The history of Yunoyama and the new landscape through "Fuchitose".
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My name is Chifumi Kobayashi, and I am a designer working steadily in the countryside while making Japanese sweets with my grandfather at "Japanese/Western Confectionery Kikunoya" in Suzuka City. I want more people to know how wonderful Mie is! I write articles with this in mind.
This time, it is the story of "Fuchitose", a cafe on the land of "Yunoyama" in Komono Town. After running "Cafe Cobb" while being involved in Yunoyama for 11 years, it moved and renewed in June 2019.
My heart dances every time I find something wonderful in Mie, and Mr Kondo, the owner of Fuchi Tose, was another person whose heart danced in Yunoyama.
Something to admire as a Japanese is in the scenery of Yunoyama.
Yunoyama is called "Yunoyama Onsen" and is a tourist attraction lined with onsen ryokan (hot spring inns). Located at the foot of Mt. Gozaisho, which is also famous for its ropeway, the area offers great natural beauty, including mountains and rivers.
Making the most of its location, "Fuchitose" is a tasteful cafe that was renovated from an abandoned ryokan (Japanese-style inn) with a riverbed structure.
The owner, Mr Kondo, runs the cafe with his wife. He seems to have a strong passion for Yunoyama. Where does his passion come from?
Mr Kondo: "I have lived in the vicinity of Yunoyama since I was a child, but I have never had a strong interest in the area. My image of Yunoyama was that of a hot spring resort that had passed its peak as a tourist destination.
Long months passed without my taking any particular interest in it, and after I had a child of my own, I once took a drive in the mountains of Yunoyama. At that time, Yunoyama was in the season of autumn leaves, and the mountains were brightly colored. It was amazingly beautiful."
I see. Are you drawn to the nature?
Mr Kondo: “I was fascinated not only by the nature, but also by the scenery, including the buildings there. There are many abandoned ryokans in Yunoyama today, and I feel like I have slipped back in time to Showa Japan. There is still a landscape that seems to have stood still in time.
It would be a waste to leave this landscape of Yunoyama as it is! That was the reason why I started a cafe in Yunoyama. ”
Mr Kondo felt the original scenery of the Showa era in the appearance of Yunoyama, where the old townscape coexists with nature. That was 15 years ago, and since then he has been actively promoting activities in Yunoyama.
Is there a reason why you were so attracted to the scenery of Yunoyama?
A mix of Japanese and Western culture in the early Showa period
Mr Kondo has loved kimonos and historical dramas since he was a child, and even now he is fascinated by traditional Japanese culture and old things. “I especially like the early Showa era,” he says passionately, as if he were a pre-war culture geek. The more I listened to Mr Kondo, the more his thoughts about the early Showa era grew, and I was captivated by him.
Mr Kondo: "Western culture, which was rapidly adopted by the Meiji Restoration, first spread to the wealthy, and as the years passed, it spread to the common people. By mixing Japanese culture and Western culture, , I personally think that the early Showa period was the beginning of the establishment of a new form of Japan leading to modern times.
I am fascinated by the historical background of the early Showa era, where Japanese and Western styles were mixed together, the things created in that era, and the culture itself. ”
I think it was inevitable that Mr Kondo, who had a strong feeling for the early Showa era, met Yunoyama and was drawn into its atmosphere. Our "Japanese and Western confectionery Kikunoya" is also a sweets shop founded in the early Showa era, so it is not someone else's matter. It's nice, isn't it, the taste of the showa era.