After following Tobishima Kaido, which begins at Kure city, Hiroshima prefecture, I arrived at Imabari city, Okamura Island, Ehime prefecture. The island is peculiar in the sense that, despite being the “last stop” along Tobishima Kaido and an “isolated Ehime prefecture island”, it’s connected to Hiroshima prefecture via a bridge and not actually connected with Ehime prefecture at all!
If you take a look at this Japanese map こちらの地図you’ll understand! (Tobishima Kaido, which leads all the way to Okamura Island, is the red line on the left while Ehime prefecture is the large landmass on the lower part of the map)
Aaaanyway, as I heard a rumor that there’s a lovely café on Okamura Island, I stopped by to check it out and write this article!
To begin with, the blue walls of Maruseki Café have quite an impact! To think, this shop was created inside an 80+ year-old renovated house! Let’s take a peek inside ♪
Irasshaimase [Welcome] !
Mr. and Ms. Narita who run the Maruseki Café welcome me with friendly smiles. The couple moved to Okamura Island from Tokyo as part of a push to revitalize the region, and then got married on the island.
“At Mr.& Mrs. Narita’s wedding ceremony we all sang “Seto no hanayome” (The Bride of Seto)-!”
“I also came as a bride from a neighboring island, I’m a Seto bride, too~ hahaha!”
Two regular customers engage in a lively chat over coffee…
In addition to table seats, there’s also a raised tatami mat seating area inside the café.
Here’s a selection of bread that the couple started baking at the request of the islanders. Up until that point, freshly made bread couldn’t be bought on the island. Apparently the bread is highly praised.
And now I’d like to introduce this!
The “Shimanowa Sweets Set” includes three types of pound cake made with ingredients from the island (hijiki, pineapple guava, and lemon) served with gelato, and…a …boiled egg?!
Cracking the shell open, pudding appears!!
Named “Purin no Tamago Himekko Purin” (‘Pudding Egg, Princess Pudding’), this is an original sweet made by the café. The pudding is smooth and rich, but as it’s not too sweet, you feel like you can eat it time and again. Actually, Mr. Narita is a true pudding connoisseur who apparently ended up with this form after repeated experiments. It’s now an island specialty.
With many cyclists coming from city areas and numerous other repeat visitors, Okamura Island is growing in popularity. How about visiting for some quality down time and to taste the ‘sweet of happiness’?
Closed: Tue, Wed, Thu (open on public holidays)
Homepage: http://marusekicafe.com/ (Japanese)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Izumi Furukawa
Izumi Furukawa Hello. My name is Izumi Furukawa and I was born in Kagawa Prefecture. Before getting married in 2012, I wrote for various magazine companies and Internet based media organizations in Tokyo. After marrying, I moved to Hiroshima and am now raising my child as well as writing stories about my fascination with this area through Setouchi Finder. Most of the articles I write are about places I visit on weekends with my family. My favorite driving course is Route 375 from Saijyo to the Miyoshi Area, and my favorite food from the Hiroshima area is Anagomeshi (from Miyajima)!!
> A guided tour, including teatime, where you can see the former “Koshien Hotel” – “Frank Lloyd Wright type” architecture by Arata Endo. / Koshien Hall at Mukogawa Women’s University (Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo)
> Experience the ancient way of salt making on Kamikamagari-jima Island on the Tobishima Kaido in Aki-nada! / Kamagari Ancient Salt Making Remains Restoration Pavilion & “Amabito-no-Moshio” (Kure-shi, Hiroshima)
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