WHAT TO BUY IN KAMAKURA
Every new destination you visit in Japan is a treasure trove of artistic finds or delightful snacks, the best items to remember your trip by.
Most of the locally made creations with a long history and newer, modern souvenirs can be found along Komachi-dori street in central Kamakura, giving you a variety of choice for presents or keepsakes. Support local artisans with every purchase of Kamakura-bori lacquer ware that trace its historical roots back to the 12th century when Kamakura was the center of Buddhism. If you’re on a budget, there’s plenty of affordable snacks or knick knacks to take home from local entrepreneurs, too. Below is a list of specialty stores and long-running establishments to help you get your time and money’s worth:
Collect Kamakura-bori, Locally Made Lacquer Crafts
Influenced by Chinese culture when Zen buddhism reached Japan’s shores, Kamakura-bori was born when Buddhist sculptors and carpenters started lacquering hand-carved wooden cabinets. Since the Kamakura period, the craft’s three-dimensional carving and artistry thrived and stood out from the rest. Support talented local artisans and collect intricately carved and lacquered ware originally from Kamakura. Hakko-do is the oldest manufacturer of these handicrafts but many stores along Komachi-dori street also sell these masterpieces.
Be Spoiled for Choice along Komachi Dori
Take a stroll down this narrow street lined with cafés, art galleries, street food and delicacy stalls and stores selling the finest traditional souvenirs and handicrafts. Whether you’re shopping for yourself, your coworkers or hard to please in-laws, you’ll never run out of ideas and choices that suit your budget.
Enter Washi Heaven
A haven for paper lovers and craft addicts, Shato offers a wide selection of washi (Japanese paper) designs, stationery, greeting cards, crafts, envelopes for monetary gifts, hand fans paper dolls and more. The store with genuine, handmade washi paper is on the left side of Komachi street with indigo-dyed curtains at the entrance.
Add more Ghibli Merchandise to your Collection
Tucked in the basement right next to the main torii (red gate) of Komachi-dori, the Donguri Republic Kamakura is a charmingly designed store offering the cutest Ghibli merchandise – from books, bags, keychains, pens, hoodies, and a lot more. It’s easy to find something for kids and fans of all ages at one of the official shops of Hayao Miyazaki’s Ghibli Studio.
With over 800 designs to choose from, Waraku houses sophisticated chopsticks made of different types of wood, ivory and sterling silver with your choice of lacquered finish. From chopsticks for everyday use to high-end chopsticks, this specialty store has something for every budget and occasion.Designed by master craftsmen in Japan, these hand-carved tableware can also be customized and engraved with the names of your friends, colleagues or loved ones free of charge.
Grab a Daibutsu Towel
The brightly-lit and spacious Iori Store is easy to find along the busy Komachi street, selling a variety of premium quality body towels, handkerchiefs, scarfs, shawls, and even baby wear made of the finest, absorbent materials. An ideal stopover for your souvenir or gift shopping, the Kamakura branch’s most popular item is the Daibutsu-san towel embroidered with the face of the iconic statue.
Try the Original Raisinwich
Famous for its signature raisinwich, Kamakura Ogawaken is a popular patisserie and cafe with branches in Kamakura and all over Japan. Available in boxes of 10, 20 and 30, the freshly baked raisinwich set is the best present you can give to your family or special someone. They also have an assortment of delectable baked goods, such as the Chocola cake made of Belgian chocolate, castella cake, roll cakes, German-style pastries, and more.
Give Ganso Nori Youkan to your coworkers
In Japan, giving omiyage or presents from the places you’ve been is a must. Give away a popular and award-winning Japanese confectionery from Enoshima. Ganso Nori Yokan is made of gelatinous seaweed coating and mashed white sweet beans filling. Open since 1902, the traditional tea room serves these pastries and other desserts like buns and jelly with matcha green tea. It also offers a superb ocean view for guests as it is situated near the Enoshima Tenbo Lighthouse.