This might sound kind of silly, but you really have to visit Starbucks in Kamakura. The Starbucks coffee shop there is probably one of the nicest you will ever see—and certainly one of the nicest in Japan.
The large cafe is located just a few minutes from Kamakura Station. It sits on land that was once the studio (now a small museum/gallery) and residence of Ryuichi Yokoyama, a cartoonist, manga-ist, and just plain talented artist. There is a pool here that used to be the center of Yokoyama’s yearly, great, cherry blossom parties; one of which I was lucky to attend. At that time in his life he was a cute, charming, plump little old man with a high squeaky voice who smiled and joked all the time. He welcomed me warmly and invited me to join in the fun. We drank some sake together. The yard was pink and lovely from the numerous large cherry trees growing around the grounds and around the pool. This pool is now part of the Starbucks here. It was a beautiful night—one I am not likely to forget, especially when I stop in for some coffee.
What else is special about this particular Starbucks? Everything.
- Wood: There is a lot of wood here: The ceiling, the floor, and an outside veranda are all made of beautiful wood.
- Ceiling: The ceiling is very high, giving the shop a feeling of wide, open space.
- Glass: There is a lot of glass too, including glass high up on the wall over the serving counter, and one entire side of the shop.
- Veranda: There is outside seating on a spacious wooden veranda, which looks out on the pool of Yokoyama’s yard. Along the edge of the veranda there are small tatami straw mats and cushions for people who want to sit, relax and dangle their feet over the edge.
- Art: Some of Yokoyama's work is on display in the shop. Look around and see if you can find it!
Please be aware that there are two other Starbucks in Kamakura; one located on the other side of the station near Tokyu Store, and one in Ofuna Station. This Starbucks is located in Onarimachi, just behind the Kinokuniya imported foods store, and directly across the street from Kamakura City Office.
If you’re going to drop in for some java, I’d recommend doing it in the morning, before it gets too crowed. But if you don’t mind sitting outside on the veranda, then any time of the day is fine!