On Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 “Boathouse Ohori Park”, located inside Fukuoka’s most famous park, Ohori-koen will be re-opened after being completely rebuilt. On Feb., 4 Fukuoka Now joined a pre-open media tour of the new complex. Here’s a brief report and some snapshots.
The same company, Royal Holdings, which operated the former cafe and restaurant won the rights to develop the area in an open bid against 33 contenders. Such was their passion to “do the right” thing in this very special location on land owned by the Fukuoka Prefecture.
Let’s get you orientated. There are four sections to Boathouse Ohori. On the ground floor is the Royal Garden Cafe with 152 seats of which 62 are on wooden deck terraces overlooking the pond. Well behaved dogs are welcome and doggy snacks and water are available. Inside the decor is a bit Hawaiian/Californian, very comfortable and airy with an open kitchen. Ideal for meals or as a cafe it opens at 11:00 until last order at 21:30 on weekdays and opens from 09:00 on weekends. What we tasted was great – especially the fluffy handmade pancakes!
Upstairs is Hananoki, originally opened in Nakasu in 1953 and then moved to Ohori-koen, and where Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio enjoy a dinner on their honeymoon trip to Japan. The new Hananoki has fewer tables than before, with just 40 seats, but all with spectacular floor to ceiling window views of the pond and park. There’s one private room, the “Marilyn Monroe Room” also with the same stunning view. Marilyn sat in one of the six same refurbished chairs. But which one? Lunch: 12:00 ~ 15:00, Dinner: 18:00 ~22:00.
Back downstairs is Pinkberry, a hugely successful premium frozen yoghurt brand from Los Angeles. This is second shop in Japan (after Tokyo) and first in Kyushu. Customers can choose from a huge variety of toppings including lots of fresh fruit and super tasty sweets and crunchy treats. Interestingly, inside the same shop there are small racks with takeaway sandwiches (Royal brand) coffee and drinks, swell as a selection of Royal’s most popular baked goods, like my favorite Rocky Road. Finally we spotted a small display of high quailty Koishiwara pottery and Hakata megaton (shaped wooden boxes) – both of which make excellent local souvenirs – a nice touch and very convenient for overseas visitors. The shop opens from 08:00~18:00, with yoghurt service beginning at 10:00.
The final and fourth part is the Rental Boat hut from which you can rent paddle boats to work off the calories you picked up at the cafe, restaurant and yoghurt shop! Open weekdays 11:00 ~ 18:00, Sat., Sun., Hol., 10:00 ~ 18:00. Reception closes at 17:30. Open March ~ November only. More photos here.
The only problem we can see with the new Boathouse Ohori, is that it is too good! We predict it might be hard to get a seat, at least in the beginning. But try – it’ll be worth it!