Natural Life Studio

Fine art and macrobiotic food in relaxed surroundings

By Mifthanzi Ariana Sarashanti    - 4 min read

Opened in December 2012, Natural Life Studio, a café specializing in delicious macrobiotic snacks and meals, is already a hit with the local population in Kuji City, Iwate.

The owner chef, Shinobu Sato (33), born and raised in Kuji, attended university in Tokyo, graduating with a major in fine art. Tired of the fast pace of life in Tokyo, Shinobu returned to Kuji, working between two high schools as an art teacher, before hatching on the idea of using her artistic and cookery talents to create Natural Life Studio.

Shinobu says that “as a child, I was brought up to eat well” but didn’t consider her diet, rich in locally grown vegetables as “anything out of the ordinary”. Her time in Tokyo brought to her attention the high quality of the produce and local diet in Kuji. This, coupled with her experience of working in Tokyo cafes as a student, interest in starting her own enterprise, and desire to make Kuji’s produce more accessible while offering an alternative to meat, lead to the creation of Natural Life Studio.

Shionobu explains that the main benefit of a macrobiotic diet, composed of vegetables, beans and brown rice, helps “create a healthy body and mind”. Apart from tasting good, locally grown organic vegetables contain high concentrations of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants which are essential in maintaining healthy cellular function. A trans-fat free, low glycemic diet, rich in nutrients and plant fiber helps the body to maintain optimal health.

Among the delicious array of in-house snacks, meals and drinks is the “smoothie”. Each smoothie is made from an original recipe created by Shinobu. From a health perspective, Shinobu explains that some of the ingredients in the smoothie can “only be absorbed by the body in their raw state”, while the enzymes (fermented ingredients) help restore the balance of the stomach. People with an unsettled stomach may find that drinking a healthy smoothie on a regular basis will help to resolve this issue. Of the three smoothies offered, “sparkling skin cream smoothie”, “stress relief yellow smoothie”, and “iron and vitamin rich berry smoothie”, I tried the “stress relief yellow smoothie”. The original combination of pineapple, orange, lemon, banana and celery leaves tasted delicious, settled my stomach and was further enhanced by the warm, natural wood design and relaxed, friendly atmosphere of the café.

Although all are welcome to join, Shinobu also offers hatha yoga classes with a focus on post-natal women. These classes teach students yoga poses and effective meditation and breathing techniques. Shinobu is a qualified pre and post natal yoga instructor from the Yoga Alliance of North America and is also a level two raw food instructor from the same organization. She also has various qualifications in macrobiotic food preparation and as a medical aromatherapy advisor.

Natural Life Studio is a popular venue with all age ranges. The food is suitable for young infants through to elderly citizens. For anyone looking to enjoy friendly conversation in English or Japanese with Shinobu, or some of the Kuji locals, while tucking into a healthy snack, meal or drink, the café comes strongly recommended.

Cafe Opening hours

Thurs 10:30-14:30

Fri/Sat 11:00-18:00

Yoga Classes

Tues 14:30-15:30/19:15-20:30

Weds 18:30-19:45


Tel: 019-475-3520 E-mail:

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Mifthanzi Ariana Sarashanti

Mifthanzi Ariana Sarashanti @mifthanzi.ariana.sarashanti

Indonesian who loves traveling, writing, and photography.

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