Nestled in the mountains of Shikokuchuo City in Ehime is Kiri no Mori, a sweet shop and cafe famous among locals. And while it might not be known outside of eastern Ehime, Kiri no Mori is worth a visit.
The name “Kiri no Mori” roughly translates as “misty forest,” and it paints an accurate image of the shop’s setting. Its secluded location in the mountains bordering Kagawa prefecture is hard to access except by car, but the scenery and mystical atmosphere alone are worth the trek.
The shop itself is set on top of a hill, with a footpath leading down into a wooded area. Visitors can follow the footpath down a staircase and explore the mossy banks of a stream. With its many trees, this area is a prime place to view autumn colors.
After exploring the lush glade and stream surrounding the shop, visitors can head inside for refreshment at the "cha-fe" — a combination of the Japanese word for tea and the word "cafe." The menu includes Mikan juice, coffee, and tea-based drinks, as well as a variety of sweets. If you're in the mood for something more savory, a separate restaurant serves a variety of seasonal dishes and set meals.The cha-fe also features a tea museum, with an exhibit detailing the way the local tea is grown.
Kiri no Mori’s daifuku — mochi filled with sweet red bean paste — is its most famous product. And for good reason. Unlike other mochi, this daifuku is dusted with locally-grown matcha powder and filled with fresh cream in addition to bean paste. The daifuku can be purchased at the shop and brought home or enjoyed in the restaurant as a tea-and-sweet set while looking out on the mountainside.
In addition to the cha-fe, Kiri-no-mori offers many other things to do such as lodging at the Kiri no Mori Cottage, an onsen and an outdoor event center. Even if you don't opt for any of these options, wandering the grounds proves is an enchanting experience in itself. Visiting Kiri no Mori is a welcome deviation from the beaten path, even if it's only for an afternoon.