CONTRIBUTED BY ANTHONY CAMINA
Off the beaten path under the mystical shadow of Mount Yadake lies a hidden treasure known as “Yachimun” Café in Motobu. The café is an icon in mainland tourist circles as it has been made famous by its various shisa which are found abundantly throughout the grounds.
The first thing one will notice upon arriving at the café is the rustic beauty of the place. Blooming vines grow up stone walls and terracotta tiles. Fierce and funny lion dogs sit perched atop the tiled roof. If you are paying attention, you can even find a hidden face or two intentionally blended into the masonry. The entire look of the cafe is reminiscent of a storybook cottage.
The interior of Yachimun is as visually stimulating as the outside. Nice large tables made from aged slabs of varnished teak add to the café’s ambiance. There are also varieties of pottery for sale which range from expensive shisa masterworks to the unique functional dishware used in the café itself. In fact, the name Yachimun is the word for pottery in the traditional Okinawan dialect. The café sells styles of shisa I have yet to see anywhere else on the island.
The specialty of the house is the sweet and savory crepes which are prominently displayed on the menu. My wife and I had the crepes with hirailemon/shisquasa lime juice and hot coffee. The savory crepes come with a dipping sauce and both dishes were very tasty. The shisquasa juice was very fresh, flavorful and probably the best I have had on island. The hot coffee was served in a handmade pottery cup with bamboo stir. It was a nice touch and the drink itself was a nice dark roast which went well with the orange pound cake we had as dessert.
I would say that the food was excellent but the menu may not be what someone would be looking for if they wanted a hearty type meal. Most of the fare is light and serves as something to do as you sip, snack, and enjoy the enchanting surroundings.
The prices are also very reasonable. Two crepe plates, lime juice drink, coffee, and cake totaled 1800 yen. The menu is in katakana but most items have pictures. The owners are extremely friendly and are very happy to provide any help when ordering.
After a tasty lunch/snack you are welcome to enjoy the garden path adjacent to the café. I highly recommend taking a camera with you as the trail is thoughtfully decorated with beautiful flowers, hidden shisa, and picture-worthy vantage points.
Directions: From the 10 expressway exit turn north on Hwy 58 into Nago. Turn left onto the 84 towards and past Pineapple Park. After Pineapple Park look for the 123/Esso station on the right hand side (this is a landmark, do not turn on this road.) After you see the 123 intersection look for Izumi elementary school on the left. There is a big mikan orange in a park in front of the school. You will turn left at the road between the elementary school and creek bed. This road is narrow but well paved. Go straight down this road, it will sort of fork off twice, just do not turn off the road but go straight toward the mountains. There are dark brown wooden signs with white katakana lettering pointing the way telling you how many meters you are away from the café. Follow the signs until you get to the large parking lot on the left. It is well marked with signs. Park there and walk across the street to the café.
Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Yachimun is CLOSED on Monday and Tuesday.
Payment: Yen only
Please note: The map below does not take you directly to the restaurant, but rather to the elementary school listed in the directions above. If you have GPS coordinates for this restaurant, please share them in the comments.