Driving along national road 32 from the Ikeda town area of Miyoshi city in the direction of Kochi, then turning left at the blue bridge and continuing along the twisting mountain road for around 10 minutes brings you to the former Deai elementary school.
Mr. Uemoto used to work as a designer in Tokyo, but in order to activate the closed school he moved here and Haretoke Coffee was born as the first business by Haretoke Design-sha, a design office he established.
At first when you enter the grounds you may worry and wonder where the café is, however, rest assured!
After going through the tunnel under the gymnasium, located at the front, and climbing some stairs you’ll reach a small school building surrounded by woods.
In the schoolyard you’ll find a spacious wooden deck, which is used by the café. When events are held, this is where workshops take place and markets stalls are set up.
Okay, let’s hurry onto Haretoke Coffee.
A room with a somewhat nostalgic feel, natural light seeps into this renovated space that used to be the school cafeteria. It’s cozy, which makes you want to sit and spend some time.
Let’s start with Haretoke Coffee’s prided coffee.
Made with a home-roasted original blend and local water well-known for being delicious, my cup of coffee is exceptional. It’s so delicious it can be enjoyed even by those who don’t usually drink coffee.
And in the mean time, our freshly baked fluffy pizzas arrive straight from the stone oven. You can choose your favorite pizza from a selection of 6 or 7 different types.
This time we chose the soy sauce koji pizza (koji is the mold used in making soy sauce) and the margherita pizza. Made with an abundance of local ingredients, both the pizzas are delicious and make me think about when I can visit again!
Additionally, this rare cheesecake, made using local hassaku oranges, is truly delicious. When I visited Haretoke for the first time, my heart was taken away by this delicious flavor, and ever since I’ve been a huge fan of hassaku rare cheesecake.
Haretoke Coffee has become a place where both locals and visitors from outside the prefecture can easily interact. One elderly gentleman even chatted to yours truly, asking where I was from, etc. The local grandmas also greeted me happily, and made me feel very much at home.
Making it a location that is sure to keep on gathering attention in the future, Haretoke Design-sha isn’t limited to the café, it also includes a kids room (situated in the library area) as well as accommodation for visitors coming from further afield.
Making great souvenirs, local ingredients and take-out cakes are available for purchase outside the café, as well.
Although it’s located deep in the mountains, Haretoke Design-sha is a place well worth taking the time to visit. You’ll want to visit again and again!
Haretoke Coffee (Haretoke Design-sha)
Location: 15 Onishi, Ori, Ikeda-cho, Miyoshi city, Tokushima prefecture
(The closest station is Iyaguchi station on the JR Dosan Line)
Open: 11:00 – 17:00 (Weekends till 18:00)
Closed: Wednesdays & Thursdays
Parking: Available (toll-free)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Futoshi Hineno
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