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A Place for Lives and Communication Invested by Locals and Won the Special Award of Regrowing-area Prize

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A Place for Lives and Communication Invested by Locals and Won the Special Award of Regrowing-area Prize

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Kawanishi Satonoeki

Address: 2374 Miwakamachi, Miyoshi, Hiroshima 728-0621
Call: 0824-69-2808

 

Used as a place for communication, Kawanishi Satonoeki is a meeting place founded to liven up the area. Locals invest in the company in a rare method of improving the area, it is receiving attention. “Make our company and town better ourselves.” The activities that local people are involved in positively liven up the area and make a lot of people smile.

Kawanishi Satonoeki is a place for lives and communication opened by investigation by local people in 2017. The origin of the whole affair is the anxiety locals felt about the declining birthrate and aging population caused by underpopulation of the town. So the town decided to apply for a project and “make a small base” that the government was promoting for livening up the local area. This project aimed to revive local communities by centering multiple life services and community places on a central area. If a town is accepted, they can receive a subsidy. To apply for this project, they decided to integrate local people’s opinions first by asking what kind of facility the town needs and what will make their lives better. They asked 900 people including elementary school students and elderly people, and about 700 people said that they want a convenience store. “The number of people who requested it was overwhelming and we were convinced. Not only shopping, but convenience stores offer ATM and delivery services, too. People used to go to the post office or JA (Japan Agricultural Cooperatives) but it was inconvenient because they are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. That’s why we started considering opening convenience stores and other facilities.” the representative, Hirata Katsuaki says. They approached several convenience store chains to invite, and Family Mart, who is interested in having a farm-fresh food market as an experiment, agreed. They started as a “joint-stock company of everyone in the area” that was invested in by 85% of the local people. This rare work is approved by inside and outside of the area, as a project that livens up local area, and won the special award of regrowing-area prize.

As Kawanishi Satonoeki opens from the early morning and until midnight, it’s convenient for shopping and also contributes to promoting communication and prevention of crime. The Restaurant Satonoeki in the facility is a place where people gather naturally like a neighborhood meeting. When a person who is always there doesn’t show up, sometimes someone is worried and visits their house.“ Visiting here and being able to see someone should make people relieved a lot. We’d like them to use this facility for a local meeting and small reunion more.” Another role of the facility is creation of employment.

One of the employees, Sajiki Misue is in charge of making mochi that is sold at a farm-fresh food market. “Originally there was a mochi-making group called ’Sawayaka’ in this district. We have 6 people to make mochi, but 2 of the member of Sawayaka come and teach mochi making. We created chocolate mochi and wasabi (Japanese horseradish) mochi, but still the standard items like plain mochi and bean paste mochi are popular.” She said with a smile. Both of the staff who come to teach are in their eighties, but they are willing to do it from early morning. Yutani Megumi, who is in charge of the restaurant, is one of the original members. “I’ve been involved from the first place where the dishes were developed. We made udon that is easy to eat at an eat-in corner, but it wasn’t good. So we went to a famous udon shop to learn how to make stock.” She smiled. Thanks to that, their udon and the ramen made with the same stock are pretty popular for their light taste.

The facility where people can get local specialities and also have meals became a popular place. What livens up there even more is their many events. On the first and the third Saturdays they offer morning service which is affordable and very healthy. On the third Saturday an event called “Kawanishi Market” is held and liven up the place even more. Yutani says, “I especially like the many food trucks, where you can buy various local specialities such as curry and melon bread. I get them for my family.” They also hold a flea market and workshops that have a lot of contents enjoyable for both children and adults. Lately they are planning an “Onion Festival” which is a seasonal vegetable from late autumn to winter. Isemoto Shigemi who is the chair of event-holding group “Tsunagu Plus,” is in charge of the festival. Yutani and Isemoto have been friends for a long time, and now they are comrades who cooperate with each other to liven up Kawanishi Satonoeki. “Seeing from the viewpoint of local people shouldn’t be enough. For example, local specialities are just regular things for locals. There are things that you don’t notice until someone like Isemoto who comes from outside of the place told you ‘This is good, isn’t it?’” Says Yutani. “What I really want to do is to support farmers, so the Onion Festival is a very worthwhile event. We are planning harvesting experience and Onion Hotpot so we hope a lot of people will come.” Says Isemoto. As a place that everyone can enjoy, Kawanishi Satonoeki will keep making a lot of people smile with locals’ effort and support.

Grated Japanese Yam Udon (620 yen) and inarizushi (flavored boiled rice wrapped in fried bean curd) (130 yen for 2). Less salty and mild taste!


Information

店舗名 Kawanishi Satonoeki
所在地 2374 Miwakamachi, Miyoshi, Hiroshima 728-0621
営業時間 6 am - 1 pm Restaurant Satonoeki( Morning Service): 7 am - 9 am on the first and third Saturday. Udon: 11 am - 3 pm
電話番号 0824-69-2808