Lotus Ponds at Hachimangu Shrine

A photography outing in Kamakura

By Larry Knipfing    - 3 min read

If you happen to come to Japan in July or August, then I highly recommend you visit the two lotus ponds at Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura.

There are other places in Japan where you can find lotus, such as Sankei-en in Yokohama or Ueno Zoo Gardens in Tokyo, so if you are in any of those areas, give them a try as well. But if you are in Kamakura, you just have to stop in here for an hour or so! I lived in Kamakura for almost 15 years and made an effort to go there as often as I could. I have a lot of gorgeous photos as a result!

To beat the crowds (and the heat), come very early in the morning. It’s quiet and tranquil, and the air is fresh. Some people say that when lotus open in the morning, they actually make a kind of popping sound, but I have never heard it. In any case, you will be in your element as a photographer with all the time and space in the world to find those perfect shots. Lotus are sometimes very shy, so I sometimes like to get down low—below the level of the flowers—to see what I can find hiding beneath that huge canopy of green leaves. A lot of factors will influence what kinds of pictures you end up with. The angles you shoot from, combinations, background, lighting, shadow, and so on. Too much bright sunlight is not good, but a bit of sun can create interesting shadows.

When you reach Kamakura Station, come out the East Exit and turn left. Enjoy a leisurely stroll up the long, narrow Komachi-dori shopping street. When you reach the end of the street, turn right. The shrine grounds will be on your left. The entrance is just a minute or two from there. When you come into the grounds, the first pond is almost immediately to your left. This pond is smaller and tends to be a lot less spectacular than the second pond, but there are nuggets to be found in it for sure. The second pond, up ahead on the right, is quite large. You can spend at least an hour here, circling around, looking for shots. The lotus are either white or pink, and the leaves are large and green with a lot of fine detail in them. There is a tiny bridge (not the one by the entrance) that you can take photos from (or under!) or better yet, work out your angles so that the bridge appears in some of your shots with the lotus.

Whether you’re a pro, semi-pro, high level amateur, or just enjoy fooling around with your camera, these lotus ponds have got to be seen to be believed, so don’t miss this chance. DON’T MISS IT!

More info

Find out more about Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.

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Larry Knipfing

Larry Knipfing @larry.knipfing

Born on Long Island, New York in 1958, I have spent the last 30+ years of my life living in Japan, and enjoying every minute of it! I especially love photography, and Japan is definitely one of the most beautiful places in the world to photograph! (Visit my online gallery) My other love is fiction writing and I have published quite a few books that take place in Japan. Fun stuff! You can find them at my Amazon Author's Page. In addition to my writing, I have mainly been working in the field of corporate training, and at the same time have done a lot of photography. *Kamakura, and now Yokohama (both in Kanagawa Prefecture) have been my home for almost twenty years and are perfect places for me: Hilly, situated on the water, and with amazing histories. The rest of Kanagawa is equally amazing and includes the great Hakone onsen and spa area.  *Tochigi Prefecture, with World Heritage site Nikko, is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and not far from Tokyo.  *Fukui Prefecture, located in central Japan on the coast of the Japan Sea, is brimming with classic Japanese culture and great natural beauty everywhere you look. I really look forward to sharing ALL of Japan's beauty and magic with all of you. Website: www.larryknipfing.com Contact me: larry.knipfing@japantravel.com

Join the discussion

Elena Lisina a year ago
Wonderful photo!
Reynald Ventura 4 years ago
Nice shots, Larry. I can see Buddha sitting on your lovely lotus.
Hana Tamura 7 years ago
Larry Knipfing Author 7 years ago
Perri, I'm planning to go to Sankei-en this Sunday morning, if you'd like to come along. Let me know!
Perri Silverstein 7 years ago
That's too bad, Larry! These photos in your article look lovely and I would've loved to do a photo trip out there. Perhaps I can check out the Gardens in Yokohama.