Hello! It’s Tomocchi ☆
In Higashisonogi-cho in Nagasaki Prefecture, there is a small unmanned train station right next to the sea. It’s called Chiwata Station.
Built in 1928, this retro-style building situated on the curve of Omura Bay, while being a hub for locals, is also popular with photographers and train enthusiasts alike who come for the views which look like something straight out of the past.
In 2016 it was even used as a location for a commercial for JR Kyushu.
In Chiwata Station there is a small cafeteria. Its name is:
This is the cafeteria-owner-cum-station-master Yushita Ryunosuke, his wife, and their 10-month old son. “I want to make Chiwata station into a place where lots of people gather, since there is no place like this anywhere else in the world,” Said Mr. Yushita.
Mr. Yushita, who’s hobby since the age of 19 has been making curry, decided to follow this passion by opening up a cafeteria after quitting the life of a salaryman. He moved locations to inside the actual Chiwata station in December of 2016.
His wife is pictured here cutting onions with their son swaddled in front of her. He’s growing up so fast at Chiwata station with so many people around him.
“Since this is an unmanned station, we sell tickets while were making the curry,” she laughs.
The only thing on the menu is the curry, which changes daily. Today is tomato curry. It’s topped with a pile of coriander which gives off a wonderfully fresh smell. The flavor starts off spicy, but then the umami floats to the top, and the flavor leaves the inside of your mouth warm and satisfied. The curry here is made without any flour, in the traditional way.
There is gentle music playing as the girls across the room enjoy their conversation. Suddenly I hear a few tones and then over a speaker:
“A train will arrive shortly.”
Oh yeah, this is a train station, isn’t it?
On weekdays, the cafeteria is only open until 3pm. After that, the whole space fills with the sounds of lively conversations of the school children returning home.
Elementary school students excitedly do their homework as well as read the books here on the shelf.
I’ve heard that the old ladies that use the station look forward just to greeting Mr. Yushita. One lady said that she dropped off a few vegetables to say thanks for him always letter her drink water there. This train station has many stories like this that’ll warm your heart.
“This is a train station, a curry restaurant, and a place for locals to meet.
It makes me really happy that since more people from out of town are coming in that more locals are starting to come too,” said Mr. Yushita.
A train station, curry, and an unremarkable daily life. Somehow these elements combine to prosper all together.
Chiwata is a town where you can experience stories of an unremarkable daily life that warm your heart. Why not visit this little cafeteria in Chiwata Station?
Address: 750-3 Chiwata Station, Hiranitagou, Higashisonogi-cho, Higashisonogi-gun, Nagasaki Prefecture 859-3928
Hours: There are no decided days off. However, the cafeteria is usually open Mondays, Thursdays, and Friday from 11am to 3pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 6pm. It’s usually closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.