Elegant café offers nice break on Kamakura stroll

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

Within an hour from most of U.S. military installations in Kanto Plain, Japan’s old samurai capital, Kamakura, makes for a great one-day destination. Take a nice stroll to see the Daibutsu (big Buddha), numerous majestic Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines where you will get a feel for the olden days in the Land of the Rising Sun.

A cup of green tea will only complete this experience during or after your Kamakura stroll.

Make your way to Kaze no-Mori, a cozy café, on the grounds of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. When we dropped by the café in the late afternoon, its elegant Japanese-style interior was like the lounge of high-end hotel. Through wide windows, we were able to see views of the shrine pond, red bridge and museum building changing in the dusk.

With our server’s recommendation, my wife and I ordered “kezayaka” green tea, brewed from Kanagawa Prefecture tea leaves for 600 yen (about $5). The tea took on a unique crispy aroma and rather strong body.

We watched as our server, wearing a kimono, boiled water in a traditional iron kettle before she carefully drew it with a bamboo ladle to pour into a small teapot. She suggested we refill our teapot with water so that we could enjoy the change of flavor and aroma.

“The first service of tea and the second have a completely different flavor and aroma,” she said.

Our first cup had a rich flavor which had sweet and sour notes. When it was time for our second pour, we were impressed that the tea had suddenly become smoother with a milder aroma.

It was a nice, luxurious experience for us to take time and enjoy tasty tea in such a relaxing café.

The café also offers “tai-chazuke,” a traditional dish of boiled rice with raw sea bream soaked in tea, and traditional sweets, such as “zenzai,” sweet bean soup, and “ichigo daifuku,” strawberry rice cake. Each of their offerings pair well with green tea, so we will definitely be back for a nice lunch sometime soon.

Kaze-no-Mori is a great place to take a break and enjoy the tea leaves while exploring all the hidden gems Kamakura has to offer. And don’t forget to keep refilling your tea pot when you’re there!

Café Kaze no Mori
Hours: 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. 
Location: 2-1-31 Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, Yukinoshita, Kamakura City, Kanagawa Pref.
Tel: 050-5597-0702 (Japanese)
Website: http://tsurugaokamuseum.jp/yasumu/kazenomori.html

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