About 300 meters from Bitchu Kokubunji is a fruit and vegetable stall, a lunchtime buffet restaurant and a local products shop. These types of multi-functional food and shopping experiences are everywhere in Japan. It might seem like a strange place to recommend to a tourist visiting Soja City for a short time. But I think that if you can visit you will be able to see how local people live, where they shop, what they buy and if you are around during the lunchtime, you can get a taste of the local food of Soja City.
Some of the products you can buy to take home are organically grown Japanese tea and coffee. There is also a great selection of local sake, wine and beer. Local honey, Japanese rice crackers, local sweets, traditional bean style cakes plus whatever is in season can be bought here. If you have just arrived from one of the bigger cities like Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka you will notice that the price of fruit and vegetables has dramatically dropped. In fact, Okayama is one the best fruit and vegetable growing regions in Japan.
Yamato no Ichi just added an Italian bistro style café last month, which offers light food for the breakfast and afternoon time when the lunchtime service is over. The final bonus to visiting this shop and restaurant is the owner’s son is the kindest man you will ever meet. After living in Yokohama for most of his adult life working for Japan Nike, he returned to Soja City to help his family with their family business.
You can get to Yamate no Ichi easily by car or if you are doing the Kibi Bike Trail you can stop-over, park your bikes and take a tea break. It is open every day from 9 in the morning until about 6 in the evening. If you are located close to Soja City and have not visited this place why not come and visit. You will be sure to find something you need.