JR East Tour: 4 Places we recommend near Kamakura
Hello, we are the train crew and staff from the Ofuna Train Depot! First of all, we would like to thank everyone who had submitted their votes in the Let’s vote! 7 virtual tours led by JR East’s train crew campaign, and would like to especially thank those who have voted for us. We would also like to applaud all the other depots for their excellent work!
(Image credit: Afiq / JR Times)
A lot of hard work was put into this project, and while we were confident that we would be selected to organise the virtual tour, unfortunately things didn't go as well as we had hoped.
Therefore in this article, we will be introducing the areas which we were planning to showcase in our virtual tour: Ofuna (大船), Hayama (葉山), Taura (田浦) and Yokosuka (横須賀). In addition to these areas, our depot is also in charge of three different railway lines, taking passengers to the airport and urban cities like Tokyo and Shinjuku everyday.
(Image & edit credit: Shiokawa Yuki, Ofuna-Big Buddha: Kato Yutaka)
Ofuna-Kannon (大船観音) is a statue that you can see from the east exit of Ofuna Station (大船駅 Ōfuna-eki), located in the site of the Ofuna-Kannonji (大船観音寺). One of the surprising facts is that the statue only has the upper part of its body—there was even a rumour that the rest of the body was buried underground! Unfortunately, the rumour is just a rumour—the statue was designed as it is today because the ground was not solid enough for a full-sized statue. It is also said that if Ofuna Kannon was made in full length, it would probably be bigger than the famous Kamakura Daibutsu (鎌倉大仏 Great Buddha of Kamakura) of Kotoku-in (高徳院 Kōtoku-in).
Speaking of the Kamakura Daibutsu, what did you think when the Ofuna-Buddha took off his mask? (The picture above is a still from the video that we made during the voting period, so if you haven’t watched it yet, please check it out because we’re sure that you will find it funny!) Our team members thought that Kato-san looks pretty similar to the Daibutsu, and we were confident that he would be an iconic character throughout the virtual tour. Maybe someday he will be a real tour guide!
Ofuna Kannonji (大船観音寺)
Address: 1-5-3, Okamoto, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa 247-0072
Nearest station: Ofuna Station (大船駅)
Opening hours: 09:00–16:00
Admission fee: ¥300 (Adults), ¥100 (Elementary & Middle School Students), Free for kids lower than elementary school.
Tel: +81 467-43-1561
Taura Station & Yokosuka Station
(Image & edit credit: Shiokawa Yuki)
The two stations we will be introducing: Taura and Yokosuka, are both accessible from the Yokosuka Line (横須賀線 Yokosuka-sen). Did you know that they were both constructed to support the army to transport goods during the war? Even today, history fans can enjoy the YOKOSUKA Naval Port Tour (横須賀軍港めぐり Yokosuka gunkō meguri) from the ocean near Yokosuka Station (横須賀駅 Yokosuka-eki).
Taura Station (田浦駅 Taura-eki) was constructed in between the two tunnels, called the Shikkama Tunnel (七釜トンネル). You can see that there are three tunnels on each side, all in different widths. They were all constructed during different Japanese eras, starting from the left in the image above: Showa period (1943), the Meiji period (1889), and the Taisho period (1924). Since these tunnels are registered as Japan Heritage, they are left as they were despite the fact that the tunnel on the left is not in use today. Additionally, the platform’s length is shorter than a train with 11 cars. So where would the train make a stop? And how would the doors open when the platform is too short? To see the answer, please board the first car from the front and visit Taura Station on the Yokosuka Line!
Another interesting station we will be introducing will be the Yokosuka Station on the Yokosuka Line—there are no steps or stairs throughout the station! Yes, there are neither stairs to enter the station, nor stairs to go to the platform. It is said that the steps and the stairs were excluded so that it will be easier for the army to transport the goods on board.
Zushi: Chojagasaki Beach
(Image credit (Left): Sugahara Hirofumi. Image (Right) & edit credit: Shiokawa Yuki)
The Chojagasaki Beach (長者ヶ崎浴場 Chojagasaki) is located in between Hayama City (葉山氏 Hayama-shi) and Yokosuka City (横須賀市 Yokosuka-shi). Hayama City is very close to Kamakura (鎌倉) area, located near Zushi Station (逗子駅 Zushi-eki). Zushi Station is only one station away from Kamakura. You can also catch the direct bus for the beach from Zushi Station.
As you can see from the image, the sea is very beautiful. Not only does its beauty make it popular, but the calm and small waves in the area makes it popular for families, especially those with small children. However, due to the pandemic of COVID-19, the beach is now closed, but you can still enjoy the scenery of the beautiful ocean from nearby.
Other enjoyable activities on the beach and its vicinity include fishing and snorkelling. The recommended fishing spot in the beach is called the Tonbi Shore (トンビ磯 Tonbi iso), where you can fish black sea bream, black rockfish, and thread-sail filefish, and more. Snorkelling is also enjoyable, and we recommend you try it out in the low tide, such as late in the morning and early in the afternoon.
Chojagasaki Beach (長者ヶ崎海水浴場)
Address: Chojagasaki, Shimoyamaguchi, Miura Gun Hayama Machi, Kanagawa
Nearest station: Zushi Station (逗子)
Access: 15-minute bus ride from the station
As we come to a close, we hope that you have enjoyed our short article introduction! It is unfortunate that we could not bring you on a virtual tour this time, but please check our teaser video and plan a tour for yourself in the Kamakura area.
Header image credit: Yuki shiokawa, Edit: Madoka Uehara
Writer's profile: We are from the Ofuna Train Depot, and our team was originally formed to promote the Kamakura area to tourists, especially since an upcoming historical drama will be released soon. Since the virtual tour voting campaign has ended, we will now focus on learning the rich history of our area, and we hope to share it with you at your next visit here!