Japanese sweets café with art gallery in Kagoshima offers organic vegetable menu

PUBLISHED Dec 23, 2021

Inside the Kamou Charou Zenzai – Maruya Gardens branch

Kamou Charou Zenzai, a Japanese sweets café with an art gallery, opened on the seventh floor of Maruya Gardens on December 17.

This is the second store of the café in Kamou, Aira City, with a floor space of 156.2 square meters. It has 32 seats, including 13 tables. The menu features a wide variety of organic produce, including the signature Zenzai (660 yen), a sweet hot soup made with organically grown azuki beans from Hokkaido; Maruya no Zenzai Parfait (880 yen); Vegetable Soy Milk Porridge (990 yen) with organic vegetables grown in Kamou; and Vegan Veggie Curry (1,200 yen).

After working as a designer in Osaka, Katsunori Hamachi, the owner, and his wife moved to Eicho, now part of Minami-Kyushu City. He became a full-time organic farmer as he thought that “farming is also an art and a form of expression.” Although he left farming for health reasons, he wanted to continue working with organic products, renovating a 150-year-old former samurai residence and opening his first café, Kamou Charou Zenzai, in 2006.

The new branch houses the Marginal Gallery, an art exhibition space. Hamachi, who is a sketch artist himself, serves as the coordinator. The gallery will hold monthly exhibitions by artists from inside and outside the prefecture. Currently, as the opening exhibition, the works of Miyabi Katayama, a printmaker and glass artist, are on display until January 9. Upcoming exhibitions will feature Studio Pekepeke (January 14 to February 6) and Rina Ohito (February 11 to March 6). Hamachi said, “I want to make this a place where we can discover young artists in the prefecture.”

In contrast to the first café in Aira City, which utilized an old traditional house, the new café has a modern atmosphere that provides a “cozy feeling.” Hamachi added: “It overlooks the rooftop garden and is a bright place that changes your idea of what an art gallery should be. I hope to create a place where customers can relax and enjoy using all of their senses, not to mention their taste buds.”

Opening hours: 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

  • The Marginal Gallery inside the Kamou Charou Zenzai café

  • Inside Kamou Charou Zenzai

  • Zenzai from Kamou Charou Zenzai

  • Monaka sandwich from Kamou Charou Zenzai

  • Vegan Vegetable Curry from Kamou Charou Zenzai