Suo-Ōshima (commonly referred to as Ōshima) is a moderately sized island on the Southeastern side of Yamaguchi prefecture. It’s an island where many come to fish, relax at the onsen, or enjoy the winding drive around the island. The island is also abundant with its famous local clementines (mikan), which can be spotted in most residents’ yards. But clementines aren’t the only fruits that grow on Ōshima. Jam’s Garden is a cafe and factory that is changing the face of the island by providing more locally grown fruit products and organically made jams. In the garden, along with the clementines, I spotted fruits like figs and blueberries. As much as the natural fruits smelled sweet on their own, it’s the products Jam’s Garden makes out of them that really turns the taste-buds on.
Where can I find an organic food in Japan?
The moment I stepped into the cottage-like café, I was greeted with the smell of freshly baked scones and naturally sweetened confiture. Relaxing music played in the background and I took my shoes off, as requested. After four days of hard traveling and walking, being at Jam’s Garden felt like stepping back into my own home to relax.
I sat down by the window seat overlooking the ocean. The menu is in a photo album filled with photos and descriptions of every item. Jam’s Garden is famous for homemade scones, confiture infused teas, dessert dishes, and an ever-changing list of jams in accordance to the season. I slid into the café just before breakfast was done being served, so I chose the jam and toast set.
The confiture for the day included grapefruit jam for the yogurt topping, and from left to right, grape brandy jam, Ōshima clementine and yuzu marmalade, and rhubarb apple jam. The toast – the fluffiest toast I’ve ever had! – Everything on the menu is very reasonably priced, though the taste is worth a million more! The toast and drink set was only ¥460. The only downfall was how slow the service was, which might reflect the way peaceful island life can be. Be sure to pay a visit before you’re already starving!
Regardless, there were many things to keep me entertained while I waited. Of course, the beautiful scenery outside being one. Many travel and photography books also lay near me in the book shelf so I took time to skim through these. There is also a small, kitchenware and crafts section in the corner with items for sale to take a look at.
What’s the specialty at this organic restaurant?
After my breakfast, I headed to Jam’s Boutique in the building next door where the BIO products are sold. The selection is far bigger than I expected! The island’s jams and confiture make great presents for organic product lovers with a sweet tooth. All the ingredients used in Jam’s Garden products are ethically and organically produced and put together in the small factory building attached right next to the boutique.
What’s great about the boutique is how it has a large tasting table, to allow customers to try over fifteen different types of confiture that are made. Gift wrapping or airmailing is also available for customers who can’t carry the glass bottles back with them to the next destination.
On the sunday morning that I visited, it was evident that people from nearby towns like to make Jam’s Garden a destination spot for family outings or dates. Ōshima is a nice daytrip and escape from the mainland. New life is breathed into the aging island with the presence of Jam’s Garden; for providing folks with a place to come together and for giving back to earth with the new fruits that are planted on the island. Be sure to come here and taste what mother nature creates out of delicious organic products.
Address: 331-8 Hikuma, Oshima-gun, Suooshima-cho 742-2804 Yamaguchi prefecture
Hours: 10:00 ~ 18:00 (until 17:00 November~March)
Website (Japanese only): http://www.jams-garden.com/
Closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays
Nina is a professional and recreational writer currently exploring her motherland of Japan. When she's not busy working on her upcoming conversational English book, she can be spotted biking around Tokyo to indulge in delicious food and attempting to snuggle with kitties at cat cafés. She's an odd collector of free brochures from travel counters, always looking for the next exciting destination. Nina often likes to escape the Tokyo city life to go discover new trails on the outbacks of Japan, where she enjoys connecting with locals and wanderers alike.
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