaba, or for you late risers out there, Cobakaba has also got you covered with a lunch set.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXy05N7gZjn/

Photo by Cobakaba

This quaint cafe and neighborhood co-op located right next to Kamakura station is family owned and operated since 2006. The morning set is the most popular menu item; for only ¥500, you’ll get a traditional Japanese meal of 5-grain rice, miso soup, salad, natto (fermented soybeans) and an egg. For lunch, try the dry curry meal. Don’t get too comfortable, though, you’ve got a long day ahead of you!

  • phone

    Telephone

    Tel: 0467-22-6131

    From outside of Japan: +81 467-22-6131

  • address

    Address

    Komachi, 1 Chome, 1丁目, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa 248-0006
  • hours

    Hours

    • Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday:
      • 07:00 - 14:00
  • website

2. Walk the Hydrangea Trails of Hasedera Temple

Hydrangeas (ajisai) are the flower of Japan’s rainy season (early June to July), a flower associated with the impermanence and fickle nature of love.

Photo by hiroki.d850

No need to get philosophical if you just want to take some pretty pictures, though. Just put on your hiking boots and get your camera ready to capture the 40+ varieties of hydrangeas decorating the hills of HasederaTemple. (Map)

Address: 3-11-2 Hase, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa

Admission Fee: ¥300

3. Snack on Kamakura-yaki at Abre Noir Yakumi

After temple hopping, you’re bound to have worked up a bit of an appetite, so take a break at Abre Noir Yakumi.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BfgBVzhnYqy/?tagged=%E3%82%A2%E3%83%AB%E3%83%96%E3%83%AB%E3%83%8E%E3%83%AF%E3%83%BC%E3%83%AByakumi

Photo by h_fujimori_01

Elegant yet simple with a matcha-flavored shell branded with the Chinese characters for “Kamakura,” Kamakura-yaki are flavorful treats filled with a black sesame and red bean paste. What’s more, Kamakura-yaki are only ¥60 each, so why not try a few? Get yours fresh off the grill or to go. Kamakura-yaki make wonderful souvenirs, thanks to the sleek black packaging.

  • phone

    Telephone

    Tel: 0467-53-8210

    From outside of Japan: +81 467-53-8210

  • address

    Address

    Yukinoshita, 1-Chome-8, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa 248-0005
  • hours

    Hours

    • Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday:
      • 10:00 - 18:00
  • website

4. See Hydrangeas From the Windows of the Enoden Tram

The retro-chic Enoden railway is the lifeline of Kamakura and Enoshima residents, and it’s the best way to see the sights of the Shonan coast.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BVB_0MhBSBj/

Photo by ochok123

Not to be missed is a ride on the Enoden train during the rainy season, as this is when hydrangeas are at their peak. Get a one day pass for 600 yen and you’ll be able to on and off as you please. Make time in your itinerary to ride the entire 10 kilometers of this scenic trail. The ride from Kamakura to Fujisawa is about 30 minutes, and hydrangeas run the nearly the entire length of the ride.

5. See Irises at The Inner Garden of Meigetsuin Temple

Hydrangeas are no doubt the highlight of a rainy June day at Meigetsuin Temple (it’s also known as “Hydrangea Temple”).

https://www.instagram.com/p/BVhS16RBqgz/?utm_source=ig_embed

Photo by celiaintokyo

But head to the inner garden for another seasonal floral delight. Violet and lavender irises are a lovely highlight to the green blades of grass and the serene wooden walking paths. (Map)

Address: 1-8-9 Yamanouchi, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa

Fee: ¥300 (entrance); Iris garden: ¥500 (open in June)

6. Sunset Dinner at Amalfi Della Sera

End your Kamakura excursion with an Italian feast and wine at the neighborhood favorite, Amalfi Della Sera. While getting to the restaurant itself is a bit of adventure (watch your step on those stairs!), the view once you get to the top will make the journey worth your while.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLxtrnuDwnh/

Photo by yurika1412

If the weather is in your favor choose terrace seating to get a 180-degree panoramic view of a sunset over the Hayama coastline, nearby Enoshima, and Mt. Fuji (if you’re lucky). Dinner is typically around ¥3,000 to ¥4,000.