Enjoy hydrangeas, afternoon snacks in Kamakura during Japan's rainy season

Enjoy hydrangeas, afternoon snacks in Kamakura during Japan's rainy season

by Ichiro Katayanagi
Stripes Japan

The rainy season is my least favorite season as it requires an umbrella, raincoat and pair of rain boots each time I leave my house; I don’t really like to get wet. In most parts of mainland Japan, the season starts in early June and continues through to the end of July. Though the season seems hopeless, there is one thing I am looking forward—the annual bloom of hydrangeas.
Last season, I visited Meigetsuin Temple in Kamakura City, Kanagawa. The temple has a long history and was founded in 1160, but it was allegedly just after WWll when they started to plant hydrangeas. Now it has become one of the renowned hydrangea temples in the Kanto Plain with up to 3,000 of these beautiful blossom clusters blooming every year.


The day of my visit, the weather forecast was for rain, but fortunately it was cloudy, so I made my way to the temple to enjoy the seasonal flowers. From my house in Chiba Prefecture, it took me about two hours to get to JR Kita-Kamakura Station, the nearest station to the temple. If you take train at Keikyu Yokosuka Chuo Station, one of the nearest stations from Yokosuka Naval Base, it takes about one hour to get JR Kita-Kamakura Station. You’ll have a similar commute time if you hop on at Sotetsu Sagami-Otsuka Station near Naval Air Facility Atsugi.

After getting to JR Kita-Kamakura Station, it took me only 10 minutes to get to the temple. Moreover, I didn’t even need to worry about directions to the temple since nearly every passenger on my train was headed to the same temple, so all I had to do was follow. When I was getting close to the temple, I found many tourists already in line. Great minds think alike, everyone else also wanted to take advantage of the cloudy day. I waited about 30 minutes to get inside.

Meigetsuin Temple

Despite waiting to enter, the temple grounds were pretty crowded and I had no choice but to walk at a snail’s pace. But, it was worth the wait.

Inside, a bunch of blue hydrangeas in full bloom greeted me on both sides of the approaches. Later, I found out these are called “Meigetsuin Blue” due to their beauty. The best time to see them is usually in June.

I was also lucky enough to catch Japanese irises in full bloom there. The white, purple and blue flowers were too attractive for visitors not to take photos. Those flowers are at their best from the end of May to the beginning of June.

Besides those flowers, what makes this temple famous is satori no mado or an enlightenment window. It is a round window and allegedly expresses the macrocosm. From this window, visitors can enjoy the seasonal beautiful scenery. I wanted to take a look but gave up when I saw how many people were in line to look out through the window. They were waiting to take photos in front of the window, and it seemed that it would take more than half an hour to be my turn if I made the line. I stretched my hand as high as possible to take photos of the window, but none of the photos I took were good. Dang it! People nowadays really like to take photos.

Komachi Street

I took about two hours to see the temple grounds. After, I made my way to Komachi Street, a famous street just near the JR Kamakura Station, one stop away from the JR Kita-Kamakura Station. Komachi Street has about 250 shops, restaurants, and cafes. One of the reasons why this street is popular is that there are many restaurants which serve street food and snacks. You can have several snacks at different restaurants. A few days ago, I happened to coincidentally catch a TV show about the street, so I took note of three restaurants I wanted to check out while I was there.





Giraffa is a curry bread specialty to-go restaurant which opened in 2020. Giraffa means giraffe in Italian. According to their website, on one of their best days they sold 1,500 curry bread. I waited in line for 10 minutes, and 400 yen (about $3.12) later, I had my own delicious curry bread. The Komachi Shop Association forbids eating while walking, I enjoyed my snack in front of the restaurant. The bread had springy texture, and it was fun that melted cheese mixed in curry inside the bread stretched endlessly with every bite.


Coquelicot is a long-established creperie which opened in 1972. A green awning is its landmark. Coquelicot means red poppy in French. The crepes served here cost between a reasonable 350 to 550 yen (about $2.72 – 4.27). I ordered butter sugar crepe as it was the most popular one according to the TV program, I watched the other day. Experienced staff members were making crepes in front of the customers. You would be surprised at how skillfully they make crepes. The crepe was pretty simple; butter was spread on the crepe dough and sugar was sprinkled over the crepe dough. Though it was simple, it hit the spot. The crepe was served a little too warm, so I had to alternate between hands.

Sakura no Yumeya

Sakura no Yumeya is a Japanese style café which sells about 20 kinds of rice dumplings on a stick. The café is immensely popular especially among young ladies because of its colorful photogenic dumplings. As I was full, I decided to take out some 4 color skewered rice dumplings which had 4 dumplings with different flavors; cherry blossom, green soybean, chestnut, and powered green tea. Each stick is 260 yen (about $2.03). It was perfect not only for how it looked but also how it tasted. I regretted not buying more.

Soon, my visit to the area was over. I was glad the rain held and I could enjoy the blossoms at the temple and some tasty street foods nearby. It is true that rainy season is many people’s least favorite time of the year, but it’s good to know that it doesn’t rain every day during the rainy season. So, this year remember to avoid the rainy days, but enjoy the season’s beautiful offerings like hydrangeas and irises on cloudy, rainless days.

More Information

Meigetsuin Temple

Address: 189 Yamanouchi, Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture


June: 08:30 a.m. – 05:00 p.m.

The other months: 09:00 a.m. – 04:00 p.m.

Tel: 0467-24-3437


Komachi Shop Association


Giraffa (curry bread specialty to-go restaurant)

Address: 2-2-21 Komachi, Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture

Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 08:00 p.m.

Tel: 0467-40-4249



Coquelicot (creperie)

Address: 1-6-4 Yukinoshita, Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture

Hours: 10:30 a.m. - 06:15 p.m. (winter season: - 06:00 p.m.)

Tel: 0467-22-7286


Sakura no Yumeya (café)

Address: 2-7-34 Komachi, Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture

Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 05:30 p.m. (Sat., Sun., and holidays: 09:00 a.m. – 06:00 p.m.)

Tel: 0467-25-3815



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