If you’re a traveller, you’ll know that feeling when you stumble onto something special – whether it’s a cafe, shop, restaurant, tourist attraction or scenic spot, in Kumamoto is one such place. Set in a scenic backdrop of rolling hills, this tiny cafe and antiques store is a little slice of heaven that is quite unlike anywhere else.
The Reigando Caves and 500 Buddha Statues are a top tourist attraction in Kumamoto. A few minutes walk down the hill, a small building nestled in farmland invites you to come inside. A renovated building in a beautiful, traditional style, it looks like something straight out of a storybook.
Inside the fairytale continues – shelf upon shelf of twinkling trinkets, dusty tomes, and precious objects. The antique store is an absolute treasure trove – aged furniture, vintage cameras, hefty mason jars, old books with inscriptions on the inside cover, toys, jewelery, photographs and paintings, glassware, clocks, light fittings, household objects of antiquity… it’s a beautiful, unusual, charismatic collection to say the least.
Despite the ‘old junk’ appearance of many of the items, a hefty price tag is carried by most items, and unless you’re looking for a special gift or so happen to have an overloaded wallet, you’ll probably be window shopping more so than anything else, but look closely and perhaps you’ll stumble onto a bargain.
The funniest thing is that none of the antiques are really Japanese – glancing through the items, you could be in any old specialist charity shop or antiques parlour in England. As the owners of the shop have roots in the UK, it’s no wonder that the shop is chock-full of British wares.
Aside from the antiques, there is also the cafe. My mouth waters just thinking back to it. If, like me, you are an avid and dedicated fan of real cheesecake (not the kind of thing that generally tends to pass as cheesecake in Japan) then you’re in for a treat.
The cheesecake at Kokopelli Cafe is the best cheesecake I’ve eaten in Japan – by far. For one thing, it’s actually genuine, authentic cheesecake rather than a slice of average sponge cake with a cheesy tang. Aside from cheesecake, other delicious cakes and treats are available, as well as light lunches.
For drinks, their hazelnut coffee is famous and I’ve known JET’s to make the journey out to Kokopelli just for that! If you are particularly enamoured with the coffee, you can even buy some to take home (the cakes are all take-away too.)
The Kokopelli Cafe and Antiques store is one of those places where I instantly felt at home. Not only that, set in the peaceful countryside and surrounded by magnificent nature (and one of my favourite tourist spots in the prefecture) how could I help but feel a sense of ultimate relaxation while enjoying my deliciously perfect cheesecake. Seriously, if you need peace of mind and escape from the world, find yourself at Kokopelli.
You can click here for the cafe’s homepage.