By Seidai Fujiwara / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterFUJIKAWAGUCHIKO, Yamanashi — It’s not just the panoramic view of Kawaguchiko lake at the foot of Mt. Fuji that has made Lake Side Cafe Ku a popular spot since opening in March in Fujikawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture.
What has drawn customers is the cafe’s emphasis on using carefully selected local ingredients for its drinks and dishes.
Yoshihito Kubota, 52, used to work at the Kofu city government before becoming the eatery’s owner. As an official in charge of the city’s public relations, he was engaged in activities to promote the city using local delicacies, including serving hoto noodles and corn to spectators at home games of Ventforet Kofu, a soccer team in the J.League’s second division.
He also played a part in founding a volunteer group comprising city government officials who aim to vitalize the city with regional specialties, such as chicken offal stew.
Through such experiences, Kubota began to “think about having my own eatery and introducing the attractions of the prefecture’s cuisine to more people.”
This prompted him to quit the city government in March last year and open the cafe by the lake.
“I fell in love at first sight with the beautiful scenery of the colors of the autumn leaves and the lake itself,” he said.
The cafe serves meals, drinks and desserts. The menu varies from seasonal coffee (¥540) and a sandwich set (¥700) to affogato coffee (¥540).
Smoothies made from seasonal fruits, including Kofu strawberries in the spring, are the cafe’s signature items. A smoothie featuring peaches grown in the prefecture, priced at ¥680, will be available soon.
The salad-style pasta with homemade dressing (¥1,100) uses lettuce grown in the prefecture. The dish is suitable for summer because of its refreshingly light flavor.
Kubota plans to change the menu seasonally, with grape flavored-shaved ice one item under consideration.
It has been only three months since the opening, but the cafe increasingly caters to a full house. Kubota gives origami cranes and spinning tops to foreign tourists, with such thoughtful service the secret behind the cafe’s growing popularity.
“I’d like to offer delicious drinks and dishes using ingredients grown in the prefecture so that more people will have an interest in the prefecture,” Kubota said.
Lake Side Cafe Ku
Open: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (last order at 7 p.m.)
Closed: Tuesdays (but open when they fall on national holidays, and closed the following day)
Address: 4014-5 Funatsu, Fujikawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture
Inquiries: Call (0555) 25-6210 or visit www.facebook.com/Lake-Side-Cafe-Ku-174126696523067/
Credit cards accepted
English menu available
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