Translated by MATCHA_En
Komachi Street, Kamakura: Where The Historic City Begins
Written by MATCHA
One of the first places you will find when visiting Kamakura is Komachi Shopping Street. Come stroll down the nostalgic avenue and see what sorts of stores await you here, in the historic approach to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.
For this author, taking a walk through Kamakura essentially means "taking a stroll along Komachi Dori" (Komachi Street).
Komachi Street starts from right in front of the station, and is a shopping street where old coffee shops, variety stores, and restaurants serving Kamakura's specialties can be found. The street itself isn't especially nostalgic, nor is it a historical spot such as Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, but it has a charm that magically draws people to it everyday.
Let's take a walk down Komachi Street together.
Visit in the Morning: Seeing the Charms of Komachi Street
One of the first things that you'll see on the street is a pancake shop, known for its thick, fluffy pancakes. This shop gets quite busy as the day goes by, but in the mornings it isn't too bad.
That's the secret to visiting Komachi Street - come in the morning and you'll be able to enjoy the street as it's just waking up.
At this time of day, you can also feel as it draws you ever closer towards Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine at the end. You can practically have the entire street to yourself at this time, as there are far fewer people and clearer views to enjoy until things really get started at about 10:00. In fact, if you are hoping to visit a relatively quiet Komachi Street, then visiting on a weekday is your best option; weekends and holidays see the streets of Kamakura fill with both people and cars, and it can be hard to get around at your own pace at this time.
But it's no wonder that Komachi Street is also known as a gourmet street - there are so many delis, restaurants, and take out shops here to enjoy too.
Look, tsukemono (Japanese pickles).
Freshly baked rice crackers.
Doesn't it feel like the cat on this wall hanging is looking at you? Usually this cat is hard to see because of the crowds.
After heading into an alley, you'll find a chopstick store. It might be nice to pick up a matching set of chopsticks to share with someone special.
There's even a Thai-style massage center here - a great place to visit when you're feeling tired after your stroll through Kamakura. There are just so many small shops and businesses to check out on Komachi Street, which is part of its charm.
At this point, if you feel like it, you should turn right.
The Official Approach to the Shrine
With the roaring sound of the trees, Wakanomiya Oji (pathway) appears right in front of you. This is the actual path to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. We've almost made it to the precincts now.
Step by step, as you get closer to the shrine, you will start to feel a sense of calm overtaking you. It's a very soothing feeling.
What attracts everyone to this nostalgic yet ever-changing street varies, but there sure is something about this street that just won't let you go. For the author, they come here when they find themselves feeling overwhelmed, because it reminds them that "time is just passing by as usual" and that, the unchanging flow of time isn't necessarily a bad thing.
The author also thought of a wish during their walk, and made sure to offer it up at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. After that, the author says they felt that their heart was much lighter.
An idyllic journey through Kamakura begins here: Komachi Street.
Address: Kanagawa, Kamakura, Komachi 1-5
Hours: Varies by shop
Closed: Varies by shop
Wi-fi: Not available
Credit Cards: Varies by shop
Languages: Japanese, some English (varies)
Nearest Station: Kamakura Station, JR Yokosuka Line
Access: Right outside the east exit of Kamakura Station
Phone: 0467-22-3516 (Kamakura Tourism Association)
Website: http://kamakura-komachi.com/# (Japanese)