When traveling to places like Japan, which has a long, rich history, it is always important to try to learn something about the places you visit. However, sometimes it can be a little bit difficult, as it can be difficult to find the best places to see in Japan, and unfortunately people often do not speak English. Recently, on one of my frequent trips to Kamakura, I finally managed to drag my incredibly busy girlfriend away from work to show her around the area. Even though I have visited Kamakura several times since moving to Tokyo, I am always finding new and interesting places to visit and things to do. This time we did a perfect Kamakura couple’s activity: the rickshaw tour!
The guided rickshaw tour, run by a company called ‘EBIYUSA Kamakura’, offers various packages ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours, and can seat up to 3 people. The seats are a little strange at first (probably due to it being my first time), but our guide made us comfortable and even provided a blanket to shield our legs from the sun. The rickshaw also has a cover that can fold up or down depending on your preference.
They will provide you with a map in a brochure, from which you can select where you would like to be taken. We asked our guide that day, Satoshi-san, to take us where he thought would be best.
Satoshi-san has been running rickshaw tours in Kamakura for six years.
We met our guide at the Family Mart near JR Kamakura station. The rickshaw itself is actually quite comfortable!
And away we go!
Our first stop was this small bridge, which Satoshi-san explained was named after the harp instrument, due to the sound the wind would make as it blew through the trees that used to grow alongside the river.
He then brought us to the area leading up to Myohonji, a temple that I have visited once before (you can read more about it here). Though I had seen it once before, as it was coming into the Summer season, the air amongst the trees was beautifully fresh.
It appeared that we either interrupted an amateur camera club, or two foreigners riding a rickshaw in Kamakura was exciting. We instantly became D-list Kamakura celebrities!
After Myohonji, Satoshi-san brought us back into town, passing another temple, and then weaving through the backstreets of Kamakura.
The ride itself is incredibly smooth and the rickshaw is surprisingly quiet (not at all ‘ricketey’ like the name might suggest). It is definitely a comfortable experience!
Before concluding our tour we were pulled along Wakamiya Street, the main road of Kamakura, which leads all the way up to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. Along the way, Satoshi-san pointed out several stores and their relevance to Kamakura’s history. Throughout the course of the tour, he was incredibly knowledgeable about the area, so hopefully you will learn something interesting about Kamakura!
After all was said and done, he agreed to pose for a photo and gave us some souvenirs to take back with us to Tokyo. As we were only able to do the 30 minute tour, time completely flew by, so I would absolutely recommend going for longer if you can. It was a lot of fun, and our guide was informative and fun. The tours are great for anybody interested in visiting Kamakura, not just couples but elderly travelers or small groups (as it definitely beats walking!).
If you are exploring Kamakura and would like to have a unique and interesting experience, do not pass up Ebisuya Kamakura’s rickshaw tours!
You can make online bookings with Ebisuya on their website here.