After a day of eating and bento making in Kamakura, visiting sites, and picking up souvenirs, here are some delicious quick bites to enjoy while in Kamakura.
Chabakka Tea Parks
With a modern feel and a "beach-side look", this tea shop is owned by the young and friendly Ken Miura, who is happy to share his recommendations to anyone who walks in, no matter their knowledge of tea.
Chabakka Tea Parks offers 13 organic teas from various regions of Japan, including Kyushu (Miyazaki, Kagoshima, and Saga), Kanto (Saitama and Ibaraki), Shizuoka, and Kyoto — all famous for their high-quality tea productions. Ken is eager to answer any questions about the various types, brands, and selections of teas found throughout Japan, all with a depth of knowledge that is cordial and unintimidating.
Traditionally, tea was reserved for ceremonies or to formally welcome guests. However, Chabakka Tea Parks respectfully blends these traditions with a modern twist, adding an essence of fun and casualness so that anyone of any age can find their delight through tea. They offer various temperatures and styles of "brewed" tea, including hand-dripped tea, "hand-pressed" or French pressed tea, cocktail shaken tea, nitro cold brew draft tea, creamy tea lattes, and sparkling soda tea. I decided to try the cold brew draft tea and the yuzu sencha soda tea.
Pouring the fresh cold brew draft tea | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
The cold brew draft tea had a blend of mint and hojicha (roasted green tea). It’s made by pouring nitrogen brewed tea into an ice-cold glass. A swirl of creamy foams fills the glass, then shortly after bubbles swarm to the bottom, giving it a so-called "Cascade Effect" as the foams turns into a pale gold liquid. When only a few centimeters of foam is left on top, the cold brew draft tea is ready to be tasted. The nitrogen gives the draft tea a rich, creamy flavor, as if some milk had been added, that is enhanced by the light, refreshing minty aftertaste.
The yuzu sencha soda is made from yuzu, a popular Japanese citrus fruit commonly used in drinks, desserts, and food. The gentle sourness of yuzu makes an ideal pairing for the mild sencha green tea. The sparkling soda adds a carbonated kick and an energetic awakening.
ransparent pale gold draft tea that is creamy and crisp | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
Their online store offers a selection of desserts, colorfulochazuke sets (tea poured on a bowl of rice with savory toppings), and even a tea incense burner for relaxing at home.
Online Store: https://shop.chabakkateaparks.com/
Address: 11-10 Onarimachi, Kamakura , Kanagawa ,248-0012
Kanmi Dokoro Kamakura
A polished look: everything is kept simple in this shop, even the menu | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
Opened in 2003, Kanmi Dokoro Kamakura specializes in chilled jelly-like mochi known aswarabimochi, which was originally reserved to emperors and nobles during the Heian period (794-1185). Instead of using glutinous rice to make mochi, warabimochi is made fromwarabiko, a precious starch extracted from the bracken root, which can be used to make this light, silky jelly served in bite-size squares covered withkinako (roasted soybean powder) andkuromitsu (Japanese sugar syrup).
Using simple ingredients, Kanmi Dokoro Kamakura serves simple yet refinedwarabimochi. They roast the soybeans for their kinako at a higher temperature for longer than the average for an enhanced nutty flavor, and use pure brown sugar known askokuto from Okinawa to make their licorice-rich, naturally sweet kuromitsu.
You can enjoy fresh warabimochi in the store with a selection of coffee, tea, or a strawberry yogurt drink, or opt for a take-home souvenir.
Warabimochi set | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
Take-out option available neatly packed in a bento box | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
Address: 1 Chome-6-8 Yukinoshita, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0005
A menu of flavors and the luck it may bring | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
Tomoya sells on-the-go Japanese snacks such asdango (rice dumpling balls),kakigori (Japanese shaved ice), and ice cream. But what makes this shop unique is their signatureDaibutsu-sama yaki ("Good luck Buddha cake"). This auspicious sweet attracts people hoping for some luck from the gentle, charismatic smile of Buddha. Daibutsu-sama yaki is similar to taiyaki (fish-shaped waffle cake filled with anko (sweet bean paste) or custard). Tomoya makes their waffles with honey to create a fluffy, moist, and naturally sweet cake.
There are six types of fillings to choose from: sweet red bean paste, custard, sweet red potato paste, red bean paste & cream cheese, thick-sliced bacon & cheese, and blueberry & cream cheese. Each flavor defines what fortune Buddha will give, including health, popularity, money, beauty, career, and love. I chose the sweet red potato filling from Kagoshima, which happens to be the flavor that increases luck for money, and has a smooth texture like whipped cream.
A palm-size Buddha cake | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
Website (Instagram only) : https://www.instagram.com/manjuya_kamakura/
Address: 1 Chome-6-8 Yukinoshita, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0005
Hannari-Inari attracts visitors walking along the Komachi street with their locally-sourced, signatureshirasu (whitebait). Using only freshly fished shirasu from that morning, they offertamagoyaki (Japanese egg omelet) on a skewer,inarizushi(sushi rice in a lightly fried tofu pocket), and “mille-feuille” layered shirasu in a cup. They also offer broiled Wagyu meat sushi and grilled tuna cheek on a skewer, as well as fresh-cut seafood dishes.
I tried their Hannari-bou Shirasu. Similar to inarizushi, sushi rice is wrapped in a savory fried tofu skin. However, at Hannari-Inari, shirasu overflows from the tofu skin that is shaped like a cylinder. Theirinari (savory tofu skin) is handmade, lightly fried, then soaked in a sweet umami sauce made of soy sauce,kuromitsu, and their secret broth. The rich flavor of the tofu skin complements the vinegared rice, which is blended with ground black sesame seeds for a deep, aromatic nutty flavor, while the dried shirasu adds a hint of saltiness.
Inarizushi shaped like cannoli | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
I also tried their Shonan Shirasu no Tamagoyaki.Tamagoyaki is a Japanese egg omelet that, unlike a western omelet, is made in a special rectangular pan used to flip the eggs into several layers until it rolls into a rectangular form. At Hannari Inari, shirasu is lined between each layer of the egg, providing an evenly flavored taste.
Tamagoyaki (Japanese egg omelet) on a stick | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
Online shop: https://hannariinari.shop-pro.jp/
Address: 1 Chome-5-27 Komachi, Kamakura, Kanagawa, 248-0006
A cute rabbit provides extra charm to the shop | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
Kamakura Soratsuki offers a colorful array of seasonal fruits wrapped inmochi (glutinous sweet rice) known asdaifuku – a symbol of good luck – along withichigo ame (candied strawberry on a stick) which are often found at festivals in Japan. Soratsuki uses perfectly ripe, juicy strawberries for their ichigo ame, providing a natural sweetness with a light, crunchy sugar coating.
The light crunch of candy with juicy strawberries waiting inside | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
Online store: https://15kamakura.thebase.in/
Address: 1 Chome-5-9 Komachi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0006
The forth generation owner of the Nagashima-ya, Nakaguchi san | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
Since 1921, Nagashima-Ya has been servingwagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) on Komachi street. This year marks their 100th anniversary, with their fourth-generation wagashi master, Nakaguchi-san, serving the local community and guests from all over the world. With a century of unchanged wagashi making, every sweet is handmade using high-quality ingredients without any preservatives. They offer more than 28 sweets, includingmochi (sticky rice cake),yokan (sweetadzuki bean jelly),manju (sweet bean paste wrapped in a bun),kirisansho (traditional New Year's sweets made with Japanese sansho pepper), and more.
Traditional wagashi (Japanese sweets) tools | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
The cozy shop displays carefully preserved wagashi tools as well as a nostalgic clock and akabuto display (a miniature replica of classic armed samurai). Although the original shop collapsed during the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, they rebuilt the shop in 1924 using 200-300 year oldhinoki cypress trees.
Kezuri gori (shaved Ice) inspired by the Heian period story, "Makura-no-Soshi (The Pillow Book)" | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
I decided to enjoy some treats as I took a break. I first tried theKezuri Gori - Ujikintoki Kuromitsu Gake (Japanese Ancient Shaved Ice). Kezuri gori is an ancient shaved ice treat adored by aristocrats and depicted in the book of the Heian period,Makura-no-Soshi (“The Pillow Book). Today it’s known askakigori and is a popular summertime snack. Nagashima-Ya recreated kezuri gori as it is described in the ancient tale offering two flavors, milky fresh strawberry and green tea matcha with sweet bean paste. I ordered the green tea flavor. The shaved ice was served in a half-oval shape with a rough texture, less refined than the modern Japanese shaved ice, which absorbed the slightly bitter green tea matcha. The kuromitsu brown sugar syrup added a robust, licorice flavor.
I also tried theamazake, a sweet and milky fermented rice beverage that can be served either hot or cold. A common drink during New Year’s, it is being consumed more frequently for its health benefits. Although it is fermented, it has no sourness, but instead has a creamy, slightly sweet taste similar to a lassi.
I then couldn’t resist the beautiful colored wagashi calleduteki. Uteki means raindrop in Japanese, and these colorful jellies are reminiscent of raindrops touching hydrangea flowers during the rainy season in Japan. The soft, delicate texture comes from the traditionalnerikeri method where white adzuki beans are kneaded with a wooden spatula until it becomes a smooth paste. It is considerably sweeter than the average Japanese sweets but is an ideal companion for matcha.
Ueki — Elaborate blue, purple, and pink jellies portray raindrops falling on colorful hydrangea flowers during the rainy season in Japan | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
Address: 1 Chome-5-8 Komachi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0006
Kamakura Katsutei Aratama
A cute "piggy" sign glowing in the dark | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
When the sun goes down in Kamakura, the shops are warmly lit, bringing the ancient city back to life. Kamakura Katsutei Aratama is one of the many shops with traditional architecture that is more mesmerizing when it glows in the dark. They servetonkatsu, the popular Japanese pork cutlet, using high-grade Japanese pork, fine bread crumbs, and high-quality Canadian cottonseed oil, resulting in a crispy and light cutlet.
I ordered the Hire Katsu (Pork Fillet) and the Rosu Katsu (Pork Loin Cutlet) with a side of Menchi Katsu (Minced meat and Cheese Cutlet), Ebi Fry (Fried Shrimp), and Shonan Shirasu to Akamoku no Korokke (Shonan Whitebait Fish and Akamoku Seaweed Croquette). These Japanese comfort foods were lightly fried food and not overwhelmingly heavy.
Last but not least was their sweet and sour blood orange sauce which was perfect with the tonkatsu.
Food options on display | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
Address: 1 Chome 5-24 Komachi, Kamakura , Kanagawa ,248-0006
Born and raised in Japan, Mary Hirata McJilton is a graduate of the University of Minnesota. While earning her degree in Global Studies and a minor in Political Science, she worked at a Japanese restaurant, was actively involved in a Japanese student group that hosted Japanese food events, and interned at Slow Food Minnesota. These experiences nurtured her curiosity around food culture and sustainability. With characteristic serendipity, she spontaneously meets new people wherever life takes her, expanding her repertoire of original Mary-stories that she loves to share over meals. In her downtime, she enjoys cooking with herbs and vegetables that she grows herself on her cozy balcony, and refreshing the Italian she learned from a stint studying abroad.
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