When returning to my home region of Kagawa prefecture, this is a place I visit every time without fail.
Since 2010, when it was opened in a forest in Marugame city, Kagawa prefecture, it has gained more and more fans among women and families with small children. If I were to describe KITOKURAS in a few words… I think it might be “A playground in the woods”? Located within a space the size of a spacious park you can find a café, a shop, a library, as well as playground equipment such as a slide and swings.
The interior of the shop, the floor, ceiling, tables and even chairs all are made from solid wood (not plywood, but natural wood cut from raw timber). The reason is the fact that KITOKURAS was made by a lumber shop. Ms. Yuuki Kumagai, the third generation owner of Yamaichi Mokuzai, a lumber shop that operates in the region, decided to return home from Tokyo and start the shop.
You would be forgiven for thinking that this is a view of nature as seen from the café’s window… but this is not a window. Every year during summer, one of the partitions is put away to allow customers to feel nature close up.
I tried out the café’s highly recommended ” non-pruned apple tree” juice. (Apple trees are usually pruned to make the fruit red.) The apples’ appearance may suffer, but the fruit has a far better flavor and higher nutritional value. The same principle applies to the solid wood, which also makes the most of the goodness of nature.
You can enjoy food and drink purchased in the café in this library area, as well. It would be so nice if city libraries were like this, too-
Selling daily necessities, this shop also naturally focuses around wooden products. Ms. Kumagai originally worked at a design company, so the shop’s shelves are lined with refined products.
I discovered an incredibly comfortable looking hammock. Does this mean it’s okay to just go ahead and take a nap here?
Hello from inside the tree~ Even realistic ‘Ghibli’ experiences are possible here in the woods.
Apparently, sometimes there are even customers who stay at KITAKURAS from morning all the way through to evening. A couple visiting with their children, who we met while collecting data, said they’d like to just stay over.
The playground in the forest, where you could just spend an endless amount of time… If you visit Kagawa, do of course taste the udon noodles, but have a try of the warmth of the wood at KITOKURAS, as well!
Location: 3600-5 Kurikumahigashi, Ayauta-cho, Marugame city, Kagawa prefecture
Open: 10:00 – 17:00
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)!!
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