For many, summer seems to be the most popular time to visit Itoshima. But autumn is just as good or even better. This month we introduce a short hike with a fantastic view. We also guide you to a newly opened restaurant that serves Italian dishes made with local Itoshima ingredients. If you prefer to cook your own meals, consider using farm fresh veggies from Katsuki Vege Stand & Oki Labo, and how about some hard-to-find cuts of meats? It’s all in this month’s Itoshima Now!
Tateishi Yama Nature Trail
For a spectacular view of the brilliant blue Genkai Sea and the green fields surrounding the rocky outcrop of Keya no Oto, try the hike up Mt. Tateishi. There are two places from which to start, but relax, both climbs are easy peasy and a pair of sturdy sneakers is all you’ll need. From the trailhead at Keya Beach, it’s about 30 minutes to the top. If you have a car, you can start off from the highest point along the mountain road linking Keya to Fukunoura. There’s a telecommunications tower and room for a few cars. From there it’s less than 20 minutes to the summit at 220 m where the view is stunning! If you go, don’t litter and prevent forest fires by not smoking.
Itoshima might be inaka (countryside) but we have superb coffee thanks to people like Hiroyuki Tanaka. In 2010 he opened Tana Cafe + Coffee Roaster in central Maebaru and then two years later he opened Coffee Unidos on Route 202. There, he roasts coffee beans sourced and personally imported directly from Nicaragua and El Salvador. Tasting is free and the sweets baked by his wife are divine!
Building upon two years in kitchens in Italy and seven years in another popular restaurant in Itoshima, Ryuhei Tanaka opened his own restaurant in Maebaru on September 1. Using mostly local Itoshima vegetables, fish and meats, his dishes are definitely Italian, but subtly refined for local palettes. The lunch course including four dishes, dessert and coffee or tea at just ¥1,800 is a bargain!
Katsuki Vege Stand & Oki Labo
Years ago Yusuke Oki left the city for Shima-kuga, Itoshima where he grows dozens of varieties of vegetables on rented fields. In June 2018, after a successful crowdfunding campaign, he opened shop inside a refurbished railway train caboose. Why? Because he knew it would attract visitors and he prefers to sell his veggies face-to-face. On your next Itoshima road trip, drop by for some farm fresh veggies and a chat.
• 2537-1 Shima-kuga, Itoshima City (near Katsuki bus stop)
• Open: 10:00~16:00, usually Sat & Sun.
• Web: https://okifarm-itoshima.com/katsuki-vege-stand-oki-labo/
• FB: https://www.facebook.com/Katsuki-Vege-Stand-Oki-Labo-199657824152256/
Toraya Meat Center
What? Tiger sightings reported in Itoshima? Itoshima Now ventured out along Route 49 in Suenaga to follow up. Sure enough, we found a life-size tiger next to a sign advertising Tora Burgers! They no longer sell Tora (tiger) Burgers and assured us when they did, they weren’t made of tiger meat. Phew! But what a wonderful and huge butcher shop! In addition to beef, pork and chicken they also have rabbit, alligator, ostrich, and snake for those looking for something wild to put on the grill.
To learn more about Itoshima now, click here!
Originally published in Fukuoka Now Magazine (fn238, Oct. 2018)