A prefecture on the east coast of central Japan, Kanagawa sits just to the south of Tokyo, intersecting the greater city limits. Bordered by the Tama River, Yokohama serves as Kanagawa’s capital, the second largest city in Japan by population, and one of the first to be opened up to foreign trade. It’s a multicultural metropolis, Minato Mirai’s glittering shops and bars on the harborside, contrasting its massive Chinatown lined with restaurants and street food stalls. Yokohama is home to both the Cup Noodle Museum and Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum, alongside Japanese gardens, shopping, and bars featuring local craft beers. Follow the coastline down to find the seaside town of Kamakura, once a political hub during medieval Japan, now a popular day trip away from the city for its beaches and religious sites. Cafes bustling in the mainstreet of Komachi Dori lead up to the majestic Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, while the Daibutsu (Big Buddha) awaits at Kotokuin not far from Hasedera Temple, overlooking the ocean.
To the west of Kamakura is Enoshima, a popular island and surfing spot in summer, home to 3 Shinto shrines, quality seafood, and fish-flavored soft serve. Hakone is also apart of Kanagawa Prefecture, a mountainous hot spring town included in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park area. Famous for iconic views of Mount Fuji across Lake Ashi, Hakone’s network of ropeways also offer Fuji views on a clear day, while so do some outdoor baths at specialty hot spring hotels. Try some black eggs boiled in the sulfur springs of Owakudani, freshly cut soba buckwheat noodles made with local water, or relax with a luxurious multi-course kaiseki meal at a ryokan (Japanese style inn). From cityscapes to beaches and mountainous getaways, Kanagawa Prefecture offers diverse environments to explore with exciting local cuisine to match it.
Kanagawa has lots of delicious foods, including vegan-friendly options such as Kenchinjiru (vegetable soup) and Sanmamen (Yokohama-style ramen). For more about what to eat in Kanagawa’s capital, check out our article What to Eat in Yokohama.
Hakone is a hotspot when it comes to Kanagawa, as you can have a fantastic view of Mt. Fuji and immerse yourself in the relaxing onsen hot springs in the area. The Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama is a popular place to visit for tourists. You can make and design your own instant ramen and learn about the history of instant noodles.
Minato Mirai has tons of places to see sakura cherry blossoms, including Sakura-dori where you can enjoy the cherry blossoms against a backdrop of modern skyscrapers. Ookagawa River has 200 cherry blossom trees along its riverbank and a sakura festival is held here every year, with events like cherry blossom viewing cruises.
Kanagawa is known for natural and spiritual attractions such as Enoshima island with its three shrines and Kamakura with its various temples and shrines, including the Great Buddha of Kamakura at Kotoku-in Temple. The capital, Yokohama is worth a visit, home to Chinatown and the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum.
Hato Sabure (dove-shaped sable) are an iconic treat from Kamakura, while Hama Usagi is a well-known sweets shop in Yokohama that sells rabbit-shaped manju filled with bean paste.