Upcoming Events

Satoani Yasato Anime Music Festival

When: August 20
Where: Asahi Satoyama Gakko, Ishioka (630 Shibauchi, Ishioka)
Tickets

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This anime music festival will be held from morning to evening in the Yasato area of Ishioka. There will be performances from singers and DJs throughout the day, including locally born Takada Kozue, best known for her song ‘Himitsu Kichi’, which was used as one of the ending themes of the popular mecha anime Eureka Seven. There will also be changing rooms for cosplay and local food and drink available in the cafeteria.

Artists
Takada Kozue
Kobayashi Mika
yucat
Kobayashi Koichi
DJ THE LASTTRAK
DJ Warabi
junkMA
and more!

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IbarakEATS!

Yasato de Toreta Restaurant

Yasato de Toreta Restaurant, located within the boundaries of the Flower Park in Ishioka City, was opened as part of an initiative by the Ishioka local government to revitalize and promote produce grown in the region. The name literally means “taken from Yasato”, Yasato being the name of the region of Ishioka (previously a separate town before merging with Ishioka in 2005) where the restaurant is currently situated. This name comes from the fact that, to the highest extent possible, the ingredients used in the restaurant are grown locally in Ishioka.

Yasato de Toreta RestaurantWhile being maintained by Ishioka, the restaurant is managed and run by Kiuchi Brewery. Although Kiuchi Brewery is well-known for their Nest Beer and umeshu (plum wine), it has also been very successful in the restaurant business as well, running two restaurants in Mito (True Brew in Mito Station and Nakaya, a soba restaurant in Keisei Department store), and one restaurant in Naka (Also a Nakaya). Kiuchi also was behind the “seasonal restaurant” that was set up temporarily at Uwaoka Elementary School in Daigo back in 2012.

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The interior of the restaurant is clean and has a modern feeling in its design. The warmth of the dark wood of the walls and ceiling offer balance to the gray cement flooring. Each table and set of chairs is different, being designed and crafted by a local artisan. One of the artisans even created a wooden crocodile which is on display just below the servers’ window.

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As mentioned before, the head chef, Mr. Mogi, tries his best to use only ingredients grown in Ishioka. The lunch menu consists of four main dishes: pasta, pork, fish, and beef. Each main dish comes as a course and includes an appetizer salad, choice of bread or rice, a dessert, and coffee or tea. The same menu, minus the pasta, is offered during dinner. As different vegetables go in and out of season, Mr. Mogi recreates the dishes every so often with what is available at that time. This means that no matter how many times you visit, chances are you will never experience the same exact plate twice.

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During our visit, I enjoyed the pork course with rice. It came with a delicious 20-ingredient salad for an appetizer (the salad often changes, and all the ingredients used that day are written on a blackboard inside), sautéed pork with steamed vegetables as the main dish, and a cream cheese mousse with Asian pear gelatin and fruit for dessert. We were also treated to a three-squash soup, complements of the chef. The portions seemed a little small at first, but after eating the entire course it was definitely more than enough to fill you up. If you’re looking for a delicious meal for a reasonable price, I would definitely recommend Yasato de Toreta.

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To make your trip to Yasato de Toreta even more worthwhile you can visit the farmer’s market that is located adjacent to the restaurant. Inside you will find the same tasty fruits and vegetables used in the restaurant, and plenty more (for a very reasonable price)! Mr. Mogi also writes recipes, which you can find in the market, so you can try your hand at making simple and delicious meals at home as well.

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If you have a day to spare, why not visit the Flower Park, have a wonderful lunch at Yasato de Toreta, and do a little shopping for some tasty and fresh fruits and vegetables? You definitely won’t regret it!

Contact Info
Address:
200 Shimoaoyagi, Ishioka, 315-0153 (Map)
(Located within the parking lot of the Flower Park)
Hours:
11:00AM – 5:00PM Tues – Friday (L.O. 4:30PM)
11:00AM – 8:00PM Weekends and Holidays (L.O. 7:30PM)
Farmer’s Market: 9:00AM – 6:00PM
(Both restaurant and market are closed on Mondays. If Monday is a holiday, they will be open, and then closed the following Tuesday)
URL:
http://yasato.com/ (Japanese only)

One Day in Ibaraki

Nashi-gari (Asian Pear Picking) in Ishioka

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Ishioka City has a flourishing agricultural industry, and is particularly famous for its fruit orchards. Like many orchards in Japan, Adachi Orchard in the Yasato area of Ishioka is family run. Mr. Adachi graciously allowed us to enter his orchards and pick a few Asian pears, which he sliced up for us to eat on the spot. The trees are inside a netted area to keep bugs away. A wire roof stretches over them, forcing them to grow outward rather than upward, making it easier to harvest the fruit. In a second orchard with a higher roof, however, Mr. Adachi has planted a number of trees in rows and is allowing them to grow upward. He keeps adding rows of trees on the outside as the inner rows grow. He told us that he does not know any other growers who are using this technique.

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According to Mr. Adachi, the Asian pear trees were planted by his parents, who used to use the land to grow tobacco. In fact, Yasato is one of Ibaraki’s tobacco-growing areas.

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Several types of Asian pear are grown at Adachi Orchard, including the popular Housui and Kousui varieties. Kousui pears ripen earlier and can be harvested from mid to late August. They are softer, juicier, and sweeter than many other varieties, but do not last for as long so need to eaten soon after harvesting. Housui pears are also sweet, but have a tartness that balances the flavour, giving them their distinct rich taste. They are slightly larger than Kousui pears, and while also very juicy, they last longer. Some of the trees in Adachi Orchard are spliced with cuttings from other trees, allowing more than one variety to grow on a single tree.

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I was surprised by how easy it was to pick the pears from the tree – all you had to do was twist the fruit slightly and tilt it upward, and it would break away from the branch.

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Adachi Orchard sells its fruit directly. They sort the fruit by weight using a machine.
If you are interested in fruit picking in the Yasato area, contact the Yasato Kankō Kajuen Kumiai (0299-43-1111).