Lunch at the Cafe Farm House in Nakijin, Motobu
March 3, 2017
It was good to see the old Nakijin Castle again!
The next thing in our day that would be good was finding somewhere to enjoy a
So we went back on the road. We soon spotted a small hand-painted sign along the side of the road that read "Cafe Koku" and decided that thet's where we'd go for lunch.
A little ways into the woods we encountered our destination - or, so we thought.
It would be May, after doing some research on the Cafe Koku, that I was
to discover that we hadn't been at the Cafe Koku at all! In retrospect,
there is no regret. We enjoyed a very nice lunch experience and that's what counts.
This was the first place we came to that had a sign and fortunately I can't read katakana. If I had known what the sign read I may have simply passed it by.
We were also lucky to have found him open for business. He's only open two
days a week. Other days he stays busy with his farm from which, by the way,
he gets most of his ingredients. So, we know it'll be fresh!
The Cafe Farm House is situated in a secluded spot in a forest along a side road
off National Highway No. 505. The ivy-covered, rather mystical building blends harmoniously with the surrounding nature. Originally it opened in 1992 as a lodge
for travelers, but in 2009 the owner, for physical reasons brought on by age,
closed the second-floor guest rooms and opened a cafe on the ground floor.
That paragraph was taken from an online article about the place that I found during some research on the Cafe Farm House. I can't recall the source
As we approached the entrance to the place DyLon made a fast friend.
We were promptly greeted at the door by Iegi-san who invited us right in,
introductions ensued and he let us know what was available on the menu. No soba! Darn!
But it turned out just fine - "Joto!"
Walking the short distance from the front door to the dining area I felt like I
was walking through someone's home - probably because I was walking through
someone's - Igei-san's - home!
The place used to be an inn and there were rooms upstairs that could be rented
but he stopped doing that a few years ago. Much of his time now is spent
instead cultivating his land and growing organic vegetables such as carrots,
broccoli, goya (bitter melon) and tsurumurasaki (Indian spinach).
Igei-san has plenty of things to catch your eye, especially the antiques such as
this lamp, and the little stove. Very relaxing environment and relax we did!
DyLon and I weren't on any kind of tight schedule but there were lots of things
that I wanted him to see and things he wanted to do so, of necessity, some of our
days seemed a little hurried. On this day however, in this place, there was nothing
to do but sit back, relax and enjoy the moment.
In retrospect, after viewing the video, I realized that Igei-san was wondering
"which" choice we had made; curry or pasta. At the time I didn't catch it and
just thanked him for giving us the choice. I think the expression on his face
tipped me off, upon watching the video, that he wanted to know our choice - "which".
Looking at the menu told me that either he makes a lot of different curry dishes
and a lot of different pasta dishes or maybe he cooks a lot of other things for
the locals. My suspicion was the latter.
Turns out though, upon further research into this little cafe in the woods, that
on weekends there are other meal "sets" that can be ordered. During the weekdays
however it's "curry or pasta".
A little sneaky-peek behind the scenes as the curry preparation goes into full gear.
Everything was made "from scratch". No packaged, reconstituted curry sauce here!
In this clip, a bunch of TV cable repair techs came in to do some adjustments
and we thought at first that they had come in for lunch. DyLon and I were at
the largest table - which we didn't need - and were prepared to move so that
the guys could sit together. We soon learned that they were there on business.
"Dinner is Served!"
Remember the unwritten law - while on vacation you must, without fail, photograph
the food that you consume and share the images with everyone in the world. So...
In an on-line article that I read about the Cafe Farm House was included the following
which gives greater insight into Iegi-san and his operation here in Nakijin:
“When we ran the lodge, a lot of Western backpackers used to come and stay here. They would be drenched in sweat after walking 20 minutes up the hilly road from the bus stop,” recalled the owner, Mr. Hidenobu Igei, somewhat nostalgically. “We didn’t do any advertising as such, but people would exchange information with others traveling around Japan and fax or phone us to make reservations. We didn’t speak much English, but we managed somehow!” In other words, both now and in the past, word of mouth is the best form of advertising.
I don't recall the source of the foregoing. If I find it I'll post it.
So, with lunch quite literally under our belts we took off for more exploration and
adventure fully intending to have no goal in mind yet ready to stop for anything that
should catch our eyes. That's the only way to go!