A new cell pone application was introduced last year to encourage healthy walking. Iza Mile Kamakura allows you to collect mileage points by walking any of the 300 sightseeing spots in and around Kamakura. From the station we chose from a menu Kamakura Recommended 1, which took us to eight different spots. As you enter the spot the software lets you know you achieved your goal. Once we completed the recommended spots Miwa and I selected two additional sites that were nearby. The application gives you a GPS map with time and distance between each spot. When you arrive at the spot a brief explanation with picture appears on your screen describing its history. As you earn points you start out as a Samurai class and work your way up to Yoritomo class Kamakura Expert.
For those who are only here for a short visit you can earn prizes for as little as 100 points, which is a souvenir towel. For longer stays you can earn seats to various Kamakura festivals. If you have attended a festival in Kamakura you can attest to the huge crowds, so having a reserved seat is very special.
Our first spot was the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, one of the most famous and the largest in Kamakura established in 1063. Since it was January 2nd we came early to turn in our 2016 Monkey ema (rectangular wooden tablet) and purchase the 2017 Rooster ema. As we continued to walk the crowds grew larger and two hours later it was almost impossible to make it back to the station.
The other spots along recommended route 1 were Tomb Minamoto No Yoritomo, Egara Tenjin Shrine, Kamakura-gu, Kakuon-Ju Temple, Yofuku-Ji Ato, Zuisen-Ji Temple, Sugimoto-dera, Hokokuji Temple, and Kyu Kachonomiya-Tei. Today's walk totaled 8.14 kilometers or 5 miles and the 10 spots earned 408 points.
What a great way to see and learn about one of Japan’s most historic cities. If my feet can hold out I plan on going to all 300 spots over the next six months. When you are visiting Kamakura make sure to load Iza Mile Kamakura on your phone and enjoy roaming the city while earning points for prizes. The Information Center is at the Kamakura JR Station.