Kamakura is a coastal village in the southern part of Tokyo known for its many temples, shrines, and other historical monuments. It was once the center of political power in the country but later declined.
There are plenty of places to visit in Kamakura such as the Great Buddha of Kamakura found in Kotokuin Temple and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, which is known as the most important shrine in the city. Aside from these popular tourist destinations, there are other things that you will love in Kamakura such as their local foods and well-known restaurants.
Visit these places and try the various delicacies while you immerse yourself in the history, culture and culinary specialties in the beautiful city of Kamakura!
Local Foods from Kamakura 1: Shirasu
Shirasu is a well known local delicacy in Kamakura. It refers to the small white fish which is the juvenile of sardines, herring and sand lances (it’s also called Whitebait). They are often eaten raw, boiled or fried and placed on top of a bowl of rice called Shirasu-don. Raw shirasu are not available during January and March since fishing in this period is prohibited.
These two restaurants are among the best places to enjoy shirasu-don!
Wasai Yakura (和彩 八倉)
Wasai Yakura is a popular restaurant in Kamakura that serves Shirasu-don. If you want to try this local specialty, it would be best to go to this restaurant and eat your fill of shirasu!
Address: 2-7-28 Komachi, Kamakura, Kanagawa
Kamakura Akimoto (鎌倉 秋本)
The Akimoto Restaurant in Kamakura specializes in serving traditional Japanese courses known as Kaiseki. They also have sashimi, tempura and noodle dishes for you to enjoy. They get fresh shirasu directly from the local fishers. The vegetables that they serve are all Kamakura vegetables that are locally grown. Their most popular menu is the “Kamakura Zukushi” set, which you can taste Shirasu-don and Kamakura vegetable tempuras.
Address: Scene Kamakura Komachi 3F, 1-6-15, Komachi, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa, 248-0006
Website: http://www.akimoto-kamakura.com/ (Japanese Only)
Local Foods from Kamakura 2: Shojin Ryori
Shojin Ryori is a term used for vegetarian style cooking that was popularized by Buddhist Monks. It is also said that Shojin Ryori is a path to enlightenment and required strict religious discipline. Fortunately, you don’t have to be too strict or too religious in preparing your own Shojin Ryori. You’ll also find that there are many Shojin Ryori restaurants in Kamakura because there are many temples in the area.
Here are the two most recommended Shojin Ryori restaurants in Kamakura.
Kamakura Hachinoki (鎌倉 鉢の木)
Hachinoki is a restaurant that was founded in 1964 and serves authentic Shojin Ryori. Enjoy your fill with fresh vegetables, fish and other seasonal delicacies (no meat) in this unique restaurant in Kamakura.
Address: 350 Yamanouchi Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture
Sasanoha is a humble restaurant in Kamakura that serves healthy vegetable and other seafood delicacies. This restaurant is well known for their “Genmai Ryouri” and they don’t use any food additive in the dishes that they serve.
Address: 499 Yamanouchi, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa
Website: http://www.jin.ne.jp/sasanoha/ (Japanese Only)
Local Food in Kamakura 3: Street Food
If you stroll around Kamakura you will find many interesting things and among them are the popular street foods in the area. There are plenty of shops that are gathered at Komachi-Dori shopping street, which connects Kamakura Station to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.
Here are some of the most recommended street foods that can be found in Komachi Dori Shopping Street!
Kamakura croquette “Torigoya” (鎌倉コロッケ 鳥小屋)
Croquette is considered as a guilty snack that is crispy on the outside but soft on the inside. This tasty snack comes in many different flavors namely chocolate, sweet potato, black sesame, plum, and beef.
Address: 2 Chome-10-4 Komachi Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture
Kamakura Ichibanya (鎌倉 壱番屋), freshly baked rice cracker
Japanese rice crackers also known as senbei comes in many different shapes and sizes. It is one of the casual snacks that you can carry while you visit the popular temples and shrines in the town of Kamakura. Of course, eating freshly baked rice crackers are the best!
Address: 2 Chome-7-36 Komachi Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture
Delicious chocolates “ca ca o”
Ca ca o chocolate tart, soft serve ice cream, and cacao eclairs are made from high-quality cacao sourced from Colombia. These irresistible desserts are some of the best souvenirs that you can get in Kamakura.
Address: 2-9-7 Komachi, Kamakura 248-0006, Kanagawa
Website: https://www.ca-ca-o.com (Japanese Only)
Local Food from Enoshima
Tako Senbei (Octopus cracker) from Maruyaki Tako Senbei
Sounds fishy? Actually, it’s an octopus so it’s not considered a fish. All jokes aside, the octopus cracker is one of the new snacks in Kamakura that recently became popular with the locals and tourist alike. Tako senbei (Octopus crackers) are found along the way of the famous Buddha Statue and Hasedera Temple.
Address: 1 Chome-16-17 Hase Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture
Website: http://www.murasaki-imo.com/ (Japanese Only)
Restaurants Popular to Locals
There are some restaurants in the area that doesn’t serve local food in Kamakura. But, they serve great food that are very popular with the locals and tourist alike.
Here are two of the most recommended restaurants that you can visit during your stay in Kamakura.
Matsubara An (松原庵)
Matsubara An is one of the hidden gems of Kamakura. They serve delicious tempura and their highly recommended soba noodles. They also have English menu and the waiter also speaks English. With everything said and done, this is the ideal place to have lunch after taking a stroll near the Great Buddha Statue of Kamakura.
Address: 4 Chome-10-3 Yuigahama Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture
Website: http://matsubara-an.com (Japanese Only)
Sabou Kirara (茶房 雲母)
If you are craving for mochi then there is no better place to get them than Sabou Kirara. Also, be prepared to wait in line because this shop is quite popular. When you visit this store, you’ll find yourself surrounded by women and young girls who love to eat sweets.
Address: 16-7 Onarimachi Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture
Souvenir from Kamakura
There are many souvenirs that you can find in Kamakura. However, among them, Hato Sabure is the most iconic souvenir, and it will be the perfect gift to give to your family and friends!
Hato Sabure (鳩サブレ)
Hato Sabure is dove-shaped cookies that are very popular in Kamakura. They are often bought as souvenirs to take back home and share with family and friends. The cookie is a bit crispy and has a light taste of butter. Hato also means dove in Japanese.
If you happen to visit the flagship shop of Hato Sabure in Kamakura, you will find various cute Hato Sabure products that are not limited to cookies.
Address: 2 Chome-11-19 Komachi Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture
Website: http://www.hato.co.jp/ (Japanese Only)
All information in this article is as of January 2017.
Thumbnail image is from Flickr