9 Places to visit in Kanagawa Prefecture – A truly timeless prefecture where age-old traditions are eclectically mixed with modernity in the most natural way possible. The Kanagawa prefecture is home to vibrant, skyscraper dotted metropolitans like Yokohama and Kawasaki adjacent to geographically blessed cities like Hakone and Kamakura. With a mind-boggling amount of amazing things to see and do, we’ve made it easy with a list of 10 places in Kanagawa that you cannot miss.
1. Hakone Mototsumiya Shrine
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Be immersed in serenity the moment you enter the vast fields where the Hakone Mototsumiya Shrine is located. Situated at the summit of Mount Kamiyama, visitors can choose to take a peaceful hike among the clouds or hop onto the scenic Komagatake Ropeway to get to the top.
The Hakone Mototsumiya Shrine is said to have a uniquely intense yet calming atmosphere, being considered the boundary between God and humans during ancient times. Snap some pictures of the aerial view of Lake Ashinoko or experience a spiritual awakening at the Haiden. This is a great spot to get away from the crowds of the popular sightseeing spot, Hakone shrine.
2. Yokohama Cosmo World
Free your inner child at the whacky Yokohama Cosmo World amusement park. The park is divided into 3 different zones from family-friendly children rides and flashy arcades to adrenaline-pumping haunted houses and stomach-dropping rollercoasters. What makes this wonderland unique is the admission fee, or lack thereof, simply pay for individual attractions and rides at the ticket machines scattered around the park!
Ever wondered what Yokohama looked like from above? Hop onto the enormous Cosmo Clock 21, which was once the world’s tallest Ferris wheel back in 1992. This dominating wheel is not for the faint-hearted, bringing riders up 108 meters into the air for awe-inspiring views of the city down below and even views of the majestic Mount Fuji on clear days.
Read also: 48 hours in Yokohama on a budget
3. Hakone Stone–paved Road (Hakone)
Strap on your hiking shoes and venture down the Hakone Stone–paved Road. This unique pass, also known as the Hakone or Tokaido highway, was one of the most treacherous mountain passage some 400 years ago. It takes about 6 hours to complete the entire 11-kilometre hike between Moto-Hakone and Hakone Yumoto. But, you can still enjoy the beauty of this cedar-lined path with only a 1.5-hour trek to the Amazake Chaya, a quaint tea house where you can stop for a toasty cup of Amazake, adjacent to the Tokaido Museum which single purpose is to enlighten visitors about the intriguing history of this stone-paved road connecting Kyoto and Edo.
4. Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum
Ramen is one of Japan’s most well-loved delicacies, and there is no better place to indulge in this tantalizing dish than at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum. Opened back in 1994, this extraordinary Ramen museum was the world’s first food-themed amusement park.
The food court replicates the nostalgic shophouses of Shitamachi back in the mid 19th century, with 9 ramen restaurants offering a wide array of broths, noodles and toppings guaranteed to leave you beyond satisfied. You’re advised to purchase a mini portion from each restaurant to prevent getting too full before you can try all the featured dishes.
Read also: Where to find the best Ramen in Tokyo
5. Chisuji Falls (Hakone)
Get away from the hectic city and in touch with nature at Chisuji Falls. It only takes less than 30 minutes through the lush greenery to reach the 20-meter long waterfall, making it an easy and quick hike for people of all ages. Chisuji Falls means “waterfall of a thousand threads” due to the countless cascading streams of water that makes this scene so mesmerising.
During the autumn, visitors frolic to the waterfall to appreciate the hues of oranges and reds that colour the tree branches. While during the summer around July when the forest is covered in bright green moss and dense trees, millions of fireflies come out to play, illuminating the forest in the most enchanting way possible!
6. Nihon Minka-en Open Air Museum (Kawasaki)
Be instantly teleported back to the Edo Period as you stroll through the Nihon Minka-en Open Air Museum. The site features over 20 traditional Japanese buildings from all over Japan that were actually inhabited before being relocated. Explore the wooden walls, thatched roofs and even an actual samurai warrior’s house to get a glimpse of authentic Japanese living some 300 years ago.
There are also workshops that illustrate traditional crafts that you can try for yourself from indigo dyeing to bamboo handicrafts. The Nihon Minkaen Museum is also the site of a myriad of cultural festivals, be sure to catch the performances!
7. Komachi Street (Kamakura)
Situated in the vivid heart of Kamakura City, lies Komachi Dori, a bustling shopping street dotted with endless souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants and more. Weave through the crowd and fill up your shopping bags with Japanese potteries, souvenirs, fashion items, painted postcards and even authentic Ghibli merchandise from the Ghibli shop! Eat your way through the endless rows of street food and be sure to try Kamakura specialities like fresh Whitebait and Hydrangea flower ice cream.
Make sure to head down early and on a weekday if you can as this popular street can get pretty crowded and remember to pay a visit to the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine at the end of the street before you leave!
8. Tateishi Park (Yokosuka)
Dreaming of soaking up the sun while strolling down the sparkling coastline? Hop over to Tateishi Park. Situated by the coast of Yokosuka, the breathtaking view of Suwa lake was what inspired the popular Kimi no Na wa anime, deservingly so! Take a quick hike up to the top of the park for postcard-worthy views of the city and Mount Fuji in the distance. It’s the perfect little spot for a lovely picnic and romantic sunset views or just a great way to appreciate the natural beauty of Kanagawa.
Tateishi Park can be accessed directly from Yokohama with a quick 1-hour ride on the Yokosuka Line and a 20-minute bus ride.
9. Hokokuji temple (Kamakura)
Despite all the pictures you’ve seen of this lovely spectacle, nothing can quite capture how it feels to stand among the tall bamboo trees in Japan. But did you know you can skip the touristy crowds of Arashiyama and instead, discover true tranquillity between the bamboo grove of Hokokuji Temple?
The Hokouji Temple dates back to 1334, surrounded by verdant flora and carpeted with flowers, instilling zen into visitors the moment they set foot into this holy sanctuary. Follow the winding moss-covered stone path to a thatched roof bell tower, the statue of Gautama Buddha and a nearby tea house that serves up a mean cup of matcha!
Overall, the Kanagawa prefecture is home to some dazzling popular attractions as well as charming hidden gems still waiting to be uncovered. Other than that, this prefecture is easily accessible from Tokyo with just a 1-hour train ride or less. Discover the impressive places of Kanagawa, it is sure to make you love Japan even more!
See you again next time!
Constantly on the hunt for her next adventure, Natalie is a passionate tourism student from Singapore. With her heart set on travelling the world, she absolutely fell in love with Japan. If she isn't looking for her next haunt, she's usually out taking photos.