This Japanese Town Won’t Stay Under the Radar for Long
It's full of sweet surprises.
Hayama isn't the first place you think of when planning your Japan itinerary, but those who live there know that it's pretty special. In fact, people have been known to open stores in the neighborhood "just because it's Hayama." Get to know some of the establishments that have opened in the lovely town.
Nicolas & Herbs Hayama Main Shop
1723-1 Isshiki, Hayama Town, Miura District, Kanagawa Prefecture
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and until 7 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Closed on Mondays.
How to get there: It's 11 minutes by bus from JR Zushi Station East Exit to Hayama and 1 minute on foot from Hayamadaido bus stop.
Ever since he went independent, Lyon-born Nicolas Moreau had wanted to open his own store in Hayama. The famous chef, patissier, and chocolatier who opened popular stores in Ginza and Omotesando now considers Hayama his second hometown. It turned out as planned in February 2018, when the tart and chocolate store Nicolas & Herbs Hayama Main Shop opened. Although he didn't advertise much beforehand, the news spread quickly around the small town, and there was a long line in front of the store on the first day.
The logo of the store that looks like Nicolas was designed by his friend. He is in good relationship with his neighbors and the stores nearby.
Nicolas' wife is from Hayama, and is one of the reasons why he came to know this town, but he also says, "Lyon, the town which I grew up in was also rural. Even if I was working in the city, I wanted to live in a place where there is nature and local production for local consumption."
He started living in Hayama four years ago. Now he lives with his four children, and grows herbs in his yard to use for the tarts and chocolate.
"I like to use homemade herbs, of course, but also honey from Ishii Apiary near the store in Hayama, brand eggs from Iwasawa Portree in Yokosuka, and Sargassum from Zushi." There are always more than 10 kinds of chocolates (¥400 each) and tarts (¥500 each) that are each very unique. Honey and eggs are used in sweets, and Sargassum is used in the Sargassum Pizza.
The chocolates are Chaos, Lavender, and Hayama (¥400 each) from the left. They are full of originality. "Chocolate is an area where I can expose my artistic feature."
The products of Nicolas & Herbs are all handmade by Nicolas. The chocolates are like shiny jewels because they are made for three days. "The numbers of chocolate I make are limited, and to respect the customers that come to Hayama," he is not planning to sell them in the city. "If people want to eat my chocolate, I would like them to visit Hayama. It's worth coming here, because it is quiet and full of nature." He doesn't forget to tell us the great parts of the town.
There are also always a number of tarts (¥500 each) at the store. He makes them by hand at the workshop near his house.
Even more than the charms of Hayama, the shining chocolates are worth coming all the way to see.
This is a macaron tower displayed by the window. You can buy macarons (¥250) and meringue (¥400) as souvenirs.
2559-4 Kamiyamaguchi, Hayama Town, Miura District, Kanagawa Prefecture
Open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Lunch is served until 2 p.m. while dinner starts from 5 p.m. daily except on Thursdays)
How to get there: It's 17 minutes by bus from the East Exit of JR Zushi Station to Kinugasa Bus Stop, and 2 minutes by foot from Kamiyamaguchi Elementary School Bus Stop.
Located right next to a gallery, Café Kaieirou used to be the Beijing Cuisine Kaieirou. The latter was so loved by local citizens that if you mentioned "Kaieirou" in Hayama, they would respond with "Kaieirou in Isshiki?"
It used to be located near the vacation house of the emperor in Isshiki for 40 years, but closed in 2015. The new Café Kaieirou that opened in Kamiyamaguchi in December 2017 is owned by Tatsuki Muraki, the grandson of Emi Hisano, the founder of Beijing Cuisine Kaieirou.
This is owner and chef Muraki and his mother.
"I have experienced working at a company, but I was affected by my grandmother, and couldn't give up my dream to open a restaurant, so I chose to do it," Muraki says, looking back the time he started the store.
Although he still used the same name as his grandmother for the store, Muraki's Kaieirou has an original menu that doesn't focus on Beijing cuisine. "We mostly have café menus, to make the store feel like a coffee shop with a relaxing time and space, but we created them so that we can offer meals for lunch and dinner."
There are many dishes to choose from. While many customers drop by to look for the dishes that they used to love, the Kaieirou Set (¥1,580) is the only meal that still tastes like Beijing cuisine.
Kaieirou Set is a mille-feuille of eggplants and ground pork, with appetizers, Japanese pickles, spring pancake, rice, a mini dessert, and a drink.
"The other dishes also use the least amount of oil. We try to make them better in quality over quantity. The chairs and tables are low, with dim lights, to have elderly customers feel comfortable," he says.
Before Muraki opened the store, he considered several buildings, imagining the interior for each one, before deciding on a "Taisho era romantic coffee shop," which gave the cafe a comfortable atmosphere.
Since he was born and brought up in Hayama, "I completed reforming the store with my neighbors and friends in just a few weeks. The opening day is my grandmother's birthday. We made it in time," he laughs.
The cafe is on the mountains of Hayama. In the winter, it's warm thanks to this wood stove, which matches with the wooden interior.
Try their cakes served after lunch at 2 p.m. and before dinner starts at 5 p.m. There are many kinds, like rich baked cheesecake, apple pie, and scones (¥580 each, ¥1,000 with a drink).
Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Yokohama Walker™, (9 April 2018)