When you think you have seen everything Kamakura has to offer, remember that there’s always another secret. One of these often unknown attractions would be Mandarado Yagura, which opens only on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays. It’s a must-see for samurai fanatics.
“Yagura” refers to small caves which serve as the final resting place for the remains of fierce samurai, Japanese warriors from ages past. However, they can also contain the remains of prestigious merchants or Buddhist monks. Kamakura is one hot spot for tourists who want to visit yagura. The place is home to around 160 graves which are separated in three tiers carved into the face of a 10-meter high cliff. The graves have been dated as far back as the 15th century.
Mandarado Yagura’s opening times are limited because it was surveyed and restored by volunteers. Furthermore, it has only been re-opened to visitors since 2014. When we visited, the men seated at the area’s entrance and those patrolling the site were all very friendly and helpful while telling interesting stories and facts.
The Mandarado Yagura site itself is in a mountainous region and requires a bit of a trek to reach. Another option is taking a bus to the beginning of the trail to Mandarado Yagura. The name of the respective stop is Midorigaoka Iriguchi. From the JR Kamakura Station, exit from the east exit and take a bus that is bound for either Midorigaoka Iriguchi or Zushi. In any case, for weary travelers it might be a good idea to take the bus to conserve their energy for the strenuous walk back to JR Kamakura Station, during which there is a plethora of other sights to be enjoyed.
The Mandarado Yagura site has several placards that, like the helpful old men, are most effectively enjoyed in Japanese. A path to the right side of the area winding around provides its users with a gorgeous view over this historical land that houses the graves of many a brave samurai.
There’s no fee to enter the area housing Mandarado Yagura. Furthermore, the path leading to Mandarado Yagura offers many spectacular sights that should be thoroughly explored in their own right.
From JR Kamakura Station East Exit: At Terminal No. 3, take a bus bound for Zushi Station or Midorigaoka Iriguchi.
From JR Zushi Station: At Terminal No. 6 or 7, take a bus bound for Kamegaoka Danchi Junkan or Kamakura Station.
From From Keikyu Shin-Zushi Station: At Terminal No. 3 or 4, take a bus bound for Kamegaoka Danchi Junkan or Kamakura Station.