- Cafe Terrace Itsuki Garden
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There’s a cafe in Japan said to transport you to the fantastical world of Castle in the Sky, one of Studio Ghibli’s most iconic films.
Hidden from view at first glance, Cafe Terrace Itsuki Garden is located inside a mountain in Kamakura. It’s about a 20-minute walk from Kamakura Station, but it’s also accessible by hiking trails that pass through it.
The entrance of the cafe is marked with a sign, and you’re immediately greeted with a long flight of stairs. You’ll need to climb this foreboding obstacle to get to the cafe, because no one said it was easy entering the world of Castle in the Sky.
If you don’t work out, the climb might be a bit rough. But no amount of energy can be spared to get to Laputa, the floating city.
When you do get to the top, though, you’ll notice that the air is so much fresher, and the place incredibly quiet. It really does feel like you’re in a different world.
The tables are situated right along the slope of the mountain, and depending on where you sit, it feels as if you’re floating in midair in the middle of a lush forest.
They have a decent menu, albeit a tad overpriced, with anything from cakes to risotto to a simple cup of coffee.
We recommend one of the drinks with the Kamakura label, like this simple and refreshing Kamakura Cider.
They also have free Wi-Fi, although we wouldn’t know why you would want to have your head stuck inside a digital screen when you could be chilling with the squirrels. But hey, to each his own.
You can go back the way you came, but if you’re looking to explore a little more of Kamakura, you can take one of the hiking trails that will take you to the Great Buddha in Kōtoku-in or Zeniarai Benten Shrine.
Spring and autumn are probably the ideal seasons to head over, but we could imagine it being a wonderful green oasis during humid summers, too. But whenever you decide to go, you might want to bring a hoodie or jacket, just in case it gets chilly up in the mountains.
Cafe Terrace Itsuki Garden
Address: 917 Tokiwa, Kamakura, Kanagawa