Kamakura-Enoshima in Kanagawa is one of the most beautiful seaside areas in Japan, home to rich culture and historical heritage with its significant Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, and numerous festivals.
The most famous of all these attractions is arguably the Great Buddha of Kamakura, Japan’s second largest bronze Buddha statue located in the Kotoku-in Buddhist Temple. Kotoku-in is just a 10 minute walk from Hase Station on the iconic Enoden train line, and though the original temple buildings that held Great Buddha were destroyed by natural phenomena, the statue still towers in the open air at an absolutely colossal height of roughly 11.3 meters.
The sheer massiveness of the statue is something you won’t truly comprehend until you’re stood at its base and craning your neck up to take it all in! Entrance to the temple is 200 Yen, and for just 20 Yen extra, you can enter Buddha’s belly, too. There, you can see the breathtaking craftsmanship that went into making this immense structure.
Though the area very quickly grows crowded with people admiring the beauty of this statue, the peace is never broken; though it is just an hour away from bustling Tokyo, there is an unrivaled tranquility – everyone loses their voice in sheer awe of this mammoth work of art!
Once you’ve taken in the gorgeous views, you’ll surely be looking to take in some yummy food too. Luckily, the Hase area has so many delicious street foods and restaurants for you to sample!
To get you started, right next to Hase train station and a short walk away from the temple is a delicious traditional Japanese restaurant with a seaside twist. Kamakura Nagatani Shokudou Hase Diner serves traditional Japanese meals such as soba and tempura with rice – but to give you an extra taste of the seaside, each dish is topped with a hearty portion of fresh, local shirasu: baby sardines, or whitebait.
Shirasu are a Kamakura delicacy, and the tiny white fish are made all the more special since they can only be fished, and therefore eaten, during certain times of the year – whitebait fishing is banned from January to March, so make sure to visit while they’re in season in order to get the freshest produce.
It is said that the earlier in fishing season the fish are caught, the sweeter the taste; so be sure to sample one of Kamakura’s famous shirasu bowls – rice topped with whitebait – as soon as you get the chance.
This restaurant, however, is not recommended for vegetarians or fish allergy sufferers, as the chef is understandably reluctant to remove the whitebait from the dish upon request. At the end of the day, it is a taste of Kamakura itself!
Beyond the shirasu, perhaps the most unique item on the menu is the Rainbow Malasalada. A malasalada is a kind of Portuguese donut, and Hase Diner will deep fry one bursting with rainbow colour for you on order.
You can choose from a selection of flavoured sugars to compliment the crispy texture of the outside, hiding the fluffy, warm and vivid center. Can you get through the whole thing without licking the sugar off your lips? There’s a challenge and a half…
Getting to Hase Diner:
Header image via @sugar25