This post will explore coffee shops around Kamakura Station, plus a few other places for good food and beer. I think it's just as important to visit Kamakura at night as it is in the day because the city, like most other cities, take on a different form. There is no nightlife here, so if you are looking for a bar I do not recommend stopping through.
When the crowds have all returned home, and the streets have cleared, Kamakura looks much more like an historic town for me. You get to see buildings and places that you would normally skip over or not pay attention to when there're throngs of people are around. I took my time and walk around at my own pace in the cool of the evening this time. The first order of business was dinner. Kamakura Grilled Sausages is the name of this place in the picture below. Of all the blogs and website in the blogosphere who have written about Kamakura, all skipped over one of, if not, one of the most popular local stops near Kamakura Station. It's rare to find a small boutique meat shop that sells local microbrew and gourmet German sausages, way cheaper than what you would pay at a beer festival.
Everything is grilled hot and fresh. You place your order then go sit down in the dining area and the waiter brings your food over.
I have a naked iphone, too. The beer is called Shonan microbrew, and it was good and refreshing down the hatch. The evening started off right.
Another neat thing is that lots of free meats were offered to the dine-in customers. I tried the corn beef. You can also buy the meat you ordered in frozen packs. Kamakura Grill closes at 8pm daily. Highly recommend it.
I have two favorite coffee shops in Kamakura. The first one is called Rondino which specializes in German brewed coffee. Rondino is frequented by a lot of older salaryman types. Good coffee, good atmosphere.
If you have a chance to sit at the counter, do it, you'll be in for a show as the barista performs his coffee magic. If you are looking for a good coffee house that serves good traditional blends and brews just come here, I don't think you'll be disappointed. I have never tried espresso here. Just good German roast.
After coffee, a nice stroll down the stone road you can still see boutiques selling there wares. I had to walk to the other side of the station so I took my time and looked around a bit before my next stop. Of course the obaasan apparel shop was open. Jukujo's have to always look nice. When I reached the main street I had to turn left and walk across the train tracks.
Watching trains speed by is fun. I do have a bit of a train bug in me, so whenever I have a chance to snap a photo of one speeding by I don't hesitate. I know some of my detractor would like to see me jump in front of one of these speeding trains. I won't.
At any rate, I had to walk about 10 minutes to the other side of Kamakura station to my number one favorite coffee shop on planet earth. It's called Cafe de Ginno Suzu, which has an Italian flare to it. The owner is a 50 something Jukujo who's been in business for 35 years! She has waited on foreign guests for years at this coffee shop. She spoke a little English and was very warm and inviting. She sat me down by the window seat so that I was able to take in the view of the station from my table.
I usually know what to order right away, which is usually regular black slow drip, or for her meant Blue Mountain coffee. I also ordered two other dishes; the homemade apple pie, and Kamakura Banana; The two best dishes you can order at this place. The caramelized banana and ice cream was just amazing. The apple pie tasted like home and the coffee was brewed exceptionally well. I never add milk and sugar to it.
One thing I noticed is that the pie was nice and warm. I really enjoy this place a lot. Maybe because it's such a comfortable atmosphere. Classical music is played quit loud here which really lends a Euro-sophisticated mood to the place. I love the classics. Hours before I was at another coffee house with a customer talking about George Reese and his mastery of the clarinet. I mentioned to him that for me, a good Clifford Brown track over eggs, bacon, toast, and coffee would be the best breakfast for me. We chuckled over this. Here at Suzu I get a similar vibe but with classical music. I stayed there for about an hour or so then headed out again for some more sights and sounds.
As I continue my nice night walk I stumble across many more cafes and restaurants along the way. If you were just interested in coffee alone than Kamakura is truly a good place to visit. The only drawback though is that only a few of them stay open past 10... The other unique ones close early, like Cafe Gosto. Another neat place to visit if you have time.
Just down the way from this coffee house is another famous coffee house called Mikado which by far, to my knowledge, is the most frequented of all coffee houses in the daytime. Don't quote me on that, nevertheless it's fairly descent coffee house.
If you happen to work up a late night appetite then there's my fav place for Okonomiyaki called Horetaro! There's a branch in Fujisawa and there's one in Kamakura.
I've been coming here for years off and on. I love bringing guest, dates, and friends here. The service is quick friendly and timely. The menu is really easy to understand and has a lot to offer. I wouldn't recommend any other place for delicious Osaka style Japanese hot cakes. I left out a few other places because I wanted to keep this post simple and to the point, which is mainly coffee.
Shops close very early here, I think at around 5 or 6. Some coffee houses, like Cafe Suzu, remain open until late.
And then there's me! This is me.