Hana Cafe nappa69 | Shinmaruko, Kawasaki, Japan | Photo by Jun Kawamura
Earlier, I may have said that the grungy alley of Omoide Yokocho is my favorite place in all of Japan…but then again, there’s different kind of coziness that exists on the outskirts of the city. By night I’ll guzzle down a beer and nibble on street food, but by day I thoroughly enjoy the homey glow of a particularly hidden cafe.
Just a 3 minute walk from the Shinmaruko train station in Kawasaki, sits a cafe in disguise. To the untrained eye, it looks like someone’s home. Were it not for the signs decorated in adorable chalk lettering to lead the way, one would easily, and quite regrettably, walk right past the path way leading down to this oasis.
Hana Cafe Nappa69, started as a tiny cafe packed with flowers and all of your favorite things. As you approach this cafe for the first time, you’re unsure if you’re in the right place because it feels like you’re entering a private home. The path lined with petite house plants and wooden planks, leads you to a cozy deck surrounded with foliage and flowers. And as you slide the wooden door open, a feeling of relaxation immediately rushes over you, and you’re compelled to say, “tadaima (I’m home)”. I’d hardly call this hideout a restaurant.
Every detail and decoration in Hana Cafe is handmade – the signs, the trinkets on the counters, and even the furniture. The staff is always outfitted in handmade aprons and the service is unimaginably polite and gentle. As if the atmosphere wasn’t already cozy enough, the food puts the homey factor over the top.
Every menu is carefully handmade using brown rice, organic and seasonal vegetables. Open nearly all day and all night, the cafe seamlessly transitions from lunch to dinner with a “cafe time”, serving only drinks and desserts in between.
Hana Cafe bakes their delicate breads every morning, along with scrumptious cookies and seasonal cakes. While ginger ale and fruit wine are just a few of the handmade drinks. The menu changes each an every day religiously sticking to the seasons, while keeping a couple homey classics like their oven finished Japanese hamburger and fluffy omurice. Each meal is prepared with the concept of “Happy cooking with a body-friendly mind.”
Delicate, simple, and modest – Hana Cafe Nappa69 is surely a hideout where I go to slow the flow of time.