212 THINGS, DESTINATIONS, Japan

TO EAT :: KOMACHI STREET :: KAMAKURA, JAPAN

Komachi Shopping Street is located in Kamakura City of Japan, just an hour away via train from Tokyo. This busy shopping (and eating!) area near the sea hosts festivals celebrating each season thanks to it’s large shrines and parks that surround the city.  The city itself specializes in flavors that are abundant in the area such as hydrangea flower ice cream and sausages due to the meat processing factories in the area, but their most popular ingredient is shirasu, or whitebait fish. they look like the tiny little anchovies that are often used in Korean cooking, but whitebait are very soft, not hard and chewy like Korean anchovies.

The shopping street hosts many cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops but we visited mainly for street food vendors.  We prefer getting small bites and try lots of different varieties of foods instead of sitting down for one big meal so this shopping street was perfect for us! There were so many things to eat, and our only regret is all the food we didn’t try.  I always get takoyaki whenever I see it and Simon loves his karaage (fried chicken) and Komachi didn’t disappoint with either snack.  The karaage was hot and crispy and perfectly seasoned, according to Si,  and the takoyaki was filled with shirasu instead of octopus so should we call it a shirasu-yaki instead?!

Another one of my favorite snacks to get is taiyaki, a crispy fish shaped pastry usually filled with sweets like cinnamon apple, banana or strawberries, but we do try to opt for the local cuisine when we travel, so I got the whitebait (and an apple just in case I didn’t like it) but to my pleasant surprise, it was quite tasty!  I ended up eating all of it and gave the apple version to Si.  And while I was tempted to try to hydrangea ice cream, I decided to get the classic Japanese ice cream with kuromitsu (black sugar syrup) and kinako mochi (rice cake covered in soy flour) instead because after so many new flavors, I needed something familiar and comforting.

Just a short walk from the shopping street is the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, a beautiful temple park with sakura trees, a moat surrounded by trees, and more food vendors set up to accommodate the park visitors during the springtime hanami (sakura viewing).  You can also pray and purchase a lucky charm for the upcoming year or donate to the shrine for a small plaque where you can write down your hopes, dreams or goals (whatever you want, really!).

So if you are already in Tokyo, why not visit the city of Kamakura?  It is a nice day-cation away from the city with a change of scenery and try some new food while you are exploring.

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