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    Cafe "Zen" opens in Hirosaki, a former kimono shop renovated to create a place for locals to gather

    Cafe "Zen" opens in Hirosaki, a former kimono shop renovated to create a place for locals to gather

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    A coffee shop called Zen (1 Omachi, Hirosaki City, TEL 0172-26-8439 ) opened near JR Hirosaki Station on May 5th.

    The shop was renovated from a former kimono shop that was built over 30 years ago, and features an interior made of zelkova and cedar wood. It also has rental space, and serves mainly cold-brewed coffee made with a water dripper.

    The owner of the shop is Yuko Noro, and her husband Hideyuki is in charge of coffee. The two retired from their jobs as local government officials last year. Yuko recalls, "We were thinking about creating a place where people could gather, and we were preparing when we happened to come across this property and started preparing to open."

    The vacant storefront still had a small garden and a sloped entrance with stepping stones, and the interior was designed to suit the previous owner's wishes, as long as the existing building could be used. "We made the store barrier-free while retaining as much of the layout as possible, such as the raised tatami room and pillars that were common in kimono shops," says Hideyuki.

    The store area is about 66 square meters. There are 16 seats. The rental space is 1,100 yen per hour. It can be used for meetings, conferences, workshops, etc. The wall in front of the entrance was demolished so that the small garden can be seen from the entrance.

    The menu includes "cold brewed coffee" (500 yen, refills are 200 yen), Kilimanjaro (600 yen), Cleopatra, and Kenya AA (all 650 yen), as well as hot coffee, soft drinks (400 yen each), and cakes (250 to 350 yen).

    Although they opened without any social media or announcements, customers came by word of mouth, and some even mentioned that they used to be a kimono shop. Yuko said, "We want to create a store where many people can feel comfortable. Our next step is to make it a place where we can use our experience to help local people."

    Business hours are from 10:00 to 18:00.

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