Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




"Italia" in Fukui City -A restaurant with nostalgic atmosphere, run by a chef who plays the harp-



the basement of Yours Hotel Fukui, there is a restaurant called Italia

I'd like to introduce a restaurant in Fukui City, "Italia". It is located in the basement of

Yours Hotel Fukui near Fukui Station (2 minutes walk from the west gate of the station).

The restaurant was opened in 1971, and it was the first restaurant in Fukui City specialized

in serving spaghetti and pilaf. The spaghetti sauce that the chef makes is amazing and

it's purchasable at the restaurant.



kitchen viewed from the counter table

The kitchen, tables and the chef, everything about this restaurant made me feel nostalgic.



hot corn creamy soup
lunch set comes with spaghetti, meat sauce, fried shrimp and sausages and salad
espresso comes with the lunch set

I ordered a lunch set that comes with hot creamy soup, salad, spaghetti or pilaf

(you can choose either one) with meat sauce, a fried shrimp, sausages and

a cup of espresso. It was a big lunch and very satisfying.



luch set is 1140yen

I can say for sure that it was definitely worth more than 1,140 yen.




As I finished eating, the espresso was served, and I enjoyed talking with the chef.

He showed me a beautiful harp and played it for me. I'd never seen a chef playing

the harp before.



chef holding and sitting with his harp

He was saying that he might be the only one who cooks and plays the harp in Japan.


If you have a chance to visit Fukui, I'd suggest you go to the restaurant.

I'm sure you have a great time there.

*He doesn't play the harp regularly.



In addition, the chef told me that his son is also a chef. He cooks French food

at his own restaurant called " Le DiamantRose" in Fukui City.

When I have a chance, I would like to eat at his son's restaurant as well.





Location: The basement of Yours Hotel Fukui

1-4-8 Chuo, Fukui City, Fukui Prefecture

Open hours: 11:00-21:00

Closed: Thursdays



Le DiamantRose

1-2-8 Kamogawara,

Fukui City, Fukui Prefecture

Lunch: 11:30-15:00

Dinner: 17:30-21:00

Closed: Mondays

A memory of the heavy snow in February, 2018




Fortunately we have few snow this winter in Fukui so far. But February comes soon, which reminds me of the heavy snow a year ago.


The picture above was taken from my car that was stuck in a traffic congestion at 13:18 on the February 6th, when I was on my way home because our company instructed all employees to go home at 12:00.


After this, I could go home safely in 4 hours though it usually takes 20 minutes. But around the same time, National Route 8, which crosses this road a little ahead, had been in serious trouble.


More than 1,000 vehicles could not move and Fukui Prefecture asked the Self-Defense Forces for help at 14:00, and it took whole two days until the road situation was relieved.


I often drive National Route 8, and it was a mere coincidence that I did not use the road that day.

A traditional custom in Fukui “Tenjinko” 


Life in Fukui

The “Tenjinko” is held only in the northern region of Fukui Prefecture and in some regions of several other prefectures on January 25th every year. The “Tenjinko” is the day when the people offer grilled flatfish in front of hanging scrolls depicting Tenjin-sama(Michizane Sugawara) , who is called “The God of learning”. 


First of all, women don’t have the hanging scrolls of their own Tenjin-sama.
Because only when baby boys were born, the mother’s parents present one to their grandson. So sometimes there are a couple of Tenjin-samas in a family.


The 25th day is derived from the deathday of Michizane. Generally, they hang up the scrolls on New Year's Eve and put them away after the January 25th. On the day, I felt that time flew that almost one month passed after the New Year's Day. Also, it is the coldest time of the year, I expect that the first day of spring according to the lunar calendar is approaching as well. (H.S)


There are two Tenjin-samas at my house.


It is said that flatfish was Michizane's favorite food.

Japanese New Year's Market in Katsuyama City

poster of Japanese New Year's Market in Katsuyama City

"Toshino-ichi", the Katsuyama New Year's market has been held annually for 300 years in Katsuyama City, Fukui Prefecture. It will be held on January 27th this year. Woodworks and many other local products can be seen at the event, and some of them are purchasable. Many visitors enjoy it every year.


making buckwheat noodles

There are things and events that we can't usually see or experience such as the auction for local handmade products, the master in the village making things, making buckwheat noodles experience, buying handmade lucky charms and local foods, playing the Japanese lottery called "Garapon", etc. While enjoying these things, there are also many food stands that sell Japanese festive foods. My favorite ones are baby castella mini cakes and Takoyaki (ball-shaped version of crepes).


This is a video of the auction at the town market that was taken in 2016. A lucky charm that is well worth 10,000yen was put up for sale at the auction. As the price went up, visitors started raising their hands for their desired prices.



Other products were put up as well and the auction was becoming exciting and fun more and more.



Confectionery in shape of an ogre's face




This is a Japanese confection called "Wagashi" in shape of the face of "Oni", the Japanese ogre. It's made of sweetened bean paste, and about 1.5inches in diameter.


It's a confectionery for "Setsubun", the 3rd day of February. The literal meaning of the word Setsubun is "division of the seasons", and it especially refers to the day before the beginning of Spring. The Japanese traditional confectionary shops usually seem to be in "Setsubun" mode in the latter half of January.


This "Oni" is like a demon in Japan, but it is not always only strong or scary but sometimes kind, cute, or a little funny. This ogre of sweets will also show various expressions with a hand technique of the maker.


It's fun to imagine what kind of facial expressions of ogre are lined up at the confectionary shops in Japan.