If you are feeling hungry in Minakami there are a good range of restaurants catering to those with big appetites as thrill seekers look to refuel after their adventure activities. If you like burgers and like them big, then you need to head to the I Love Nature Cafe.
Hang a right as you exit Minakami Station and within a minute you will see a building covered in hand-painted signage and bright banners. The I Love Nature Cafe is just up the colorful stairway. The building doubles as the base for I Love Outdoors who run canyoning and rafting tours and I Love Canoe. You walk past their reception desk as you head to the cafe in the back.
The colorful theme continues inside the building too and there is barely a surface that is not painted a bright shade. Colorful characters abound as well. Being so central and close to the station the cafe is a bit of a hangout for hungry locals and tourists alike.
We'd heard rumors about the monster burger and were keen to see what all the fuss was about - we could certainly smell it as there was already some large meat patties sizzling away on the grill. We promptly put in our order for two of "Grassy's Mega Burgers" and when they arrived they were as good as promised. Forget trying to get your mouth around it. It is hard enough to get your hands around it. The burger is bursting with toppings and there are also a few fries to keep it company. It is certainly a challenge to eat but we proved ourselves equal to the task. I'm not sure you would want to head out onto the river straight after one of these though. A nap in a canoe on a nice calm lake might be a better choice.
As an added bonus the I Love Nature Cafe has cider on tap. Not the sweet, fizzy soda that has robbed the name over here in Japan, but the proper, "brewed from apples" cider that is virtually unheard of here in the mountains (even though apple orchards abound.)
Really friendly staff, great food and an unexpected cider means we'll definitely be back to the I Love Nature Cafe again. Very keen to try their fish and chips - another luxury not often seen around these parts.