6 cafes to relax at during your Kamakura adventure
The best thing to do at the end of a long day of exploration is definitely to chill in a cosy cafe with a good cup of coffee. There is truly no better remedy for aching legs and tired arm muscles (from carrying your selfie stick in the hopes of emulating your favourite travel vlogger). During my trip to Japan last year, I really wanted to visit the romantic town of Kamakura (鎌倉). Famed for its nostalgic atmosphere, where culture, mountains and the sea intermingle, I imagined that it would be such a dream to explore the town while discovering its unique cafe offerings. Unfortunately, those plans never materialised. But here’s sharing the dream with all of you—here are six cafes to relax at during your Kamakura adventure.
1. Ishikawa Coffee
Visit if you’re nearby: Meigetsu Temple
Autumn at Meigetsu Temple. (Image credit: photoAC)
Hydrangeas at Meigetsu Temple. (Image credit: photoAC)
Housed in a rustic little building in Kita-Kamakura, the 20-minute uphill nature-filled walk to this cafe has been described to be a Ghibli dream. The cafe itself stands above street level, surrounded by foliage. Curating a variety of different coffee blends from all over the world, each cup is meticulously brewed. Located near Meigetsu Temple (明月院 Meigetsu-in) famed for its Hydrangeas (in June) and autumn colours (in November/December), this little slice of caffeine comfort serves as the perfect break from temple hopping in the area.
Ishikawa Coffee (石かわ珈琲)
Address: 197-52 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 247-0062
Nearest station: Kita-Kamakura Station (北鎌倉駅)
Opening hours: 11am–3pm (Closed on Wednesdays & Thursdays)
2. Cafe Minka
Visit if you’re nearby: Meigetsu Temple, Kita-Kamakura Yoh Shomei Art Museum, Jōchi-ji Temple
Precious unhurried coffee time in a rustic cafe. (Image credit: photoAC)
Also in the Kita-Kamakura vicinity nearby Meigetsu Temple is a little hidden gem called Cafe Minka. Minka—which literally translates to ‘House of the People’—has been described as being a homely hideaway with a welcoming atmosphere. Located within a traditional countryside Japanese building, decked in rustic wooden accents, warm lights, vintage books, and plants upon plants upon plants, Cafe Minka invites you into a time of unhurried tranquility. Ordering a cup of coffee in Cafe Minka is also an experience—customers may order the mysterious “delicious coffee” option and be surprised by one of the luscious blends from Ooya Coffee Roasters (オオヤコーヒ) which is the cafe’s main coffee source. Food-wise, the cafe also offers simple fare such as toast and curry rice.
Cafe Minka (喫茶ミンカ)
Address: 377-2 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 247-0062
Nearest station: Kita-Kamakura Station (北鎌倉駅)
Opening hours: 11.30am–5.30pm (Closed on Fridays)
Visit if you’re nearby: The train tracks at Wadazuka Station, Kamakura Museum of Literature, Kamakura Seaside Park
Imagine dining along the train tracks. (Image credit: photoAC)
Located right by the nostalgic Enoden rail tracks at Wadazuka Station lies a quaint little spot specialising in traditional Japanese sweets and desserts. Mushinan’s proximity to the tracks (literally the distance of merely a few steps), with its traditional garden, building and gate gives off a vibe reminiscent to the Ghibli film ‘Spirited Away’. You would not be surprised if all of a sudden Haku in his dragon glory bursts forth out of the shrub beside you, or if across the train tracks you witness a passing glance of No-Face from the corner of your eye. But jumping back to reality—Mushinan serves as the perfect place to witness the train pass by while savouring a delicious treat of anmitsu (あんみつ) or dango (団子).
Anmitsu. (Image credit: photo AC)
Address: 3-2-13 Yuigahama, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0014
Nearest station: Wadazuka Station (和田塚駅)
Opening hours: 10am–5pm (Closed on Thursdays)
Visit if you’re nearby: The train tracks at Inamuragasaki Station, Cape Inamuragasaki
Example of a Teishoku meal. (Image credit: photoAC)
Another quaint little cafe to enjoy the Enoden train up close is Yoridocoro, nearby Inamuragasaki Station. Offering patrons seating options at their adorable outdoor patio, one is able to enjoy a hearty meal while having the surreal experience of being almost face-to-face with the nostalgic train passing by. The cafe offers more savoury teishoku (定食) meals, serving homely fare for breakfast and lunch: breakfast being the classic tamago kake gohan (卵かけご飯 Japanese rice topped with raw egg and soy sauce) paired with side dishes like nattō (納豆) and dried horse mackerel while customers can pick from a variety of fish options for lunch. If you’re craving something sweet, Yoridocoro has got you covered too with desserts such as cheesecake and Anmitsu. If you’ve noticed that Yoridocoro’s menu is somewhat “fishy”, that’s because the cafe is located near the ocean, more specifically the magnificent Cape Inamuragasaki (稲村ヶ崎)! A short stroll down the road and you’ll be greeted with the beautiful Kamakura sea of Sagami Bay.
Address: 1-12-16 Inamuragasaki, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0024
Nearest station: Inamuragasaki Station (稲村ヶ崎駅)
Opening hours: 7am–6pm (Closed on Mondays)
5. Cafe Terrace Itsuki Garden
Visit if you’re nearby: Daibutsu Hiking Course, Kōtoku-in
Along the Daibutsu Hiking Course. (Image credit: photoAC)
Dine amongst the trees at Cafe Terrace Itsuki Garden. Located just around the corner from the famed Daibutsu Hiking Course which connects the wooden hills with Kamakura’s many impressive temples, including Kōtoku-in (高徳院) which houses the famous Great Buddha of Kamakura (鎌倉大仏 Kamakura Daibutsu), the cafe is the perfect place to replenish the energy spent on temple-hopping. Impressively, the terraces were built by the founder himself to offer lost hikers a resting place. Today, the terraces have been revamped into a cafe which serves tea, sweets, soup and curry—all the dishes needed to have a pleasant tea-time break. Let the sounds of nature envelop you as you indulge in some well-deserved post-hiking treats.
Cafe Terrace Itsuki Garden (CafeTerrace樹ガーデン)
Address: 917 Tokiwa, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0022
Nearest station: Kamakura Station (鎌倉駅)
Opening hours: 10:30am–6:30pm (Weekdays), 10am–6pm (Weekends); 10:30am–5:30pm (Weekdays); 10am–5pm (Weekends) (Closed on Tuesdays)
6. Daisy’s Cafe
Visit if you’re nearby: Yuigahama Beach
Hawaii or Kamakura? (Image Credit: photoAC)
The Kamakura coast. (Image credit: photoAC)
Kamakura has been described to have a “Hawaiian” vibe—with her sprawling beaches, she is a paradise for surfers looking for a wave to catch. Located right by Yuigahama Beach (由比ヶ浜), Daisy’s cafe fully leverages upon that theme. With a rustic storefront and a surf-shack like interior, there is something wholly "American" to the cafe. Looking around, one will be able to spot random memorabilia such as santa claus statues and empty SPAM tin cans. In this tiny beachwood cafe (if you caught the Harry Styles reference, you are the best), one can enjoy the Kamakura seaside sunset while enjoying food such as cutlet curry and Taco Rice (an Okinawan specialty!). In the night, the cafe also offers live music, setting the ambience absolutely right. For a guaranteed chill time after a fulfilling day at the beach, Daisy’s Cafe is the place to go.
Daisy’s Cafe (鎌倉店)
Address: 2-8-11 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0016
Nearest station: Hase Station (長谷駅)
Opening hours: 11am–9pm (Mondays to Thursdays); 11am–Midnight (Fridays to Sundays)
And that concludes our six cafes to cosy up in Kamakura! Beyond the temple-hopping and beach combing, come explore the little townships of Kamakura through her cafes. Some of them may invite you to stop at a tiny Enoden station which never crossed your mind to visit, or to walk deeper into the local estates which may give you a fresh perspective on touristy Kamakura. Nevertheless, I’m so excited to visit these places during my next trip to Japan, and I hope you have been inspired too.
Header image credit: photoAC