It seems like it never ends, but I was able to find another hidden treasure in Katashina, namely the restaurant Setsugekka. The restaurant is located on the Omatsu-Kaidou Street that I cycle up and down every day. However, I never spotted this secret place.
Chi-bo san, who is part of Katashina’s congress and also the head of the women’s mikoshi (summer festival – click on thumbnail to read more!), is the owner of this restaurant. Setsugekka is a place where this hard-working lady finds time to follow her hobbies of eating, drinking and being around people.
‘Setsugekka’ means the snow, the moon and the flowers in Japanese – wonderful natural features that you can fully enjoy in Katashina. The interior has an elegant Japanese style with separate rooms. Each of these rooms has a different name: snow, moon, flower and wind. It is a traditional Japanese restaurant, but combined with a spark of Chi-bo san’s vivid character. As I took of my shoes off at the entrance I already heard the lively and inviting Jazz tunes of Chi-bo san’s stereo in my ears. Chi-bo san, in her Kimono, led Aya & me to our own room.
The table was set and had a specific part in the middle. Chi-bo san smoothly carried a hot pot of coal into the room and swung it onto the table. This is where she cooked the delicious chicken and vegetable skewers in front of our eyes.
She serves traditional Japanese dishes as well as some more modern flavours, such as our fresh summer salad and tomato stew. Overall, Chi-bo san handpicks all her ingredients – choosing only the best in her opinion, for example sea salt from Okinawa, chicken from ‘Date’, Soy sauce from the Mie prefecture and locally grown vegetables from Katashina. Chi-bo san aims to recreate the 4 seasons of Katashina with her food. Therefore, the menu is continuously adjusted to the seasons, the weather and to the local harvests.
Chi-bo san wants to be able to fully enjoy this hobby of hers – spoiling and socializing with her customers in a relaxed atmosphere. Therefore, she only opens the restaurant for reservations. Chi-bo san explains to us that she wants Setsugekka to be a place where people forget about time. It was the Jazz music in our ears, the beautiful Japanese design, the diverse flavours selected from all over Japan that made us lose track of time and location – it felt like we were not in Katashina village anymore.
Call or Fax her around 2 days before you want to come for a mouthwatering lunch or dinner. Thumbs up from us – a very friendly host, delicious dishes and a timeless atmosphere to experience!
Click on the top right corner ‘Map&Location’ to find Setsugekka