Kamakura - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Kamakura


The city of Kamakura, about 30 miles (50km) southwest of Tokyo at the base of the Miura Peninsula, was the political powerhouse of Japan in the middle ages and the seat of government for most of the 13th century. Because of its historic importance Kamakura boasts numerous monuments, temples and shrines of interest to tourists. As an added bonus the city sports some sandy beaches and good hiking trails in the nearby wooded hills. Kamakura's many sights are too numerous to detail individually, but most important of them all is the Great Buddha. This bronze statue of the seated Amida Buddha is located in the grounds of the Kotokuin Temple, and standing at almost 44ft (13,35m) high, it is the second largest Buddha statue in Japan after that found in the Todaiji Temple in Nara. The Kamakura Great Buddha was cast in 1252 and was originally contained in the temple hall. A tidal wave (tsunami) washed away the temple in the late 15th century, but the Buddha prevailed and since then has stood in the open.

Information & Facts

Japanese is the official language. Most Japanese people will have studied English at school, but few can speak it well or understand what is said to them.

The currency is the Japanese Yen (JPY), which is equal to 100 sen. Major credit cards are accepted in the larger hotels and stores, but most Japanese operate with cash. Cash and travellers cheques can be exchanged in banks, post offices and currency exchange bureaux. Banks are usually open Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm. Travellers cheques offer the best exchange rate and are best taken in US dollars. ATMs do not accept all credit and debit cards; only the international ATMs in post offices, airports and some major stores.

Local time is GMT +9.
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