On Iki Island, it seems easy to find cozy local cafes and restaurants specialized in complete local menus and I would say these are your best bet for having lunch and dinner!
Where to Eat & Shop
Aka Tonbo Cafe: When I drove to Takenotsuji Observatory, I noticed a lovely roadside signboard of Aka Tonbo Cafe and had lunch there. The owner chef cooked everything smoothly by himself. It was lunchtime and was packed full of locals who sat at three or four tables and counters. I came back to this cafe to have a coffee after visiting Takenotsuji Observatory. The coffee was also expertly brewed by the master. They’ve got great coffee and their cosy setting is a quiet spot to spend an afternoon.Agri Plaza Sikisaikan: If you find yourself looking for fresh produce to take home, you will find various kinds to choose from at Agri Plaza Shikisaikan. The store sells vegetables from local farmers and fresh fish from around the island. You can enjoy farm-to-table products as well as getting a glimpse of local life here on Iki Island.
I couldn’t resist buying a bottle of fresh sea urchin and dried seaweeds. At Tatsunoshima Island, the caretaker who used to work as a fisherman, said the volume of seaweed catch has been decreasing over the last 7 or 8 years, so I bought some seaweed products, which were not cheap, in order to enjoy local freshness.
Katsumoto Port Area
I was exploring the city of Katsumoto Port at the end of Prefecture Road 382 when I took a Tatsunoshima Island tour boat.
Katsumoto Port prospered from whaling and one of richest families at that time lived here. We could see the glorious past still now. One of the examples is Shomogu Temple. It is said to have been built in the early Nara era in the 8th century. The main building was rebuilt in the middle of the 18th century by the whaling family. The main gate was constructed in the 16th century and through exposure to the sea breeze the wood grain appeared to tell the long history.Near the main street, you can enjoy the Farmer’s market from around 8:00 am to buy local fresh products. The street is lined with rows of old houses which helps to create a sense of nostalgia.
If you wander here, you’ll discover more of the real Iki Island by just getting lost in a neighborhood. On a sunny day, there’s nothing more delightful than a stroll around the streets of the Katsumoto area.
Shimojo Kudamono: I bought some fresh fruit for snacks and jams at Shimojo Kudamono Shop. The shop has become a major tourist spot after producing fresh fruit jam. This would be one of example of revitalizing the countryside in Japan.Mochajava Cafe: I had an Iki Beef Hamburger at Mochajava Cafe. They are known for their Iki beef burgers. From the 12th to 14th century, oxen appeared in a history book for ox carriages. Farming families took good care of oxen for cultivating fields at that time. Recently, cows and oxen were raised with extra care to sell to breeders in Kobe or Matsuzaka which are Japanese beef branded areas. Locals started to raise Iki original beef and it has become very popular. I saw some cattle near Makizaki Park grazing on mineral-rich grass in fields and sheds next to a private house.