Recently, there is a growing trend in restoring Japanese traditional townhouses and turning them into cute cafes, boutiques, and restaurants. This trend is prominent in Kamakura and Cafe Minka is one such establishment. Only 4 minutes walk from Kita-Kamakura station, this café is a little hidden along the railway where a lot of Kamakura lovers enjoy spending a moment when they need a little break to have lunch or afternoon tea.
What is “minka”?
For those of you who are not familiar with the term “minka,” it means “townhouse” in Japanese. It sometimes also means fishermen’s house and farmhouse. Along with minka, you might also hear the term “ko-minka.” Ko-minka means townhouses which are more than 100 years old, as the “ko” in this term stands for old. Since the architecture of these minka and ko-minka lend a charming, warm, and melancholy atmosphere, restoring these townhouses has been popular in recent years in Japan.
Café Minka therefore is a warm and welcoming, nicely restored townhouse where many people who seek a quiet lunch or afternoon stop by when they visit the temples and shrines of Kamakura. It is a little hidden, so not many people may notice it when they walk by, but it is highly reviewed online by many sites as it has a certain special charm to it.
Itadakimasu! Let’s have lunch at Café Minka
Entering Café Minka, you see wooden chairs and tables that give a warm and welcoming feel. As minka generally uses wooden materials rather than modern day architectural materials like metals, Café Minka not only uses woods on the outside, but the furniture on the inside is also mostly wooden. Since it is a café where you can take your time and have a coffee or tea while relaxing reading a book or magazine to spend rather than somewhere for a rushed afternoon tea or lunch, it has plenty of seating for one guest only as well as for those guests who come in pairs and groups. It is not a large café, but having a kitchen at the side, you can see staff working there while you enjoy your meal. For lunch, you can expect to pay around 1,000 JPY (8 USD) or higher to have something simple like the curry in the picture. It is a small café so the lunch menu is limited to a few dishes, but its quiet feeling really makes the café something special that many people return to for a second visit.
No need to rush, relax!
As indicated earlier, the reason people like this café is because it almost feels as if time passes more slowly in Café Minka than elsewhere. Many people who stop by for lunch or coffee do not rush to eat or drink and get out of the place quickly, but rather they enjoy the time spend at the café. The nicely placed items on the walls of Café Minka also help people to slow down and enjoy the moments that they spend there. Café Minka has close links with the local Kamakura and Ofuna area so you can browse brochures and leaflets about local events and artists who create things in the area.
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Take a well earned break from the road
If you visit Kamakura, it is generally really crowded no matter where you go, even if it’s during the weekends or on a weekdays. If you are one of those people who enjoy a little more quietness and a more peaceful environment, visiting the Kita-Kamakura area is right for you. As with temples like Jochi-ji, Café Minka is quieter and more relaxing, a place where you can appreciate leisurely time spent there. You can also appreciate the traditional Japanese townhouse architecture. Sure being a traveler, you want to see and experience it all. However, if you need to take a moment or two, visit Café Minka to slow down a little and take a deep breath before getting back to your busy traveling schedule.
References: Address: 377-2, Yamanouchi, Kamakura city, Kanagawa Japan 247-0062 (〒247-0062 神奈川県鎌倉市山ノ内377-2) Phone Number: (81) 0467-50-0221
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