Many readers already know that we LOVE Itoshima and often post reports. But it seems that lately we’ve been too busy enjoying ourselves to actually post our findings. Well, better late than never! Here’s a collection of seven recommended places; some have opened recently, others have relocated or are just new to us. So here’s seven more reasons to visit Itoshima!
Cheese Factory Tak
Great bakeries, fabulous for pork and ham, super fresh fish, amazing vegetables, it seems Itoshima has it all, but wait… where’s the cheese? Well in May 2015, Akira Katayama and his wife filled that hole with the debut of Itoshima’s first-ever dedicated cheese shop and factory. Currently they make three varieties of natural semi-hard and fresh cheese. Akira learned his craft in Hokkaido and Denmark, and since returning to Japan he’s won prizes in the All Japan Natural Cheese Contest three years in a row. The friendly couple welcomes visitors and offers free tastings. Our favorite is Kohaku, which is a semi-hard cheese similar to Havarti.
Cheese Factory Tak
Address: 63-10 Kishi, Shima
Open: 11:00~17:00 (Fri., Sat., 1st, 3rd and 5th Sun.) Please check their website for up to date schedule.
In May 2015, a couple from the Tokyo area relocated to Itoshima and opened a tiny bakery right on Route 202 in Nijo-Fukae, just a short walk from Chikuzen-Fukae Station. Not only are their breads extremely tasty – baguettes to bagels and lots in between – they’re all loving handmade without using margarine, shortening, eggs, or additives. While baguettes and bagels may not sound like local Itoshima cuisine, all their breads are made with locally sourced wheat. Why not take a hot panini to go and eat it at their outdoor picnic table?
Address: 555-2 Nijo Fukae, Itoshima
Open: 10:00~18:00 (until sold out)
Closed: Mon. Wed. & Thu. (open if it’s Hol.)
Sotomeshi Port is one of our favorite finds this last summer. This food stand is located next door to the also recently opened Diver’s Sun Guide Scuba School and Shop. Their menu is limited, but it certainly hits the spot. Our favorite is their fish burger (¥550): it is made with fish sourced from the port nearby, then coated in a semi-sweet sauce and served in a hearty handmade bun – great as a substantial snack or a light meal. Destined to become a local hit – mark our words! The pork cutlet sandwich and the fig pork curry (figs are harvested locally) are also delicious. Need to perk up? Recharge with a Kenya coffee for ¥200.
Address: 2129-21 Miyaura, Itoshima
The former Petani Coffee was great except that it was almost impossible to find, and so small that it was often full. Last July, Petani’s owners, Daisuke Masuzaki and Kazuhiro Takeda, opened the doors to their new location near the Hatsu intersection. The renovated doctor’s’ office is quite spacious, and is decorated simply yet effectively with plants. This as a great place to relax and revel in the smell of freshly roasted coffee, and the menu includes not only all the regular specialty coffees, but also some sandwiches and sweets. Our favorite coffee is the rich and dark Guatemalan.
Address: 47-1 Shima Hatsu, Itoshima
Open: 12:00~19:00 (weekdays), 10:00~19:00 (weekend & Hol.)
After years of curiously admiring the shiny aluminum Airstream mobile home as we drove past, we finally decided to stop and try some of their gelato. We did not regret it! Their delicious, flavorful gelato is made by hand using natural and seasonal ingredients. Loiter Market is conveniently located at the 3-way intersection leading into Keya. On the same lot there’s a self-service vegetable stand where you can pick up fresh local produce at bargain prices; it is unmanned and works on the honor system, so please be respectful of that.
Address: 166-3 Shima Keya, Itoshima
Open: 12:00~ around sunset
Sky 44 & Xaymaca Bay
The beaches of Itoshima often draw comparisons to beaches in Hawaii, but now with the opening of Sky 44 this spring, visitors might imagine the shores of Colombia or Jamaica instead. Franklin and his partner Federico built Sky 44 by themselves on the site of a former gas station. It is located near JR Shikaka Station on the border of Itoshima and Karatsu, and across the road (route 202) from a sandy beach. When we visited this summer they were serving pizza baked in a wood burning stove, but now we hear they have paella too. Meanwhile, Allen (of Xaymaca fame) has permanently parked his mobile kitchen truck there too, and is offering his renowned jerk chicken and Jamaican hospitality. Expect this place to become hotter and hotter!
Sky 44 & Xaymaca Bay
Address: 943-1 Nijo Shikaka, Itoshima
Tel: 080-1544-4242 (Sky 44), 090-5725-5217 (Xaymaca Bay)
Closed: Wed. (call before going – irregular open/close days)
DJ Land has brought Ibiza to Itoshima! DJ Taka, veteran professional DJ with many years of experience in Europe, Asia and the Americas, has returned to his hometown and opened up a palatial resort-style venue near Keya, Itoshima. This expansive venue is right next to the beach, and is complete with a huge pool, luxurious deck furnishings, and thumping sound system. Indoors is just as tricked out as the exterior, with a hi-tech sound system and super-sized dance floor. It opened September 2015, and has already hosted several popular parties at which local and international DJs have played.
• Shima Keya 3367-10, Itoshima-shi, Fukuoka