Wakae Island

in Kamakura-shi, Japan

Category: Attraction

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6 Chome-23-6 Zaimokuza, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken 248-0013, Japan
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N35° 18' 2.52" E139° 33' 2.02"   (35.3007, 139.55056111111)
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Wakae Island, or Wakaejima (和賀江島, Wakae-jima) is an artificial island, the oldest in Japan, now in ruins. The name means "Waka Bay Island" from Waka, Zaimokuza's old name (see the text of the commemorative stele, below). Its remains are located at the east end of Zaimokuza Beach near Kamakura and are still visible at low tide. It was built in 1232 and, in spite of its state of disrepair, it has been declared a national Historic Site because it is the sole surviving example of an artificial harbor from the Kamakura period.
Although its component stones have sunk in the sand, its general contour is still clearly visible when the tide is low as a mound about 200m long. On its northern side there used to be several stone pillars used to moor ships in port call to avoid strong southern winds, but they are now all lost.
On the beach, a large rock surmounted by a black stele marks the position of the former port. The stele, erected by the Kamakuramachi Seinendan (Kamakura Youth Club) in 1924, explains in Japanese the history of the site and its importance.


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Wakae Island

Address: 6 Chome-23-6 Zaimokuza, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken 248-0013, Japan