Kamakura, an old town near Tokyo
When it comes to Kamakura, the first thing that pops into everyone’s mind is the Great Buddha (Daibutsu) or the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. It is also enjoys popularity in the rainy season because there are many viewing spots for hydrangeas. However, you can have a great time in Kamakura all year round: cherry blossoms in spring, hydrangeas in rain, beautiful sea and mountains for hiking in summer, warm foliage in autumn and the gorgeous still sea with a view of Mt. Fuji on clear, crisp days in winter. Whether you want to enjoy the essence of zen or sip tea in a cool cafe, there is something for everyone in Kamakura.
Start at Komachi-dori, a street with many eateries
A street lined with many eateries, Komachi-dori (小町通り) is on the left outside the station square. Since we visited in spring, the weather was perfect to enjoy a walk.
Shirasu rice bowl
Kamakura is famous for shirasu (whitebait). In this cup is sushi rice, shirasu, and fish roe.
Senbei Souvenir Shop
Rice crackers are a staple in many households in Japan. The salty, crispy treats come in many variations and this is one of the popular places to pick senbei in Kamakura.
You can also buy freshly grilled senbei to eat straightaway which has a tiny piece of nori (seaweed).
This dango shop is popular among Japanese teenagers as the colorful dango make for a good post on social media! Cute, delicious and Instagenic!
Here, you see matcha, azuki and sakura. Don’t miss this one!
If you like the mildly salty flavor of shirasu, try out these steamed buns filled with whitebait. There are many street vendors in this street selling this type of bun.
Fried potatoes stuffed with cheese
These cheesy, potato fries have been extremely popular in recent years. The potato has a natural sweetness which is only enhanced on frying.
Crispy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside. These are extremely moorish.
Amazake (甘酒) if translated literally means sweet sake but don’t be mistaken. This one is not an alcoholic drink. It’s, in fact, very healthy and something that even children can enjoy. Amazake is made from komekoji (米麴) and sakekasu (酒粕). There is no added sugar in it. Naturally sweet, it is rich in vitamin B, amino acids, enzymes, providing many benefits. It is especially good to keep your skin healthy and supple. In spring, many shops sell Sakura Amazake on this street.
Gelateria Il Brigante
This shop does not use any sugar or preservatives in the process of making their gelato. Made using a traditional Italian recipe, the gelato here highlight and enhance the flavor of the diligently selected natural ingredients.
One of the popular joints to enjoy ice cream, it is especially a hit among health-conscious individuals.
Make sure to try this delicious ice cream that has an unbelievably smooth texture.
Kokuriko No Crepe
Japanese crepes are quite famous for being filled with soft, creamy fillings. At Kokuriko no Crepe, a store in business since the 1970s, the crepe is slightly more crispy than your usual crepe. You can choose a range of fillings.
We tried the butter sugar filling and weren’t disappointed. Fragrant, crispy with a subtle sweetness…
Limited Coke Bottle
Coca Cola has over the years released many regional bottles. In Kamakura, you find the Daibutsu with Shonan (湘南) written in kanji. Shonan refers to the area around the sea in Kamakura.
Cherry blossom viewing spots in Kamakura
By the end of your food walk through Komachi-dori, you will be close to the entrance of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, one of the most popular cherry blossom spots in Kamakura.
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, 鶴岡八幡宮
One of the important shrines in Kamakura, you can enjoy cherry blossoms here in a Japanese garden as well as overlooking a large pond. If you’re lucky, you might also see a bride and groom under the blossoms.
Website: https://www.hachimangu.or.jp/en/ (Google MAP)
Kencho-ji which belongs to the Rinzai sect ranks first among Kamakura’s “Five Great Zen Temples” and has several temple buildings stretching from the entrance far into the valley. With cherry blossoms right in front of the temple, you don’t even have to enter the premises to enjoy them.
Enoden ride to watch the sea
Traveling within Kamakura is quite simple and convenient. You can take buses, trains or use rental cars as there are plenty of parking lots. Walking is also a popular way to enjoy the ancient architecture along the quiet streets. One of the most popular and cost effective ways is to take the Enoden Line, a train that runs from Kamakura Station to Fujisawa Station. The line covers most of the famous Kamakura attractions making it very easy to get around Kamakura.
For those who want to travel to this city on a budget, it is recommended to purchase the Enoden 1-day pass called NORIORIKUN. You can enjoy unlimited rides for just 600 yen (*2020 price; please note the service is temporarily discontinued due to the pandemic).
One of the most picturesque views from Enoden is that of Yuigahama Beach (由比ヶ浜). If you feel like it, get off and take a walk along the beach too! Sunset is absolutely stunning and in summer, you can even go for a swim.
Setting of a scene from SLAM DUNK
Any Slam Dunk fan will know about this spot. The railway crossing at Kamakurakokomae Station (鎌倉高校前) has inspired the setting of one the scenes of SLAM DUNK.
With a view of the sea and train crossing, you will see many fans here on the weekends waiting to take that perfect photo.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, you can easily spend a couple of days exploring the many amazing, ancient and modern, spots in Kamakura!
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