Kamakura is the relaxed seaside city just south of Tokyo. During medieval Japan this was the political centre but today it is a prominent resort town popular with the youth of Tokyo who love to come and surf here and spend time at the beach. The vibe of this coastal city was so relaxed with a ‘Venice Beach-style’ surf culture. It would not be unusual to see everyone walking and cycling around in wetsuits carrying their surf boards. More recently it has become known for its innovative concept store openings and elevated independent boutiques. Tokyo to Kamakura is accessible on the JR Pass and takes around 1 hour. Citymapper works here as it is classed as ‘Tokyo’. There are many trains per hour as it is a regular commuter route.
Enoshima Electric Railway
Webase Hostel Kamakura – Webase Hostel was a great location that was a 15 minute walk from the main JR Kamakura Station and is 1 minute round the corner from the main beach. As well as shared rooms they also have private rooms that have a toilet, sink and fresh towels. The showers were communal with private cubicles that were spotless and cleaned regularly. Staff were friendly and happy to help. Facilities included a Japanese bath, bikes for hire and 24 hour laundry. Workshops are help for activities such as yoga and during the summer they have beach activities. Just check the website for more information.
Gent Brasserie was their cafe/restaurant that served great seasonal food available to buy for lunch and dinner. Breakfast was included but basic with toast and cereal.
Garden House – The restaurant at Garden House was built in what used to be an old atelier and extends onto the terrace and beautiful garden space. The menu was based around Northern Californian style food but grounded around their main ethos which is seasonal and local produce. Where possible supporting local businesses is the focus and a lot of the beers on the menu are locally brewed in Kamakura. We ate the octopus, tomato, watermelon radish and smoked buffalo mozzarella salad and the smokes scallop carpaccio with butter miso vinaigrette and fresh garden peas. Visit also the ‘General Store’ where you can buy local produce and home ware and the ‘Gardener’ where you can buy plants, gardening tools and where they hold workshops. @garden_house_kamakura
Location – 15-46 Onarimachi, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0012, Japan
Woof Curry – Small, authentic curry house. The menu is small and curated to showcase their speciality which is a rich, deeply flavoured Japanese Curry. The aroma coming from the open kitchen is intoxicating and you could smell the delicious curry down the street. Woof Curry is walking distance from Webase Hostel. If in doubt follow your nose! @woofcurry
Location – 2 Chome-10-39 Hase, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken 248-0016, Japan
Hostel Yuigahama + Soba Bar – This old Japanese style storehouse has been renovated into a hostel catering to small groups and individual travellers. It is an easy 8 minutes walk from the JR Kamakura Station and also offers a bike hire facility. Next to the reception, and in the summer extending on to a small terrace, is the soba bar called Fukuya which serves authentic dishes from the Head Chefs home town of Yamagata and locally sourced Sake. Try the Cold Japanese Soba Noodles. @hostelyuigahama
Location – 2 Chome-5-16 Yuigahama, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0014, Japan
Cafe Vivement Dimanche – Not many places in Japan opened early to have a coffee but we did find this cute coffee shop which opened at 8am and was conveniently round the corner from the JR Kamakura Station. It specialises in drip filter coffee and serves up delicious waffles. The cafe also specialises in music, hosting events and producing their own albums and merchandise. Eat the classic waffles with a delicious filter coffee.
Location – 2 Chome-1-5 Komachi, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken 248-0006, Japan
Oxymoron Onari – Ethnic rice curry and Japanese style Keema Curry, sweet treats and drinks.
Location – Kamakura-shi Morinamachi 14-1 Mori Building 1F
Location – 2 Chome-4-43 Yuigahama, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0014, Japan
Pacific Drive-In – Hawaiian Food and coffee, drive-in and cafe on the beach. Staff uniforms have been designed by Beams and the music and wall projections have been curated by Tokyo dance and music firm Pepe California. Expect relaxed ocean vibes. @pacificdrivein
Location – Kanagawa kamikura shichirigahama east 2-1-12
Cafe Recette – Whilst wondering around the streets of Kamakura we came across this small cafe that was down a stoney path through a residential area. Again with shoes removed it felt like stepping into someones living room and it felt very welcoming and cosy. Cafe Recette specialises in sweet treats centred around the baking of bread. Eat the French Toast with a coffee. The interior is designed by Atta Co. and the furniture by Koma. @caferecettekamakura
Location – Kanagawa kamakura city Sakanoshita 22-5
Location – 5-41 Onarimachi, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0012
Tane Roastery Coffee @tanecaffe
Location – 5-33 Onarimachi, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0012, Japan
Cafe Sakanoshita – Traditional Japanese house from the Showa period with indoor and outdoor terrace. Eat the pancakes and pizza. @cafe_sakanoshita
Location – 21-15 Sakanoshita, Kamakura City
Cobakaba – Specialising in traditional and healthy modern Japanese cooking this is a surf hut style cafe and restaurant that also has a hole in the wall take out stand for you to order a coffee whist enjoying a stroll to the beach. @cobakaba
Location – 1 Chome-13-15 Komachi, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken 248-0006
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine – The most important Shinto shrine in the city of Kamakura. It is at the geographical and cultural centre of the city and hosts many of the city’s most important festivals throughout the year. When we went we witnessed many traditional Shinto wedding ceremonies and everyone observed with the upmost respect throughout. We went first thing in the morning around 9am and it was so peaceful and tranquil and hardly no one was there. By the time we were leaving around 10-10.30am it was packed with tourists. I would advise going early to miss the hoards of people.
Location – 2-1-31 Yukinoshita, Kamakura, Kanagawa
Kōtoku-in – Great Buddha, Daibutsu. – One of the most famous icon of Japan. It is a large bronze sculpture that is hollow so visitors can go inside. There was a small entrance fee and it was super crowded so I would advise going early. The streets leading up to the Buddha are very touristy and sell a lot of souvenirs, but definitely worth seeing this and ticking off the list. It was a short walk from Webase Hostel.
Wandering around the residential areas and back streets is a great way to get a feel for the community of Kamakura and to see the interesting houses and architecture.
Hokoku-Ji Temple – A small Zen temple in Kamakura that is famous for its tranquil garden and beautiful bamboo grove. There is a small tea house specialising in powdered green and it is the perfect place to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the major tourist sites.
Location – 2 Chome-7-4 Jomyoji, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0003
Kamakura Gallery – Tranquil art gallery showcasing conceptual and minimalist artist from Japan and modern contemporary art. The permanent collection includes work by the likes of Yayoi Kusama, Piero Manzoni, Lee Ufan and Dan Flavin. @kamakuragallery
Location – 4 Chome-1-11 Kamakurayama, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0031
James & Co. Standard Life Store – Flagship store of two Japanese military and workwear brands. Their own brand unisex collection designed in-house is called Delicious which is lifestyle with a trend driven focus and Studio Oribe re-imagines jean jackets and chinos each season. The store also sells canvas aprons and bags from brands like Suolo and you can hire Tokyo Bikes from the store. @james_kamakura
Location – 2 Chome-6-20 Yuigahama, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken 248-0014, Japan
HMT – Shop for plants, antiques and local crafts.
Location – 1F, 5-35 Onarimachi, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0012, Japan
Location – 1 Chome-9-14 Ōgigayatsu, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken 248-0011
Location – 27-10 Nikaido, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0002
Greenroom Gallery – This is the Kamakura branch of the original Greenroom Gallery in Hawaii. The gallery is focused on surf inspired art and sells surf apparel, accessories and homeware. There is a terrace that extends outside where you can enjoy some coffee. @greenroomgallery
Location – 1 Chome-15-3 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0016