The best restaurants in Kamakura showcase fine dining in a medley of wagyu beef and hand-caught shrimp, as well as hearty street food like cabbage and egg pancakes. People venture to Kamakura from Tokyo to lose themselves in one of the most historic corners of the country, and there are plenty of places to accommodate their appetites.

    Once the de facto capital of the nation, Kamakura is a place riddled with ancient Buddhist shrines and beset by relics of a shogunate that ruled nearly 1,000 years ago. Today, Kamakura is a popular sightseeing hotspot and that means there's also some great food to be sampled. Let's take a look at restaurants you simply can't miss during your trip.

    1

    Hachinoki Kitakamakura

    Buddhist cooking on the hillside

    • Food

    Hachinoki Kitakamakura is the place to go for a taste of local Buddhist cuisine, which has been a part of the Kamakura culinary repertoire for centuries. It sits up on the hillside behind the coast, just shy of 10 minutes' driving from the city’s seaside parks.

    Guests are greeted by a dining spot that oozes historic charm. Timber-carved pillars and Zen rock gardens decorate the patio. Indoors, it's all simple bamboo-thread mats and calligraphy art on the walls. True to the Buddhist philosophy, everything served here is 100% meat-free – think tofu in soup broth, zingy bean paste with chilli, and plenty more.

    Location: 350 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 247-0062, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)467-23-3723

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    2

    Onzoshi Kiyoyasutei

    Taste some of the finest steaks in town

    • Food
    • Couples
    • Luxury

    Onzoshi Kiyoyasutei is a fine-dining establishment that specialises in some of the world's most sought-after Japanese meat and fish cuts. It's actually a part of the exquisite Kamakura Prince Hotel, which means it has a location right on the side of glistening Shichirigahama Beach with views of the Philippine Sea.

    Expect meticulously cooked wagyu steaks and some of the highest-quality seafood and fish on offer. The focus is all on the flavour of the ingredients themselves, which is why additions to dishes are cut down to a few pickled vegetables or just a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  

    Location: 1 Chome-2-18 Shichirigahamahigashi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0025, Japan

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 3 pm and from 5 pm to 11 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)467-32-1111

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    3

    Ichirin Hanare

    Elegant omakase spot in upper Kamakura

    • Food
    • Couples
    • Luxury

    Ichirin Hanare is your chance to taste true omakase (selected by the chef) cuisine. It’s something like Japan's answer to the haute cuisine of Paris, where all dishes are the preserve of the head chef. The establishment is set between the temples and shrines of upper Kamakura, about a 15-minute walk from the main train station.

    Because all menu items are curated by the kitchen depending on the availability of ingredients at any given time, expect things to change quite a bit. Typical dishes include prime wagyu sliced and sizzled, spicy tofu soups, and rice concoctions topped by truffle. It's all very edgy, and there's a selection of unusual Chinese wines to match.

    Location: 2 Chome-17-6 Ogigayatsu, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0011, Japan

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 11.30 am to 3 pm and from 5.30 pm to 10.30 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +81 (0)467-84-7530

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    4

    Pleins d'Herbes

    Your fix of French cooking

    • Food
    • Couples
    • Luxury

    Pleins d'Herbes is the leading French restaurant in the town of Kamakura. It's housed in a seemingly residential building in the quiet streets just to the west of the main temple district, some 30 minutes by foot through lovely Genjiyama Park from the main train station.

    Here, patrons get a real taste of Europe. True to the nature of haute cuisine, the menu changes frequently and with the seasons. Common features include foie gras pâté, braised beef cheeks, seafood salads, and mushroom sauces. French wines bring up the drinking side of things in a medley of Bordeaux and Sancerre.

    Location: 3 Chome-32-11 Kajiwara, Kamakura, Kanagawa 247-0063, Japan

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from noon to 1 pm and from 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +81 (0)467-47-4567

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    5

    Sometaro

    Traditional savoury pancake house

    • Food

    Sometaro is a classic okonomiyaki (savoury pancake) eatery in Kamakura. Wedged into the happening streets that line up around the main train station of the Hase district, it's only a couple of blocks back from Kamakura Yuigahama Beach and the coast.

    Head inside and choose your protein from chicken, pork, shrimp, and Asari clams. The chefs will mix that up with a batter of chopped cabbage and eggs, water, and breadcrumbs, before whacking the whole thing on a sizzling hot plate. You can grab cold Japanese beers or non-alcoholic beers to enjoy with your okonomiyaki.

    Location: 3 Chome-12-11 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0016, Japan

    Open: Tuesday from 5 pm to 9 pm, Thursday–Monday from 11.30 am to 3 pm and from 5 pm to 9 pm (closed on Wednesdays)

    Phone: +81 (0)467-22-8694

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    Joseph Francis | Contributing Writer

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