Picnic is a rustic cafe off the road on the way from Biei to the Blue Pond (Aoiike). This quaint restaurant serves a variety of light meals and dessert, in addition to coffee. There is counter seating and a few tables available for larger groups. The fare is light and includes sandwiches such as a BLT, tuna avocado or cheeseburger. Various toasts and desserts such as cake or ice cream are on the menu. A daily soup (cold refreshing tomato soup on this visit) is also available. Coffee is excellent and the atmosphere is relaxing and quiet. The staff is gracious, helpful and do speak English. Kids are welcome, and there are coloring pencils and notebooks for them to draw in. The food is inexpensive and delicious and can be ordered for dining in or take-out. Take a break from driving in the hills of Biei or returning from the Blue Pond and stop at Picnic for a satisfying bite to eat.
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I first visited Japan in 2001 and since then have returned many times. With the efficiency and reliability of its transportation, the graciousness of the people, and the dedication to quality in food and service, Japan has been my standard for modern travel convenience. Every return has reminded me of the remarkable depth and diversity of the country with no two trips being alike, despite retracing steps through familiar neighborhoods. The constant dynamism of the urban centers combined with the emphasis on tradition, sense of aesthetics, and attention to detail make it one of the most exciting places to visit and an inexhaustible land for novel experiences, modern and ancient.