Kamakura, only an hour from Tokyo
on Sagami Bay, is a soothing contrast to the metropolis, despite being so close. The seaside town has several important cultural sites, shrines, temples, and hiking areas—the giant Buddha at Kotoku-in should not be missed. Kamakura also has a vibrant café culture, and it’s known for its fresh local vegetables. The Shonan coast is popular with surfers, who fit right in with the area's laid-back local culture. Take the Enoden train from Kamakura to Enoshima, an island associated with the goddess Benzaiten and connected to the mainland by a causeway. It's a perfect place for a hike around the island, ending at a beachfront restaurant for a meal of locally caught seafood.