Japan's Miffy Cafe Kamaishi is found in Kamaishi City, Iwate Prefecture. This official cafe was created with the cooperation of author Dick Bruna and the Dutch Embassy on the theme of the Dutch-born rabbit character Miffy.
Miffy cafes are often held for a limited time in Japan, but the only official permanent official Miffy Cafe in Japan is here. We visited the Miffy Cafe and enjoyed the many Miffy-style dishes and limited-edition items - let's have a look at them here!
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Why Japan's Miffy Cafe was made in Kamaishi City, Iwate Prefecture
Kamaishi City is a city of 35,000 located on the coast of Iwate Prefecture. In the city that once flourished in the iron and steel industry, the remnants of iron ore mining and blast furnaces remaining in the city were registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2015 as a component of the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining.
In addition, it is one of the venues for the Rugby World Cup 2019 Japan Competition, and you can see rugby flags and posters throughout the city (as of March 2019).
Visiting Miffy Cafe!
The Miffy Cafe is about a 15-minute walk from Kamaishi Station. Along the way you are bound to see several Miffy. I first stopped by the tourist information center in front of Kamaishi Station to get information and a map about Miffy Street before heading to the cafe.
There are 18 such plaques showing the distance to the Miffy Cafe along the 1.5 km Miffy Street. I was told that all of them have different images. And that made me want to look for all of them!
While admiring the manhole with the Miffy design I noticed a building with colorful windows to the right. I had arrived at the Miffy Cafe Kamaishi!
Let’s go in and find out why the Miffy Cafe was made in Kamaishi. Apparently it came about as a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred in 2011. In response to a call from a Japanese reporter who had a close relationship with Miffy's creator Dick Bruna, a monochrome illustration of Miffy with two teardrops and a handwritten message by Mr. Bruna were donated to the children of the disaster by Mercis bv, the company that manages Mr. Bruna's copyright.
After that, from the wishes of people in the afflicted area that “it would be nice if the disaster area that lost its color could have its color restored so that Miffy could again become a colorful figure,” the idea for a Miffy cafe in Kamaishi City, one of the afflicted areas, came about and with the consent of Mr. Bruna, who lives in the Netherlands, the Miffy Cafe was created in 2015.
Let’s go in and look around!
Inside the cafe, Miffy is everywhere!
Stepping into the shop I saw shelves lined with picture books. I was overly joyed to find books that I read when I was little. The room was filled with stuffed animals on the shelves, illustrations on the walls, and Miffy of all sizes.
The interior is done in orange, yellow, green and blue Miffy colors, giving it the look of a picture book world in which Miffy would appear.
Cute and delicious! Picture book themes also on plates
It is easy to become distracted by all the cute objects here, so I decided to first sit down and enjoy something to eat.
The menu offers about 40 items ranging from drinks, meals, and desserts and many of these are cute visual representations of Miffy! Let’s begin by introducing the most popular item on the menu, the Holland Plate (1,380 yen including tax *comes with corn soup).
This plate is what a home-cooked meal in Dick Bruna’s Netherlands might look like. The centerpiece is a large, meatball often eaten in the Netherlands called Gehaktballen. The white rice is in the shape of a rabbit and looks just like Miffy! Just seeing the flower-shaped egg and flag of the Netherlands heightened my anticipation! It looked too cute to eat!
The chef here is Mr. Nobuyuki Owada who operates a Western-style restaurant in Kamaishi City which is noted for its hamburg steak. The Gehaktballen is similar to a hamburg steak and very tender. Cutting into it the juices ooze out. And the portion is quite large, too, so most satisfying.
The corn soup that comes with it is deliciously creamy. And while you are eating the soup an image of Miffy appears at the bottom of the cup! It was fun seeing the picture emerge as I ate the soup.
Initially I wondered if the portion was a bit small, but with the Neapolitan spaghetti it turned out to be just right. I enjoyed eating this dish which rather reminded me of being a “children’s plate” for adults.
Of course there is also a menu for children. Slowly opening the Miffy-shaped lunch box reveals a hamburger steak, Neapolitan spaghetti, and rice in the shape of Miffy that is almost too cute to eat. This lunch plate is certain leave children with wonderful memories.
After the meal I ordered a cafe latte with lots of foam milk (regular size 350 yen, large size 400 yen, tax included in both prices). Cocoa powder is used to draw Miffy. This is a dessert you really should try.
This popular parfait uses seasonal fruit, so it varies according to the season. For a limited period until March it is a strawberry parfait (930 yen including tax *prices vary according to the season) Granita, which is similar to red shaved ice, is hidden beneath the fresh strawberries, a truly authentic patissier idea. Further down in the glass the refreshing orange-flavored jelly and a slightly sweet whipped cream add to the exquisite taste. Miffy-shaped white chocolate and strawberry ice cream further add to the various enjoyable flavors.
The dessert plate is a luxurious dish of three different sweets which vary from time to time. It depicts Miffy on a cloud ship in a dream world. This is a sweet that lets you enjoy the picture book world of Miffy.
All of the items on the menu are carefully created by Chef Owada who operates a Western-style restaurant and have authentic tastes. "Miffy is the central character in the cafe, but because there are many customers coming from afar, I want to offer dishes that will be satisfying," said Mr. Owada.
Each of the delicious items on the menu with their cute Miffy motifs satisfy both the stomach and the heart! There are many dishes on the menu that both adults and children alike will enjoy.
Exclusive Miffy souvenirs from Japan!
Lots of Miffy merchandise are offered for sale in the shop. Many are goods that can only be bought here, so be sure to check them out.
These two Miffy toys holding rugby balls, both of which I decided to buy, are shop original items that were made to commemorate the World Rugby Cup. This is a souvenir from the rugby town of Kamaishi that is certain to please
The same symbol as the “x” used for Miffy’s mouth is also on the bottom of the mug cup. This is a humorous item that makes it appear that you have Miffy’s mouth when you drink from the cup. It’s an item that both children and adults would enjoy.
More than just food and goods: Here's another way to enjoy Miffy Cafe!
After you have had a meal and shopped, try to find the hidden Miffy. There are silhouettes of Miffy throughout the store.
Also in the store precious items are displayed. This frisky Miffy with the sun visor is a work by Makoto Ozu, a cross-stitch designer.
In fact, this is one of 60 works exhibited in the "Miffy Art Parade", a charity project where creators active around the world used paint and decoration to create one-of-a-kind Miffys. It is part of the collection of Chef Owada who also owns the building and is a globally important work of art.
Miffy in a bright, yellow dress. When the store opened, by chance a large Miffy in a yellow dress greeted customers entering the store, so he felt it his destiny to buy it.
According to Mr. Owada, many of the visitors are women in their late twenties to forties and families; visitors come not only from within the prefecture, but from all over Japan and from foreign countries as well. Many of the guests who grew up reading Miffy picture books and now show the same Miffy books to their own children. No doubt someday these children when they have grown up and have families of their own will want to again visit here.
Wouldn’t you like to visit Miffy Cafe Kamaishi and spend some time in this place that is like a dream?
Miffy Cafe Kamaishiミッフィーカフェかまいし
- Address 1-1-10 Omachi, Kamaishi City, Iwate Prefecture
Open: weekdays 11:00 a.m. ~ 4:00 p.m. (L.O. 5:45 p.m.); Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays 11:00 a.m. ~ 5:00 p.m. (L.O. 4:45 p.m.)
Closed: 3rd Thursday of the month
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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