city, Kanagawa ken (prefecture), Honshu, Japan, on the Pacific Ocean, south of Yokohama. Situated at the western base of the Miura Peninsula, it is enclosed on three sides by hills and has fine sandy beaches to the south. Kamakura was a small fishing village until it was established as a capital of the Minamoto clan in 1180. It then retained its political status as the second capital of Japan for about 300 years. Civil wars, tidal waves, and fires led to a decline that was arrested during the Tokugawa period (1603-1867), when the town became a tourist centre. During that time, palaces, temples, and residences of nobles were built. Neighbouring villages were incorporated in 1939 and 1948
Learn more about Kamakura with a free trial on Britannica.com.