Did you know that Okayama has quietly become the town of coffee? A famous culture magazine even published an article about there being about 30 roasters within a 5 km radius of JR Okayama station.
Well, actually there are many coffee shops that roast their own coffee, and new ones keep opening one after another.
Located in the Hokan-cho shopping district right by JR Okayama station, this time we’re going to introduce ONSAYA COFFEE from the town of coffee.
The origins of the name, Hokan-cho, lie with the samurai who, after losing their livelihoods following the abolition of feudal domains in 1871, came here and started businesses using their hokankin (funds they received after the empire was restored) as capital.
The road with its early Showa period kitsch feel has in recent years been attracting more and more shops for the younger generation, which has led to the area drawing more attention.
This is Mr. Hiroaki Azuma, owner of the ONSAYA COFFEE chain of three shops within Okayama city. When he was still a middle school student in his hometown of Fukuyama, he was charmed by the ‘morning sets’ offered by coffee shops and became a self-confessed “coffee shop freak”.
“My aim was to blend a coffee shop with a café, different from those that already exist, and make it easy for anyone to visit.”
As its filled with the air of daily life, in 2008, he was attracted by the Hokan-cho shopping district and opened a branch in an old textile shop that he renovated.
The furnishings are in the style of a traditional coffee shop, but with its large glass windows and spaciousness, it doesn’t have that ‘visited by regular customers’ kind of feel unique to coffee shops.
You won’t feel embarrassed to enter even if you’re alone!
Naturally, the coffee is home-roasted. On the day of our visit, Mr. Murata who is responsible for roasting was selecting beans near the entrance. The shop is filled with that lovely aroma…
The most popular dish on the food menu is the “Teppanyaki Neapolitan” (JPY680 including tax).
Visually seductive, a hearty portion is served on a hot plate (teppan), but thanks to the special sauce you won’t grow tired of it even to the last bite. It’s a gem that gets ordered time and again.
The waffles fried at the shop are also popular. Ranging in price from a very reasonable JPY420 to JPY580, there are seven different options to choose from, such as the tiramisu waffle (in the photo) and the banana waffle. Light and mildly sweet, they go amazingly well with the toppings. The dishes on offer here are way better than those normally found in cafés!
While the shop is very cozy, both the coffee and the food are delicious.
“I want to use coffee to make people feel happy during their ordinary everyday life. That’s why for me coffee is only a support act,” says Mr. Azuma.
I see. The coziness of the café may be the result of the owner’s wish…
Come and soak up a little happiness in your everyday life at ONSAYA COFFEE!
ONSAYA COFFEE Hokan-cho store
Location: 2-9-1 Hokan-cho, Kita ward, Okayama city
Open: Mon – Sat 11:00-20:00 (Sun until 19:00)
Closed: No regular holidays
HP: http://onsaya.com/ (Japanese)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Eri Hatano
Eri Hatano I was born in Miyazaki Prefecture in 1978 and now live in Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture. I used to be a newspaper journalist, but work as a freelance writer now. Though I left Ehime 2 years ago, I did not forget the place itself nor the unfailing hospitality and warmth of its people. I finally returned in the spring of 2017. I am absolutely positive that anyone who visits Ehime, even just once, will fall in love with it. That is why I write articles to support those who plan to visit.
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