Exploring Kamakura: Activities in a Historic Gem Under an Hour from Tokyo!

Exploring Kamakura: Activities in a Historic Gem Under an Hour from Tokyo!

Hi, I’m Naomi, I normally post our company social media for The Japanese Shop! Today, I would like to introduce you to an activity that can be enjoyed in Kamakura, which is a delightful historic city! Kamakura is just under 1 hour from Tokyo and costs just £4 by train using the JR Yokosuka Line from Shinagawa, Tokyo.

 

What is Kamakura?

When travelling in Japan, you might find yourself wanting to explore a place with a rich history and if you don’t have time to reach Kyoto, Kamakura is the perfect destination! Kamakura is significant in Japanese history, during the Kamakura Period, which lasted around 150 years starting in 1185, it served as a crucial location and was even the capital of Japan! As a result, much like Kyoto, Kamakura has numerous ancient temples and Shrines, making it a place where you can experience a taste of “Little Kyoto”!

 

For first time visitors to Kamakura, there are plenty of temples and Shrines to visit, but even if you’ve been there before, the city offers lots of exciting places to see and things to do! Kamakura is actually near my hometown, so I’ve been there many times since my childhood, but I love to visit Kamakura any time! In this blog post I shall share with you a unique experience from a trip I took to Kamakura in May this year!

 

Making own Japanese Sweets with Matcha Green Tea!

 

Dark wood, traditional Japanese house with an

(Komin-ka café)

Nerikiri Making Café shop

While I was looking for activities in Kamakura, I stumbled upon the unique opportunity of crafting Nerikiri confectionery and enjoying them with matcha tea in a traditional Japanese tea house (called ‘Komin-ka’). This wonderful building had been renovated by mixing traditional and modern Japanese interiors and is now a café where you can make your own confectionery and matcha tea in a wonderful calm relaxing atmosphere!

Interior of a traditional Japanese room featuring tatami mats, wooden furniture, sliding doors and a hanging lantern

(inside of the café)

What is Nerikiri?

Nerikiri is a type of traditional Japanese confectionery that is often served alongside tea during formal tea ceremonies or enjoyed as seasonal treat. It’s known for its delicate appearance and subtle flavours. Nerikiri is made from two main ingredients: sweet white bean paste (Shiro-an) and a mixture of rice flour and sugar, which is called Gyuhi. Normally Nerikiri is made by a professional Japanese pâtissier, even most Japanese people wouldn’t know how to make it!

Nerikiri is the best combination with matcha tea, it’s sweet taste perfectly compliments the bitter and refreshing matcha tea, and it looks so beautiful too!

This café has set 3 levels of difficulty for making Nerikiri and all of the ingredients were provided. You choose what designs you want to make, you create the first one with guidance by the staff and the second one completely by yourself! Once completed, you can select your own traditional Japanese tableware, which includes dishes for the confectionery and matcha tea bowl. The act of making matcha tea is also free form, not constrained by formal tea ceremony practices.

After finishing, you are welcome to take photos and the staff can assist with capturing your memories. The entire experience takes about 1.5 hours. Even if you take your time, it’s likely that you’ll complete everything within the allocated time.

A ceramic bowl of matcha tea with a green mochi on a small plate

(A cup of matcha tea with the Nerikiri I just made!)

This experience requires advance booking, which is only available in Japanese so you may need some help if you can’t speak Japanese, but the staff were so helpful and they can understand some simple English.

Kominka. https://ko-min-ka.com/

Kita-Kamakura Station. (6mins walk)

 

I had a fantastic experience there with my mum, I’ve never made Nerikiri before, or even proper matcha tea, and although my mum knows the customs required for a traditional tea ceremony, she’s also never made Nerikiri but she also really enjoyed the experience too!

A lady studies shell samples at a table with a magnifying glass, referring to a Kamakura-related exhibit

(My mum making some Nerikiri) 

To choose the right Japanese tableware for my creation was so much fun! There are so many different dishes and matcha teacups, there is no right or wrong, you can just choose what you like! I think I created a really nice Nerikiri and am quite proud of myself!

 

For those interested in traditional Japanese confectionery and the perfect tableware for enjoying matcha tea, The Japanese Shop offers a wide selection of Japanese Tableware. Available in different designs and colours, you can immerse yourself in Japanese culture and enjoy looking back on your memories and experience!

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