3 Shops

Starting Over

We just got back from Kagoshima and we met many amazing people on our trip. After enjoying a sunamushi bath at Ibusuki, the next day we took a drive towards Kaimondake, an inactive volcano near the southern tip of Kagoshima peninsula. I stopped along the way at a coffee specialty shop I’d heard about. Inside there was a long counter and on the wall behind it there were about a thousand cups and saucers of all different patterns.

A Unique Collection at Kaimon

A Unique Collection at Kaimon

I ordered a special blend and watched the owner pour hot water through the filter slowly. The aroma was just wonderful. As I savored the coffee, I looked around at all the old posters and small collectibles displayed in the shop. As I talked to the owner, though she was a little reluctant to talk at first, I heard that she had once had a shop in Kobe which was destroyed by the Great Hanshin Earthquake 17 years ago.

Special Blend

Special Blend

Returning to her home town here by the sea, she and her husband opened this shop, Kaimon, 16 years ago. The wide solid counter looked so old that I wondered if they’d salvaged it from their Kobe shop.

I can’t imagine the energy and courage it would take to start again after losing everything. I know many people faced this situation after the Fukushima tsunami two years ago. I was glad to have met Kazue Tomio and I am heartened by her story.

Kazue Tomio

Kazue Tomio

When I left, she ground fresh coffee beans and wrapped them and handed them to me! As a present! I’m the one who wants to say thank you! She was shy and hesitant when I asked to take a picture of her but kindly agreed. I will remember her and I truly admire someone who can start over and reinvent themselves especially in mid-life or later.

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One Hundred Years On

Last week, Eri and I started out to explore Tomo and Onomichi, two very retro towns in Hiroshima Prefecture. We arrived too early to get in to the Tomo Museum and Cafe so we took a walk around the area. I saw a white-haired woman and started talking to her. “Is this your shop? “I asked.

Michiko Kuwada in front of Naruto-do

Michiko Kuwada in front of Naruto-do

We were standing in front of a Japanese sweets shop or manju shop. Going inside, we saw her son at work in the back. The display case held many kind of manju and we had fun selecting which ones to buy. She told us that the shop had been in business for over 100 years! Her father-in-law’s father had started it after moving here from Naruto in Shikoku.

All the cakes looked so delicious that we had a hard time making up our minds!

Waiting on Customers

Waiting on Customers

Her son came out to give us directions and was very  kind if a little camera-shy! This shop is located in front of Numana-mae Shrine in Tomo no Ura(. 沼名前神社)In Japanese, it is called 鳴門堂 Narutodo。

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After we viewed the art of death row prisoners at the Tomo Museum ( 鞆の津ミュージアム084-970-5380), we enjoyed coffee at the “a cafe” next door.

Tomonotsu Museum , Tomo no Ura, in Fukuyama

Tomonotsu Museum , Tomo no Ura, in Fukuyama

Coffee with a Nama Caramel at a cafe

Coffee with a Nama Caramel at a cafe

We got directions from the friendly staff at a cafe.

We got directions from the friendly staff at a cafe.

A Mountain Cafe

Located in the mountains leading up to Yuki-cho in Itsukaichi, the quaint cafe Bakuro celebrated their 25th anniversary last year. Often featured in local food or travel magazines, this shop is famous for its homemade whole wheat bread baked by owner, Harada-san. In fact, her husband grows the organic wheat  himself. She told me that she grinds the wheat fresh for each batch and that way, the aroma is fresh and good!

Harada-san at Bakuro Cafe

Harada-san at Bakuro Cafe

“I was learning pottery from my neighbor, Yoshino-san. I kept saying, ‘There is nothing interesting in Yuki-cho  so Yoshino-san said to me,’ Why don’t  you start something interesting?'”Harada-san learned bread making for three years from Ms. Yoshino and finally opened the cafe.

Gouda Pizza on Whole Wheat

Gouda Pizza on Whole Wheat

Counter at Bakuro

Counter at Bakuro

You can order a “Morning set”, or later in the day have gouda cheese pizza toast! This was delicious! Bakuro sells bread and rolls but you’d better go early in the day as it’s quite popular and she only makes 60 rolls and several loaves.

Bakuro Cafe

Bakuro Cafe

For Sale outside the Cafe

For Sale outside the Cafe

What a lovely area for an afternoon drive! And a quiet and comfortable spot to relax and enjoy coffee! Harada-san has defintely succeeded in creating something interesting in Yuki-cho. It is about a 20- minute drive from Itsukaichi or 40 minutes from central Hiroshima.

Bakuro is located across form the Sagotani Dairy where children can see farm animals, fly a kite in a grassy field or enjoy a rich milky soft ice cream treat!

Bakuro Cafe   738-0513 広島市佐伯区湯来町伏谷656-1  0829-86-0883 (closed Mondays)

Sagotani Dairy

Sagotani Dairy

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. beckynielsen
    May 18, 2013 @ 00:19:19

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful journeys with us, Leah! So much fun to “meet” all these wonderful creative people!

    Reply

  2. Vividhunter
    May 18, 2013 @ 06:03:18

    Great stories from another busy sounding day! The Gouda pizza toast looks so tasty ^^

    Reply

  3. leahmama1
    May 18, 2013 @ 09:08:29

    Thanks! (3 different days,actually! )Yes! Her bread with cheese was really good! I tried to copy it!

    Reply

  4. Trackback: Death Row Art | Japan Journal

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