Komachi-dori in Kamakura, Japan is probably the most well-known street of all Kamakura. Its close proximity to JR Kamakura Station and the main shrine of Kamakura, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, attracts tourists whether it is a weekday or weekend. Along this street, there are a lot of great cafes, restaurants, and shops, which add more excitement to your Kamakura visit. As well as going into a cafe/restaurant to sit down to eat your meal, this street is well-known for many delicious snacks that you can eat while you wander around, so let me show you what you can find at Komachi-dori!
Let’s start our Kamakura journey from Komachi-dori
It is hard to miss Komachi-dori when you arrive at JR Kamakura Station. It is less than a minute walk from the station and it is where all the tourists head to. Even on weekdays it is packed with tourists, so you can only imagine how crowded it will be during the weekends. Of course, it can be little hectic, but there are a lot of stores that attract tourists, which makes it easy for you to get distracted. Of course, you can choose to walk along other streets parallel to this street; however, taking this street is the most direct way to reach one of the most significant tourist attractions in Kamakura — Kamakura Hachimangu. So, if you are visiting Kamakura, enjoy being a tourist and get lost in Komachi-dori!
Snack on a Japanese sweet or two
One of the most well-known and popular activities that Japanese people enjoy while walking along Komachi-dori is walking around with food in hand, an activity called ‘tabearuki’ in Japanese. As well as great cafes and restaurants found along the street, there are many vendors that provide food that you can eat on the spot or eat as you walk along the street. Especially now that the temperature is rising as the season is changing from cold winter to warm spring, tabearuki is a fun activity that you should try when you are walking along Komachi-dori. On this street, it is not rude at all to walk around with your food in your hands and mouth.
There are a lot of snacks and sweets, such as crepes, ice cream, and sweet dumplings, to choose from. In this picture, you can see what I chose when I visited Komachi-dori one afternoon. I had something more traditional, red bean paste on one sweet dumpling, and the other dumpling was more unique, which is limited to this season only, the strawberry sweet dumpling. You will be surprised to find how many varieties there are, so don’t be afraid to experience something new!
Savor Kamakura vegetables for lunch
You can always find street food along Komachi-dori, but if you need to find a seat and eat your lunch after walking all over Kamakura and visiting temples, you can always find a variety of options on Komachi-dori. Similar to the special vegetables that are unique to Kyoto, Kamakura also has special vegetables that are call Kamakura yasai (Kamakura vegetables). For lunch, you can try some tempura bowls with shrimp, local fish, and also Kamakura yasai. Because this is a touristy area, the lunch you’ll find along the street is more expensive than in other areas, but if you look hard enough you can find lunch for about 1,000 JPY (8 USD).
Find a ‘made in Japan’ souvenir
Nowadays, it is getting harder to find true “made in Japan” products, but if you visit Komachi-dori, you might like to stop by at this store called, Iori. Iori is a famous towel company and is the largest producer of cotton towels in Japan. Everything found at this store is delicately created by craftsmen from Inabari, which is a city in Ehime Prefecture in Shioku. The history of this towel industry goes back 110 years and the perfect climate and water quality has helped it to remain successful today.
From fun and creative towels to use daily to more luxury items, you can find any towel at this store. The color and texture variations you can find at this store simply amazes you once you step inside. If you are looking for true, high quality “made in Japan” items you’ll find great gifts for your loved ones here.
Explore the Acorn Republic and find Totoro
Something also well-known on Komachi-dori is the Ghibli store, which is located right at the entrance of Komachi-dori. It is called Donguri Kyowakoku, which is translated as the Acorn Republic. If you know Ghibli’s famous character, Totoro, you know why this is the name of the store. Since a lot of international tourists visit Japan for their favorite anime and manga, this place is always busy with both Japanese and international tourists. If you are a big fan of Ghibli animations, you may find something you are looking for at this store. Even you do not purchase anything, visiting this store transports you into the world of Ghibli, so take a look when you visit Komachi-dori.
What can you find at Komachi-dori?
If you are walking along Komachi-dori, you at least need to try some snacks or sweets from the vendors. The snacks are ever-changing so you do not want to miss what is hot during whatever season you visit. Though the crowds can be a little intimidating, it is worth a try to walk along this street one way so that you can see why a lot of Japanese people and tourists visit here. You are often likely to bump into students who come for school excursions, so you can see what excites the Japanese youth. This is also where you might be stopped by rickshaw guys who want to take you to places all around Kamakura.
This article was originally published on Mar 10, 2016
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