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Just a short train ride from Tokyo, Kamakura is a small seaside town with a big green Buddha. Besides seeing the famous Buddha, there are plenty of temples and shrines dotting the hills and valleys of the community to check out. This was once the seat of Japan’s military dictatorship and remnants of those times still remain.

One is the regular horseback archery demonstration called Yabusame. Colorfully clad riders gallop down paths and take aim at circular targets set up along the way. Interested parties can see it live at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine in April and September. The shrine is 20 minutes from Kamakura Station on foot. (The Yokosuka Line will take you to Kamakura for ¥890 from Tokyo Station.)

However, Kamakura’s main summer attraction is the beach. The coast from Yuigahama Beach down to Enoshima is where the surfers come to ride. Besides a surfer or two, be prepared for some trash to float by. Beaches in Japan are notoriously unclean, and Kamakura is no exception.

Need a break? Set back from the water are makeshift restaurants and bars. They’re only open during the summer season and are good fun.

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