CONTRIBUTED BY KELLYERACE
I’m back on caffeine. Well, I’ve been back on caffeine, but now I am actively searching it out and dragging along my husband and baby Gabe in pursuit of my addiction. About two weeks ago we went to a place called “Good Company”, a shop where they roast the beans up for you fresh while you wait. (More on that next week.)
Not a couple days later, I heard from a friend about Hiro Coffee Farm, a place way up in the northeastern countryside where this guy, Hiro, lives with his family and grows beans the way he learned to on his uncle’s farm in Hawaii. He’s got a little coffee shop there and chickens and everything. When my friend told me that Hiro actually gave him a coffee plant, that was it. We were there.
It took a couple of hours to get up to his farm, driving on the expressway, through the mountains and up the coast. Gabe was cool and snoozing in the back. We passed scenery like this:
And this: (my artsy shot)
Actually, all that was on the way back (we drove all the way north, and back down the west of the island), so I’m kind of lying. But, still, it was part of the trip. Finally we got to Hiro’s.
We poked around for a bit. Hiro’s consisted of a couple little open air shacks and a picnic table or two. Still, it somehow managed to be a magical, otherworldly place. Maybe it was the wind chimes. Or maybe it was something in the coffee. Anyway, peace and tranquility just kind of melted over me there. And my husband too. It’s one of the few places he wasn’t ready to bolt out of after emptying his glass. So they must be doing something right. Here’s Hiro:
Here’s his coffee. (Note how you get a whole pot! There’s a potwarmer by each table so your coffee stays hot. Love that.) He has 1000 trees on his farm, which has been there for about 20 years. He roasts it right there too, so the whole place smelled umm ummm good.
Here’s the inside of one of the little coffee shanties. Check out the floor covered in coffee beans. Paradise….
One of the chickens that was strutting around.
And a random colorful shot:
After we drank our coffee, I wandered around and took pictures, watched Hiro’s son at the roasting machine, and wrote a little something in the guestbook. Meanwhile, my man and my babes stretched out under the shade of a tree and caught a cool breeze. This is Hiro’s daughter and granddaughter. They were so sweet with Gabe and let him join in on their game of ball.
Going places like this fills me with admiration for all those people out there who, out of little more than sheer creativity, can create these special little pockets of beauty that make the world just a little bit better. Maybe that’s a cheesy sentiment, but (in addition to coffee), I like cheese. And Hiro and his family blessed our family with their serene little oasis and gave us a sweet Sunday adventure.
They don’t serve food & there isn’t much in the way of restaurants on that side of the island, so I’d recommend bringing snacks/going on a full belly. They do sell freshly roasted coffee grounds though!
HOURS CLOSED Wednesdays except national holidays
CONTACT: 098-043-2126 / firstname.lastname@example.org
DIRECTIONS: **Hiro’s is way north. Practically Okuma north, but the other side of the island. Bring your Okinawa Explorer & your yellow phone book. The map is on page 118 of the 2007 edition. GPS coordinates from www.waymarking.com: N 26° 39.812 E 128° 14.927 52R E 425245 N 2949388.)
Go north on the expressway until it ends in Nago. Continue north on 58. You’ll pass through Nago. Turn east onto Rte 9. It goes over the mountains to the east side of the island and becomes 331. At the end of the road make a right onto Rte 70 (Higashi Village). I don’t know how many miles it is, sorry, but when the road veers left and you see a Takae Forest Ranger sign (you’re in the northern training area now — past Takae elementary school and before Arakawa Dam) look for the pink sign that says Hiro Coffee Farm. It’s on the right side of the road.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Please read through the comments below to see RedBear1961’s comments for very precise directions getting to and from Hiro’s. Thanks Jeff!
Hiro’s is open, but they lost most of their trees last typhoon. They currently sell and serve imported coffee until they can sustain again. Still a neat place though.
Hello! Just to let you know that Hiro’s Coffee Farm is open again. I went there earlier in the year.
Hiro always genuinly greeted people with a smile on his face and hospitality. He was personal. He would often bring his photo albums of years past and go through them with us…To our suprise we were in the book. My family use to visit everytime we went to Okuma. (98-05, and 05-10, 2-5 yr tours) I often said he had the charectoristics of Jesus Christ… kind, genuine, compassionate towards people. He will be missed. I recall the senery changed and he rebuilt every year there was a bad typhoon. I guess there is no one there to rebuild or run the place anymore. Hopefully they can re-open someday. I hope to return too, maybe we can assemble and help rebuild the place…TACO Dan
Hiro’s is still closed. Also, when you take 9 to 331 to 70, take a LEFT and head north on 70.
Ted – my husband said that the Marines up at JWTC helped Hiro’s get back up and running after the typhoon and should be open. I hope it is! Not sure if this is helpful but there is a good chance that they’re open. Happy holidays!
Does anyone know if Hiro’s might have reopened? My wife and I are in Okinawa prefecture for a few days, and would consider making the trip up if we knew it were open again.
Just took a drive up here yesterday and it looks like the Coffee Farm will be closed for the foreseeable future due to extensive damage caused by the last typhoon. Quite disappointing
My family made the trip up to Hiro’s today, but they were closed. Hiro’s is only open on weekend’s and Japanese holidays.
Hiro’s is great, the article above is great too, but there is one slight correction to the route; turn RIGHT on Route 70 to Higashi Village, not left.
I love this trip so much, I wrote up the following to share with my friends:
Directions to Hiro’s Coffee Farm:
HIRO’S IS CLOSED ON WEDNESDAYS AND FRIDAYS!!!
1. Plan this as an ALL DAY TRIP (You’ll thank me later, it’s a 2-hour drive both ways).
2. Print these directions
3. Pack snacks and a picnic lunch (water too), and leave with a full tank of gas (GUYS: seize the opportunity to dump some fuel injector cleaner in the gas tank too)
4. Hiro’s is WAAAAAAAY up North. Bring your “Okinawa Explorer” Book & a map. For those of you with a GPS: N 26o 39.812 E 128o 14.927, or E425245 N2949388
5. BRING SOMETHING THAT TAKES PICTURES (FULLY CHARGED BATTERY)
6. Get ¥10,000 (About $133.00) HIRO’S DOES NOT TAKE DOLLARS OR PLASTIC!
7. Get on the Okinawa Expressway and head NORTH to Nago, go all the way until the Expressway ends (Cost is ¥650)
8. You will drive all the way through Nago, after leaving town, stay on 58 until you get to Route 9. Turn East (RIGHT) on to Route 9 (turning left sends you into the ocean).
9. Route 9 becomes Route 331. When Route 331 ends (at the base of a cliff), the “T” intersection is Route 70. Turn RIGHT and heads towards Higachi Village. You’ll be on this road for a bit.
10. Route 70 heads towards the beach, and there is another “T” intersection with a stop light. Turn LEFT (when the light turns green…), this is still Route 70.
11. Drive past the place on the right that has a big brown sign with a white coffe cup and says “PARKING”; this is NOT Hiro’s.
12. Start looking for signs that talk about “Takae”. Just past Takae Elementary school, the road will make a sharp LEFT. You’ll see a small grey concrete convenience store as the road turns left. Look on the RIGHT side of the road for the PINK sign that says “HIRO COFFEE FARM”.
13. They want you to sit, relax, and have some coffee. The kids can watch the chickens and play. Relax, enjoy the sights and smells.
14. Buy your coffee to take home. They have two styles; whole bean & ground. They have two flavors; MEDIUM & STRONG.
COMING BACK TO KADENA:
1. Leave Hiro’s parking lot and turn LEFT.
2. Back on 70 where you turned right at the beach/stop light, you’ll see that the sign says “Route 331” to “Ogimi”. Turn RIGHT.
3. Keep going until you see the sign that says “Route 9” to “Miyagi”. Turn LEFT and cross over the little inlet. Right after crossing, the road will head to the right.
4. Keep going on 9 until you see the signs for “Route 58” to “Nago”, then turn LEFT.
5. Now, as you are going along and are about to leave Nago, you’ll see a big A&W Root Beer place that also has a Baskin-Robbins sign on the front. IF the kids have been good, stop there (“Potty Break”…). Keep going in the RIGHT lane to the next stoplight and turn RIGHT. There’s a Blue Seal ice cream place if you prefer, BUT, if you follow the back street to the left of Blue Seal, you can come up on the backside of the A&W, and there’s a free Wi-Fi you can pick up in their parking lot.
6. Take the same back street to the LEFT, go all the way down to the Blue Seal again, turn LEFT, and you’re at the stop light. Turn RIGHT, and you’re back on Route 58.
7. Stay in the RIGHT LANE, because the road will make a “V” up ahead. To the left is Route 58, but it will probably triple your drive time back. Spend the ¥650 for the Expressway.
8. Exit the Expressway at Exit 4. After paying your ¥650, go to the light and turn LEFT. Takes you up to Gate 2 Street.
9. Last, make plans to go back…
I haven’t heard of Hiro’s till I came across your blog. Great find! I only get to go home to Okinawa every few years and was just there last November. Wish I knew about it earlier. Thanks for posting this. My g’ma lives up in Nago so I’ll definitely hit this place up the next time I’m there!
Just got back from Hiro’s……. it was amazing. Fresh breeze and nothing but serenity and a couple of chickens trying to steal our cookies. I will deeply miss these outings when our tour comes to an end!! 🙁
Hiro was my hero!
What heartbreaking news?!
May G-d Bless the Hiro family!
I went to Hiro’s today and learned some sad news. Hiro passed away on Dec 31 after having been in the hospital for 2 weeks. He had been having heart problems and they got worse once winter came around. His family is doing well and his son and daughter are going to continue working the farm and running the cafe. Hiro was a friend to anyone who made the trip out there and he will be greatly missed.
My husband and I were on Okinawa in November and tried to find Hiro’s without any luck. We tried to use Tom M’s directions a couple of posts ago, but obviously we missed something. We have some friends who live there and are going to try to find the farm and will take us there when we return in a couple of years. Can’t wait as I was really looking forward to the coffee. We did have a fun drive on the narrow road in the mountains. Well worth the try.
I am enjoying a freshly ground cup of Hiro’s coffe right now in Las Vegas Nevada thanks to my sister Jen. She lives on the island and sent me some of Hiro’s whole beans for Christmas. She and my nephew and neices loved visiting Hiro’s Coffee Farm!The coffee tastes great and it makes me feel a bit closer to my sister for the holidays.
We go up to Hiro’s about every two weeks. We love his coffee and his family is very nice to hang out and chat with (chatting is more of gesturing and guessing what the other is saying). We bring our dog with us and they are VERY happy to see her every time. So, if you like exploring with your pet, this is a pet friendly spot to sit and take a break.
Been to Hiro’s many times as we are coffee nuts in our house. It should be either marker 35.5 or 35.6 on highway 70. If you want to make a scenic ride to hiro’s from Okuma, Leave Okuma, go left on 58 until you hit highway #2. make a right on #2 and it takes you up and over the mountains on a jungle canopy covered road. It is a good road and eventually ends on highway 70. Make a right on 70 and look for Hiro’s at mile 35.5 on the left. To get back to okuma, leave Hiro’s and make a left continuing down highway 70 and make a left at the Blue signs for Ogimi ( i forgot the road #) but it will bring you right back to highway 58 not too far below Okuma.
I can’t wait to try it! And brilliant to add GPS coordinates.
This is how I felt about every place I went and every person I met on Okinawa. I didn’t get to Hiro’s. I’m adding it to my list for next time. Thank you for this lovely post!
Awesome post about a place that I’m definitely going to visit before we leave!!
what a lovely little nook….so want to go there! thanks for sharing!
Mmmm, I love coffee too and this sounds like some place I should go! You were in my brain this morning, weren’t you?!
Wow.That sounds so awesome! I can’t wait to go exploring like that. Thanks for the info! 🙂
cool post, thanks