The mountain town of Kamikatsu, just 25km outside Tokushima city, is making headlines across the world for its zero-waste policy. Along with examples of green initiatives adopted by the community, you’ll also find some of the best barbecue and beer in this part of Japan. The eating and drinking experience alone is enough to make this trip worthwhile.
The drive along route 16 is a gentle winding road that follows the Katsuura River. The deep green of the water, the pine trees lined uniformly on the mountains and the lushness of the surrounding nature immediately make you feel relaxed. The perfect state of mind to enjoy an afternoon of locally brewed beer and locally sourced barbecue.
Kamikatsu town is becoming recognized worldwide for its zero waste policy. Everything in the town is recycled, or upcycled – where unwanted items from the community are reused in new and unconventional ways. Each discarded item is given a new lease of life.
The idea for Rise & Win Brewery was born out of these ecological principles. The owner wanted to create a business that strikes a balance between the environment, the community and the resources used in the café and brewery.
“This building we are standing in is entirely made from recycled materials, our team can’t believe we actually managed to create it,” says Emiko Mizuhara of Rise & Win.
Stepping into the café you will be mesmerized by the interior design. The tastefully placed fixtures were all upcycled from Kamikatsu. They include a vintage sewing machine, old cameras, a variety of remodeled Japanese wooden cabinets, and old kimono storage boxes.
The eye-catching centerpiece is undoubtedly the seven meter-high back wall, assembled entirely from a collection of window frames donated by local residents. Inside, a chandelier made from old champagne, wine and beer bottles hangs down elegantly from the ceiling and rustic farmyard furniture leans on the front of the building. It looks like mid-western American farmhouse meets Salvador Dali.
Being a barbecue restaurant, unsurprisingly the main focus of the menu is good meat and plenty of it. But this is no ordinary meat. It is all locally sourced from farms in the area and the wild boar and venison come directly from the mountains surrounding Rise & Win.
If the weather is good, definitely choose the option to eat outside. Sitting around barbecue pits affords a tremendous view looking down into the valley.
The special spice rubs used to flavor the meat, match perfectly with the three varieties of beer produced on the site. The beers are a white, ale and a stout beer that has a slight fruity flavor.
Rise & Win have adopted a number of strategies to keep the beer distinctive and the flavor first-rate. The head beer maker responsible for this task is an American resident of Kamikatsu who has experience making beer stateside.
His approach is to use local ingredients to create distinctive flavors, especially using locally grown citrus fruits. The tangy mandarin orange flavor is sourced from local juice makers. The brewery makes use of the fruit pulp in their brewing process (pulp being a byproduct of juice making), therefore once again following the brewery’s goal of zero waste.
The flavors of the three beers continue to alter slightly as this young brewery experiments with new flavors. But for the past year they have been on a winning combination.
Being the designated driver is always a party stopper. If you’re lucky enough not to be driving, the barbecue and beer is best consumed together on location in its full glory.
Rise & Win will also be offering visiting hikers the exclusive opportunity to use their mountaintop catering service starting this summer. Hike in this scenic mountain area and when you reach the top of the mountain you will be welcomed with a white-linen set table, refreshments, food and a breathtaking view.
“We just want to share the natural beauty of this area and show guests what mountain areas can offer in terms of food cultivation,” explains Mizuhara.
Whether you decide to take a day trip or spend a few days in the area, you would be amiss not to at least stop in at this ecological haven in the mountains. It’s worth the journey.
Rise & Win BBQ and Beer Brewery
Address： 237-2 Hirama Masaki, Kamikatsu-chō, Katsuura-gun, Tokushima-ken 〒771-4505
Open Hours：Weekdays 11am～9pm Weekends 10am～9pm
Getting there :
Osaka City – 2 hours 30 mins
Tokushima City 50 mins
Train & Bus:
Tokushima Station riding [横瀬西 バス] at 840yen for 1 hour. Transfer to another bus heading to Katsurra Town [勝浦線 横瀬西行] at 400yen for 20 minutes. Finally transfer to another bus ［上勝町営バス］
Holidays: Mon-Fri 11:00-21:00, Sat-Sun 10:00-21:00
Words and Photography by Judith Mikami
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