Kanagawa Prefecture is within easy reach of Tokyo, making it a popular destination for visitors and Tokyoites alike. Yokohama’s history as the foreign settlement from the 19th century onward gives it a cosmopolitan air. In among the flashy shopping malls and shiny towers that make the skyline one of the most beautiful in Japan hides a laid-back, friendly town. Further down the coast, Kamakura is packed with temples that connect modern Japan with its spiritual past but also provide stunning scenery all year. Hakone, the mountain pass that once separated the Shogun’s capital in Tokyo from the Emperor’s court in Kyoto, is now a must-visit spot for views of Mt. Fuji and relaxing onsen. The wild landscape of Owakudani—accessible via the Hakone Ropeway—will have you convinced you're on another planet entirely.
Kanagawa is accessible via the JR Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya and beyond as well as regular JR trains, highway bus and car.
Shin-Yokohama is the shinkansen hub for Kanagawa, but if you’re coming from Tokyo then the regular JR Line is easier and cheaper, taking just 30 minutes on the JR Yokosuka Line. Kamakura is another 30 minutes down the same track. From Tokyo, Kawasaki is 20 minutes along the JR Tokaido Line, and reaching Hakone requires a shinkansen to Odawara and then the Hakone Tozan Railway to the final stop. From Yokohama, Kanagawa and Kawasaki, local train lines and buses radiate out. Haneda Airport is very close by—just over the border into Tokyo—and is easily reachable from Kanagawa.
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Hakone Wood Parquetry
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Kamakura Carved Lacquerware
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When the cherry blossoms appear and festival season starts, the temples of Kamakura and the parks of Yokohama are the places to be.
The beaches along the Kanagawa coast and the ever-popular island of Enoshima draw visitors from Tokyo’s concrete heat, while others escape the humidity completely by going to Hakone.
The autumn leaves in and around Hakone are simply staggering and a must-see. Elsewhere the samurai festival in Kamakura draws crowds.
Hakone can be a bit cold, but onsen waters will warm bones and hearts, and the views of snow-capped Mt. Fuji and temples and shrines are what cameras were made to capture. Winter illuminations at many leisure spots add to the charm of the season.