Kamakura: An Ancient City of Tradition and Modernity Part III: Souvenirs

  • 3 min read

After a day of eating and bento making in Kamakura, delicious quick bites, and visiting sites, here are some local souvenirs to pick up while in Kamakura.


Chabakka Tea Parks

Kamakura Mameya 

Kamakura Souvenirs

With vast selections to choose from, Mameya has open samples for guests to choose from and find their preferences | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON

Kamakura Mameya specializes in flavored peanuts, soybeans, fava beans, peas, and more. The shop started as a peanut wholesaler in 1954, then expanded to the variety of nut-related snacks available today. It reopened the shop on Komachi street in 2011, showcasing a range of flavors from sweet to sour, salty and spicy.


Sample of flavors


"Rayu" - Japanese Chili Oil: The spiciest snack I found at the store. Not a spicy burn, but a pinch of spice that has a sharp heat. 

"Soramame Curry" - Curry Powder Fava Beans: With a mild heat, the curry powder adds an aroma of spices rather than a spicy heat.


 "Ume Mame" - Sour Plum: Slightly sour as it uses anume (pickled sour plum) powder with a savory umami taste. 

Mayonnaise Pea - Peanuts: Includes the famous creamy, rich Japanese mayonnaise that adds a piquant flavor and lasting rich aftertaste.


"Soda": A blend of yogurt and soda, similar to theRamune carbonated drink flavor. The yogurt adds a creamy flavor while the soda lends a slight sparkle.


Kamakura Souvenirs

"Ume-Mame" a light crunch with peanuts inside | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON 

Website: http://www.mame-mame.com/index.html
Address: 1 Chome-5-38 Yukinoshita, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0005



Kamakura Toshima-Ya “Hato Sabure”

Kamakura Souvenirs

Signature cookie from  Kamakura | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON

When asked what souvenir is most reminiscent of Kamakura, many Japanese people will answerHato Sabure. This dove-shaped cookie is made of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs and has a biscuit-like texture. 

Toshima-Ya, famous for Hato Sabure, was founded in 1897 in Kamakura. Soon after Japan opened its borders, a foreign customer visited Toshima-Ya and shared his biscuit-like cookie with the owner. The unfamiliar taste sparked the owner’s creativity as he believed that this new taste would be the future of Japanese snacks. It took him years of countless experiments to discover the key ingredient, which turned out to be butter. He then shared his completed invention of a Japanese-style cookie with his French friend, who remarked that it reminded him of Sablé, a French shortbread cookie. The dove shape comes from the sign of two doves found in the Tsuruoka Hachimangu shrine, which the owner greatly worshiped. Dove is known ashato in Japanese and combining the words together, the cookie became known asHato Sabure(Sabure being the closest way to say Sablé in Japanese). 

Now a very successful brand, Hato Sabure originally struggled to become popular as butter was an acquired taste in Japan. However, after a pediatrician recommended the cookie as an excellent source of food for infants, Hato Sabure found its place in the hearts of the people from Kamakura and became a prominent snack in Japan. 

While Toshima-Ya continues to improve their Hato Sabure, it still retains its gentle sweet flavor that never ages. It pairs well with warm beverages such as coffee, black tea, and warm milk, or can even be dipped into ice cream. 


Kamakura Souvenirs

Hato Sabure — Once a foreign cookie now a beloved Kamakura souvenir | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON 


Website: https://www.hato.co.jp/hato
Address: 2 Chome-11-19 Komachi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0006



[Author Profile]

Mary Hirata McJilton

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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