Kamakura treks wind around every corner of the old capital city. The Daibutsu hiking course is a woodland romp after time in Tokyo. From the hiking trail between Kita-Kamakura and Daibutsu, you’ll pass buildings close enough to see homeowners proudly disposed towards their view of Kamakura bay over sake and spring haiku. Away from shut private residences, one willowy offshoot dips into Itsuki Garden Cafe Terrace’s garden patch. The escape is a chalet away from the padded-flat path of Daibutsu hiking course.
The cafe terrace of Itsuki Garden is a true retreat. Walking the Daibutsu path from Kita-Kamakura or Sasuke-Inari, your entry into Itsuki Garden starts at the crudest signpost marking the Big Buddha. Five minutes onward, a notable knoll crooks its knob, while crooked grasses ring it. Two green signs lead away off the side, posts for the cafe terrace.
After hiking, Itsuki Garden is approached through a breach in the forest. The steps are wide and each pace tousles your hair, teasing playful curls. A garden panoply of scents meets you upon the chalet’s breeze from its open hold of space breaking out from the hillside bust. Flowerbeds rest over the easy slope.
The cascade down a nearly spiraling stairwell feels half-grand as a ballroom. A waitress or waiter will greet you on a fielding, flattening brick plaza. A parasol parabola leans into the left of the hillside, as the waiter leads you towards the right. Off the steps, under bushes lining the pathway past Daibutsu hiking trail, is a row of waiting seats. Momentarily assessing the menu of pastries and hot drinks, another waitress will attend to your order.
The first order of the cafe was selecting a beverage. To the counter, the cast iron handrails mark another subtle incline in cafe Itsuki’s shifting brick flooring. The counter itself seems like a reception area, accented by green like a refined layered cake. We were escorted to our seats to await our sweets.
The outdoor seating overlooks forest along with a margin of town strung around a road in the near distance. The view peeks through a blind of branches, making the feeling remain secluded. With two levels, you can people-watch from the higher terrace. From there, I watched couples bob heads while drinking their precious espresso under umbrella shade.
Cafe Itsuki Garden’s terraces are a brick-laden embankment that wraps around the hill. I took the wait for my espresso in a gait around the place. In rustic decoration, I found metal plates of an oven facade embossed with a number 10. Their niche, along with other spaces accommodating other miniature dimensions, was decorated with flowers. Between the red brick and white walls, no color remains un-celebrated.
At the open entry plaza, other people were receiving their weekend reception to cafe Itsuki. The owner – a man who redesigned his original intentions for Itsuki Garden from a personal retreat to a fine chalet for trekkers – walked around with ease in his smile and step. He had a glowing character. As he passed to attend to a cheery couple and their coffees, I delved under Cafe Itsuki’s white buildings like a customer sipping lip into a frothy coffee.
Itsuki Garden wraps around its hill, tucking a stairwell under the main building. This is another way into the cafe, lamp-lit and ivy-bound for an entrance nearly nice as past the flowerbeds above. Before the descent to the road there crouches a space echoing of earlier meal reservations. I eavesdropped inside, a cozy alcove with flower vases and an opening jutting like a distinctive chin over the hillside.
At my terrace table, an order of espresso waited on a small plate. I drew on it slowly. The stairway from the Daibutsu hiking course had just started blooming flowers. I hadn’t bought any meal, but I could imagine the filled flowerbeds effusing an aromatic buffet, enriching my little cup’s worth. With a finishing flourish, it was out towards the spiritual enrichment of the completed Daibutsu hiking course.
Access: From Kita-kamakura station’s west exit, walk five minutes south. At right is the entrance to Daibutsu hiking course. Continue along the trail for about an hour before seeing the green sign marking cafe Itsuki Garden cafe Terrace.
Alternatively, take the road leading west from Kamakura station. After 20 minutes, on your left you will see the brick stairwell marked Itsuki Garden.
|Name||ITSUKI GARDEN Cafe Terrace|
|Address||917 Tokiwa, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan|
|Access||[map]917 Tokiwa, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan[/map]|
|Opening Hours||Monday to Friday 10:30～17:30 (Food Last Order 14:30 ); Saturday, Sunday and National Holiday 10:00～18:00 (Food Last Order 15:00)|
|Price Range||Drinks 600-800 Yen; Food around 1,000 Yen|