There has been a steady rise of Instacafe spots all over Japan, but this cafe in Tsurugashima might well win a prize for the most instagrammable cafe in all of Saitama. It is particularly the garden of the cafe that has created its instafame. Specially the roses, which have won numerous accolades over the years. But inside the cafe is equally photogenic. People come from all over Saitama, even beyond, to see the roses and enjoy the scenic cafe.
May 21st 2019 – Updated with additional information and a whole page of photos (page 2, click here) after our second visit of the 2019 rose season. All images copyright of Lynda Hogan and insaitama.com – read more on legal here.
Shimizu Gardens / Gardening
Before there was even a sign over the door, the owners of the restaurant were renowned in the rose and gardening world. If you’ve ever been to the Tokorozawa International Rose Festival you will know their work. They have won dozens of globally acclaimed awards at that festival, before the 20 year old festival closed its doors for the final time in 2018.
The cafe is Greenfinger Cafe in Tsurugashima. And the owners certainly do have green fingers… and green thumbs. I was awed to the point of speechlessness, and with a tear in my eye, as I absorbed the magnificent scenery that accosted me as I entered the garden. Even when I was parking the car, the smell of the roses cloaked me in joyful anticipation.
Green Finger Cafe could give any English Country Garden a run for its money. You can see why the owners have won so many prizes. There are many wonders to behold at the small, but impressive garden. Far too many to list. But below I have outlined a few points of interest with photos:
Roses are the highlight in May
Each variety of rose blooms at slightly different times so the garden changes appearance week on week
They have purple roses which are a rarity
There are so many things to discover
Old Kura (storehouse) converted from a state of disrepair to include a view
The whole of the cafe, garden and outhouses were built by the staff
Despite being only seven years old, the gardens are mature
You can’t eat outside, but the french windows offer a great view and create the illusion that you are in the garden.
Inside is just as curious and engaging. They sell gardening goods as well as novelty items and even floral skin products.
Attention to detail throughout the cafe and garden
Even the toilets have rose detail
There are other flowers, not just roses. Currently, the roses are the highlight, but next month in June the hydrangea will be in bloom.
The menu is quite small, during rose season when they have a rose fair, with only a handful of lunch dishes. They have desserts for this period too. The cafe is open more frequently during the rose flowering period though – an extra two days per week. Out of rose season there is a fuller menu.
The menu is in Japanese, but it has very clear photos. The main staple of the cafe is a type of Breton Galette. A french dish of a pancake type base with ham. In Greenfinger cafe they serve it with salad.
They also have a shrimp doria and a salmon doria. I had the latter and my friend had the Galette. The rose in the center of the doria was shaped from the salmon. We were both very happy with our meals.
They cost 2000 yen and come with one drink of either tea, coffee or a soft drink. Like almost every restaurant in Japan, you get water for free. They have a large water tank where you can help yourself to refills.
This is definitely one garden cafe that I will visit multiple times. Apart from the breathtaking garden, the staff are, as we say in Ireland, legends. They are so friendly and so kind. And it rubs off on the clientele. There is a real relaxed and amiable atmosphere in the cafe. One of the staff in the restaurant speaks fluent English. And all the staff are all too willing to take your photo. Instagood Instacafe !!
Name: Greenfinger Cafe Tsurugashima
Address: 4-1 Kamishinden, Tsurugashima-shi, Saitama 350-2225
Hours: Open Thursday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. During the rose season the cafe opens additional dates. This year 2019 those additional days are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The 2019 dates: Tuesdays – 14th, 21st and 28th of May, Wednesdays – 15th, 22nd and 29th of May.
Cost: average 2000 yen
Official Instagram account
Continue to page 2 for even more photos.
Greenfinger Cafe is within walking distance of two stations: Nishioya Station and Ippommatsu Station. Both are on the Tobu Ogose Line. Ippommatsu is about an 11 minute walk from the cafe, and Nishioya is about 14 minutes, on foot.
By car, the cafe is close to the Tsurgashima Junction of the Ken-O and Kanetsu expressways. There is parking for about 14 cars, but they fill up very quickly. There is a coin parking lot about a three minute walk from the illustrious cafe.
Other Instacafes on this blog:
- Garden and Cafe Prunus in Higashimatsuyama
- Cranbon in Higashimatsuyama
- Garden Cafe and glamping play area in Hotel Shiunkaku, Higashimatsuyama
- Garden Cafe Bakery Gu Choki Pan, Hatoyama
- Rose Town Tea Garden in Ome in Tokyo