Kamakura

Great Budda
Kamakura Daibutsu

If you don’t have time to visit Kyoto and Nara, I highly recommend visiting Kamakura, which is just an hour or so by train south of Tokyo along the Pacific Ocean. Kamakura was the headquarters of the shogun from the 12th to 14th centuries with many historic temples and shrines. Take an early morning bike ride along the coast and watch the surfers. The streets are often jammed with tourist buses but you can bypass the crowds on two wheels. I recommend staying at a bed and breakfast along the coast, as we did on the 2009 Japan Cycle Tour.