A breakfast place so good it’s only open for around three hours every morning.

It can be hard to find a good breakfast joint that opens early in Japan, especially if you’re not a hotel guest. However, there are some hidden gems to be found if you know where to look, and Kamakura Breakfast Labo in Ofuna, Kamakura City, is one of them.

This restaurant specialises in onigiri rice balls, and it’s been causing a buzz with locals since it opened on 1 October. As the name suggests, the focus here is on breakfast, with rice balls freshly made by a former sushi chef and self-confessed “breakfast fanatic” who wants to spread the love of rice balls as a hearty morning food with all who visit.

▼ You’ll want to get up early to visit, though, as the opening hours are from 7-10:30 a.m., with last orders at 10 a.m.

Rice balls taste extra delicious when freshly made, and here they don’t get much fresher as you can sit at the counter and watch the chef make your rice balls before your very eyes. The onigiri are said to have a fluffy texture, and are made with fresh seasonal ingredients such as Sasanishiki rice from Miyagi Prefecture and salmon purchased from the nearby Yokohama Central Wholesale Market.

Fillings change daily, according to availability, and include pickled egg yolk in soy sauce, mentaiko (pollack roe), sockeye salmon, wasabi seaweed, okaka (finely chopped bonito), Kishu pickled plum, squid with yuzu, and spicy mustard greens.

▼ The fillings of the day (right) are written in both Japanese and English.

October and November have been designated the “pre-opening period” for the restaurant, and during this time only the following two sets will be sold: the Onigiri Tonjiru Set (980 yen [US$6.59]), which contains three rice balls, tonjiru (pork miso soup), Japanese rolled omelette, and rice bran pickles, and the Tonjiru Set (880 yen), which contains tonjiru, rice, Japanese rolled omelette, and pickles.

The Onigiri Tonjiru Set

During October and November, the restaurant will only be open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, after which time the store will be open every morning of the week, except Mondays. So next time you’re up early and looking for a breakfast spot in Kamakura, the Breakfast Labo is ready to serve you. And you can always follow it with coffee and cake at the nearby coffeehouse loved by John Lennon.

Restaurant information

Kamakura Breakfast Labo / 鎌倉朝食研究所
Address: Kanagawa-ken, Kamakura-shi, Ofuna 1-22-16
Website (Instagram)

Source, images: Press release
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[ Read in Japanese ]