Greengrocery in Old Samurai Residence Style
Apart from Kakunodate station for several minutes by walk there exists the building which looks like the old samurai residence although it is not in the old samurai residence area as usual. This building is an old-style greengrocery “Sakaiya” and its selling style is different from that of the current popular supermarkets. The various kinds of vegetables and handwriting price cards reminded us of the childhood memory when our mothers took us for shopping by the hand.
In such nostalgic atmosphere there was a space like a small cafe in the greengrocery, and the sweet aroma invited the customers to the cafe. There were the seats at the bar and the several table seats, and the customers frequently came in and out at that time. There were a lot of joyful and grateful messages written by the customers in “Sakaiya Notebook” on the side of the table. Surprisingly some customers came from the outside of Akita.
In the menu of the cafe, instead of pictures, there was the hand-drawn illustration by the local designer, and the cute and colorful illustration inspired us to order the sweets with expectation. The amount of the sweet was sufficiently enough, and some of the toppings were surprising. It was very enjoyable to think about the taste of the sweets on the menu, but difficult to fix the order. When the ordered parfait was served on the table, each parfait was in the different glassware. The parfait was softer than expected when the spoon was inserting into it. The soft-serve ice cream had a rich milk flavor and soft texture. The light sweetness and right sourness of the fruits spread in the mouth and made us happy. The topping fruits were fresh and rich, and we ate the parfait in a short time.
Gratitude and Pride for Local Community
The owner of Sakaiya, Kentaro Sakai, is the president of the commerce and industry association in Kakunodate. Near the station there is the popular sightseeing spot, Nishimiya Samurai House Garden, and he is one of the members who successfully made it crowded with the tourists. But it was not acceptable for him to decrease enthusiasm for the business and show less gratitude for the visitors because the business in the sightseeing area has some advantages in attracting customers.
The cafe serving the fruited sweets in Sakaiya was opened since the renovation of the greengrocery so that his store also got popular after Nishimiya Samurai House Garden had been built. Although the store is located in the center of the sightseeing area, the renovation was done so that the local people could frequently come to the store. From the beginning there is no advertisement for the tourists but the customers come by word of mouth, and the store gets a popular spot.
Sakai said that the genuine taste could be only understood by the actual visitors and it was not good to advertise specialties of the sightseeing areas but recommended not to depend on the value created only by the name of the sightseeing area. It is very important to cook the dishes which the visitors can really enjoy and recommend to others.
In this cafe, the seasonal fruit parfait and the originally blended fruit-flavored soft-serve ice cream can be eaten. Every year the recommended sweets are changed. The same flavor and taste cannot be enjoyed even in the same season if it is a different year, and the special seasonal sweets can be enjoyed every visit. The most important hidden spice for the sweets of Sakaiya is the pride for the job and the hospitality for the local people.
written by Nonaka, Akita University
Shop Name: Fruit Parlor Kakunodate Sakaiya
92-81 Nakasugazawa, Kakunodate-machi Senboku City, Akita 014-0368
Closed: No Regular Holidays
Open Hours: 9:30 – 18:00