The Osumi Peninsula, the eastern portion of Kagoshima bordering Miyazaki, is a wonderful destination for its natural beauty. Mountains, the ocean, and some of the best hot springs in all of Japan can be found. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a good cup of coffee, this can be a bit more difficult to come by. Fortunately, the fine folks at the Yon Maru Cafe in Tarumizu have got you covered.
Located on Route 220, the Sata Highway leading down along the coast, is this little cafe. Yon Maru, which means 4-0 in English, was named because the owner’s father used to run a car lot and body shop on that location and 2013, the year Yon Maru opened, would have been the shop’s fortieth anniversary. Renovated by the owner and her husband, the cafe has a small menu of both food and drinks that are a huge step over what you’ll find at the convenience stores or Joyfull diners that dot the Sata Highway.
This family-owned restaurant’s menu may not be expansive, but it has some very great items on it. The main food dishes are hot sandwiches, pasta, and cakes, all of which are made in-house by the staff. Service is impeccable, and the interior design is a mix of West meets East. In addition to the food, no cafe would be complete without coffee, and Yon Maru is no exception. They have a number of specialty coffees, available either hot for the cold winter days or cold for the humid Kagoshima summers. Be sure to try the honey toast, which has been spotlighted on local radio stations.
Should you need a place to stay for the night, Yon Maru is attached to a small, three-room inn called Kominka (Japanese for old private house). Opened in December 2012, Kominka provides an experience of rural Japanese lifestyle that simply cannot be matched. Students frequently stop by on trips, learning about farming, going on boat tours and fishing trips within Tarumizu. With an old-fashioned bath, you get the chance to experience what life must have been like in the bygone days of Japan by chopping wood to boil the water for your bath. And you get to keep a souvenir of your time by learning how to make your own chopsticks or kabin (Japanese flower holders).
There are a number of pricing plans available depending on what sort of experience you want. For just a simple room without breakfast, the cost is ¥3500 and it goes up if you’d like the full experience. And if you don’t have a car, they can also provide you with car rental services, with either hourly or daily rates.
The staff is composed only of Japanese speakers, so you may want to brush up on your language skills or go with someone who can speak the language.