Komonoyasan means accessory shop. But this little gem along the Toki River is actually an outdoor cafe, rich in character and charm. Furthermore, it is a particularly photogenic cafe; in a scenic natural setting with dozens of photo props. Currently, you can get a front row seat to the yaezakura late blooming cherry blossoms, in flower, along the Toki river embankment. Moreover, the owner, a man who seems gruff on first impressions, is the sweetest man you could ever meet. With a character all of his own that can match the charm of the coffee shop and then some.
I always wanted to visit this coffee shop, accosted by the train station “Hotaru” prop on journeys in Tokigawa. Every single time I passed the Hotaru sign I got a pang of remorse that I hadn’t yet been. And we pass it a lot, on trips to Saitama’s only natural ice rink or to the stable for retired houses or on our way to Kinomura Camp etc. I finally indulged this past week. It was more than worth the wait.
The main things to note:
- The coffee shop only opens on fine days. But sometimes, as the owner unapologetically (kudos to you sir) told me, it is closed without notice if the owner is going off “playing”.
- There is only drinks on the menu. I think there is just three.
- The main coffee, which is quite famous in the Hiki district, is a coffee with cream on top. You are not, under any circumstances, to stir your drink! It tastes better unstirred according to the owner and I certainly wasn’t going to experiment.
- Each drink comes with a message written on it. I’ve been looking through social media photos – the message seems to be different almost every time. Another point for Komonoyasan from me!
- You get to keep the container the coffee comes in.
- A drink costs 500 yen. And worth every yenny.
- The owner, a man who I could write a book about, is a smoker. Again, unapologetically. So all seating is “smoking“, that is has an ashtray. All seating is outdoors so I can’t imagine there is ever a time that you would be smothered in smoke. But just giving you a heads up in case that is a no go for you.
- There is a Totoro bus stop, one of at least three Totoro photo spots in Tokigawa. For example, there is a Totoro just down the road at Donguri Yama and a Catbus bus stop at Kunugi Mura.
- Komonoyasan will feature on NHK BS1 Cool Japan on May 22nd at 6 pm. (Cool Japan – the program that put me on lmdb, which I find hilarious by the way!!)
Tokigawa Komonoyasan Information
Tokigawa Komonoyasan also written as Toki River Komonoyasan, Tokigawa Ko Mono ya San, Komono ya san, とき川の小物屋さん
Address: 767-2 Nishidaira, Tokigawa, Hiki District, Saitama 355-0364
Hours: at the owner’s discretion! Generally around 10 am to 3 pm on a sunny day.
Cost: 500 yen
Unfortunately, Tokigawa Town is a bit tricky to explore by public transport. But its not impossible. There is a bus that goes from Myokaku Station to the Sesaragi Bus station. From there you can get an (infrequent) town loop bus to Nishidaira undoba bus stop. There are also taxis at the bus station center.
By car its easy to find, a little trickier to park. Its on the main route 172. There are two car spots right across from the building where you order your coffee, but there is also a parking lot, that is easier to navigate, to the west of the building.
i so want to hear about the owner! More! what a curious little place!
I’ve a feeling if I got him on a quiet day I’d get a few stories out of him. Love meeting a good “character” especially an owner of an establishment!