Farm to Table in Kawane
Tucked away in the valleys of the Southern Alps of Shizuoka is a small town that prides itself on providing simple farm-to table experiences and local hospitality in a stunning location.
There are numerous Japanese style lodges around the Kawanehoncho area of Shizuoka known as Minshuku – accommodation and restaurants combined into one.
You stay one night in a traditional room with tatami mats, and traditionally two meals (breakfast and dinner) are included in the price.
They are run by the loveliest locals and staying there feels like staying in someone’s home and these homestay-like experiences are a chance interact with the locals.
The experience differs slightly depending on where you go, but essentially you arrive in the early evening, settle into your room, and then visit the garden with the family and help to pick the vegetables that will be on the menu that night.
Farm to Table
From freshly picked tea leaves transformed into crisp tempura in front of your eyes, to freshly caught fish grilled over Japanese coals, the food is vast, fresh and enormously satisfying.
Food is the ultimate language. Even though some hosts don’t speak English, the language of food can bridge even the furthest of cultural gaps.
‘Delicious’ can be the same in every language. The experience is so unique and heartwarming that you will want to assist in clearing the table or washing up, only the kind people will not let you help despite how much you offer to do so.
You can book your farm to table experience through Mt Fuji Travel. And yes they can pick you up from the station!
Bridge of Dreams
Many people visit Kawane for its most popular attraction referred to as the ‘Bridge of Dreams’ or Yume-no-Tsuribashi.
The bridge is only a short bus ride from Senzu station, which winds its way through a beautiful gorge called Sumatakyo.
Once the bus arrives, the bridge is a leisurely 20-30 minute walk. If you come peak season it may be busy but there are multiple paths up and around the bridge and surrounding valley to explore.
The Green shower road goes along the crystal blue stream of the Sumata River, while the Soto-moriyama hiking course goes to the Mt. Soto-Moriyama peak and the Sumatakyo promenade course passes through the bridge of dreams itself.
Each route links up and can be hiked in 1 to 2 hours, so you can actually try all of them in a morning or an afternoon.
When you’ve expended your energy and are looking to refuel, there is a small cluster of shops and eateries right at the entrance of the hike to the bridge.
Right opposite is a classic local Japanese onsen, where you can refresh and recover tired muscles before moving on and exploring the rest of Kawane.
Access to Kawane
From Tokyo you can take the Tokaido shinkansen (bullet train) to Shizuoka station in about an hour. From Kyoto Station it takes an hour and a half.
From Shizuoka station, take the local train to Shin Kanaya station (you may have to change at Kanaya station first), and then from there you can ride the Steam Locomotive (runs a few times a day) for just under an hour as it winds its way through the mountains tp Senzu station.
From Senzu station, if you have booked your farm to table experience on the Mt Fuji Travel link above, then the local hosts will pick you up from the station upon arrival.
Make a steam locomotive reservation here and take in the green of Kawane and explore Shizuoka!