Until this year I had never heard of Ohnan Town and even now when I mention the name to local Japanese people I’m often met with blank looks or a shake of the head to say they’ve never heard of it. It’s true; it’s a very small place, but I guarantee that once you’ve been there you won’t forget it. It’s the kind of place you will want to return to again and again. Ohnan is, in one word: charming. It personifies the concept of “omotenashi” or Japanese hospitality, and one of the best places to experience this is Gohongi Cafe.
The three-year old cafe is owned by a husband and wife team whose house IS the actual cafe. By this, I mean that you can sit in their tatami dining room to have a drink and/or pizza. The place actually began when the husband decided to create a garden for his wife on the side of the hill at the back of their house. Planted with flowers that are particularly beautiful in spring, passing visitors to the area soon stopped to look. The couple started serving tea and people suggested they open a cafe to serve lunch. In the meantime, the husband had also built a hearth to bake pizza for his grandchildren and so Gohongi Cafe was born.
Although cake and coffee is served there, it’s really the pizza that the place is famous for. Four toppings are available: salad, Weiner (hotdog sausage), shrimp and bacon, and tuna, shrimp and mayonnaise and at a bargain price of just 1000 yen, they’re the perfect size for two people to share. If you’re a fan of Totoro, the character from Hayao Miyazaki’s famous anime, ‘My Neighbour Totoro,’ then you’re not alone. The husband loves the character so much that you’ll find various decorations scattered throughout the cafe, house and in the surrounding gardens.
The place is considered to be a part of underground culture in the area and is therefore a bit of a secret spot known only by locals. Thus, a visit means you really have experienced the heart of Ohnan. The cafe is open weekends and holidays from 10am until 5pm and they also have a Facebook page and blog that are updated regularly. Any changes to their regular opening opens can be found there.
Although little English is spoken by the couple, their kindness and hospitality will ensure you are always welcome and they will do their best to answer any questions you may have too.
For a lazy lunch or just a place to sit and recharge with a coffee on the weekend, Gohongi Cafe is the place to go.
Weekends and holidays from 10am until 5pm
Ohnan town is located in Shimane Prefecture which can be found about an hour’s drive north of Hiroshima. Buses are available from both Hiroshima Station and Hiroshima Bus Centre, but if you have a car you won’t be at the mercy of public transport which is, of course, much more infrequent than in bigger towns and cities.
Buses leave from the Shinkansen side of Hiroshima station and Hiroshima Bus Centre. For Ohnan, you get on the bus toward Hamada and get off at Mizuho IC. From there you can catch a local bus to Ohnan’s tourism hub Craft-kan for more information. For detailed transportation information, please contact Ohnan Town at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hiroshima Shinkansen Entrance (2010 yen)
Hiroshima Bus Centre (1930 yen)
Ohnan Town Bus (200 yen)
Craft-kan closed on Tues.
Photo credit to Gohongi Cafe Photo Collection.