Formerly known as 武蔵国 (musashi no kuni) and 相模国 (sagami no kuni), Kanagawa prefecture sits below Tokyo boasting towns with traditional Japanese history and a city that’s well-known for its hot springs. Yokohama is Kanagawa prefecture’s largest city, and as of 2021 is the most popular city to live in in the Kantō region for four years in a row. With a number of large shopping malls and cheap apartments (in comparison with Tokyo), Kanagawa prefecture is popular with those who commute to Tokyo for either work or school.
Kanagawa prefecture is known for the city of Kamakura, a city full of Buddhist temples and Shintō shrines with hundreds of years of history. Kamakura also hosts some fantastic beaches, making it a very lively city during the hot summer months. Kamakura also houses many traditional Japanese homes. Some of which have been made into cafes and stores selling a variety of products.
Other than the city of Kamakura there’s also the city of Kawasaki, a city that holds 川崎大師平間寺 (kawasaki daishi heikenji), a Buddhist temple that holds a connection with a traditional Japanese craft known as a 達磨 (daruma), a traditional Japanese craft based upon a legendary Buddhist monk known as Bodhidharma. This town also boasts the "Lazona Kawasaki Plaza", a large shopping mall that includes a movie theater and plenty of restaurants to eat in. As the city of Kawasaki borders Tokyo, it’s one of the most popular cities in Kanagawa prefecture (as previously mentioned) to live in for those who commute to Tokyo regularly.
Known for its hot springs, the city of Hakone in Kanagawa prefecture is another popular city for those looking to relax. Whether it be a one-day trip or spending the night, there are a number of Japanese-style inns in Hakone with hot springs that can be enjoyed at one’s leisure.
The city of Hakone is also known for its 関所 (sekisho). These Sekisho were barriers set up across Japan in which one showed identification to pass through when going from one part of Japan to another. The Sekisho would be the equivalent of modern-day customs in an airport, which one has to go through when traveling abroad.
When visiting one of Hakone’s many hot springs you can also learn a little bit about Japanese history. Just like Tokyo, Kanagawa prefecture blends both modern and traditional Japan but does it differently. Here, you can enjoy another one of the many sides of Japan.