Gotemba City’s Higashiyama area stands as a picturesque summer retreat nestled at the base of Mount Fuji. A mere 10-minute drive from the Gotemba IC reveals two hidden gems awaiting exploration: “The Toraya Kobo” and the “Former Kishi Residence.”
At “Toraya Kobo,” dive into the artistry of handmade traditional Japanese confections. The building’s graceful curves seamlessly blend with the expansive garden, creating a unique space between the tea room and sales area that breathes in the surrounding greenery. Wander freely and seize the opportunity to savor matcha from the nearby tea fields.
Meanwhile, the “Former Kishi Residence” serves as the former villa of Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, a masterpiece designed by architect Isoya Yoshida. Just a 5-minute drive from Gotemba IC, this architectural gem stands as a testament to history and elegance. Nearby, “Arai En Honten” tempts with seasonal delights crafted from local ingredients, eagerly waiting to be discovered.
While both locations entice from Higashiyama, thoughtful planning is advisable due to the abundance of attractions at each site. The proximity of “Arai En Honten” adds a delightful stop to your Gotemba journey. Immerse yourself in the beauty, history, and flavors that await in this captivating corner of Japan.
Toraya Kobo (とらや工房)
“Toraya Kobo” is a hidden gem nestled in the eastern foothills of Mount Fuji, blending a workshop and café. Its origin dates back to 2007, transforming the annex of the “Higashiyama Former Kishi Residence.” The site offers traditional Japanese confectionery crafting experiences, seasonal treats, and sencha sourced in collaboration with local tea merchant Arai En. Operating under the esteemed “Toraya” confectionery establishment with roots in the Edo period, Toraya Kobo holds cultural significance, crafting confections that embody Japan’s unique sensibility and connection to nature. Formerly a summer retreat, it witnessed the creation of lavish villas during the Meiji and Showa eras.
Former Kishi Residence (東山旧岸邸)
In the Higashiyama area of Gotemba City, Shizuoka Prefecture, there is a historical residence that was once home to Nobusuke Kishi, the 56th and 57th Prime Minister of Japan and the grandfather of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Designed by architect Isoya Yoshida, the two-story wooden abode combines modernist charm with traditional Japanese elements, featuring mesmerizing decor and a sprawling garden with a view of Mount Fuji. The residence also hosts Toraya Kobo, a renowned Japanese sweets shop. It serves as a time capsule of a leader’s impact and showcases Yoshida’s artistic prowess, embodying the Japanese principle of harmony between nature and human creation.
Arai En Honten (荒井園本店)
Established in 1888 by Arai Tomokichi, Arai En boasts a rich legacy in tea cultivation, marked by supplying tribute tea in 1930. Devoted to advancing tea production, they use the unique “Kinsei-sui Water” from Mount Fuji, enhancing flavors and glossiness. Arai En pioneers research, embraces technology, and promotes diverse tea customs, collaborating with farmers and earning accolades like the British Great Taste Awards for “Fujiyama Black Tea.” A visit promises an immersive journey into Japan’s captivating tea culture.