[Tokyo]The owner of KADO talks about Oshiage and a café
Enjoy a tea break at Oshiage
You might wonder “A café at Oshiage?”, but there is an unexpectedly little-known story about it.
We visited a popular café-owner who are familiar with things about cafés at Oshiage and the history of the town.
The owner of KADO talks about Oshiage and a café
We visited Mukojima, a few minutes walk from Oshiage Station. Counted as one of the six Geisha entertainment districts in Tokyo along with Shinbashi, Akasaka, Kagurazaka, Yoshicho (former Nihonbashi-Ningyocho,) and Asakusa, Mukojima is a sophisticated town where geishas and customers of a ryotei (Japanese-style luxury restaurant) gather.
“KADO” opened in 1958. The café with a Victorian interior was designed by an architect Naozo Shiga, a younger brother of the well-known novelist, Naoya Shiga.
A cash register, made in America in 1930, vigorously makes a sound “Ka-ching!” when paying.
“In the past, only fixed-line phones were available. So, patrons who went to ryoteis around here made a call to this café for using here as a meeting place,” said Takaharu Miyaji, the second owner of “KADO.” The cafés in this town apparently came in handy as a meeting place at that time.
Behind the counter, the oil paintings are hung on the wall to the ceiling, which were collected by the former owner, the father of Takaharu Miyaji. “I replace the paintings once a year according to my mood,” he said.
It is heard that Mukojima had 200 ryoteis and 4,000 geishas at its peak. It is distinctive culture in Sumida City. Now, many of customers in this café are tourists and those who aim to become an artist.
Popular menu items of this café are “active fresh juice (556 yen)” and “walnut blueberry bread sandwich with eggplant and mozzarella (371 yen.)” When the café started its business, geishas and male customers with hangovers loved to drink fresh juice. It was just like a nutritious drink of nowadays.
Besides a long-established traditional café, Oshiage and its environs contains a café renovated from an old private house and a stylish coffee stand, where you can have a break and spend quiet and comfortable time. The back ground lies in a remnant of café culture at the peak period of geisha entertainment districts and old down town atmosphere. Besides, having brought a breath of fresh air triggered by the opening of Tokyo Skytree seems to be a big contributing factor. Moreover, a spirit of this town, where “manufacturing” has been flourishing for a long time, remains alive.
Floral patterns on the ceiling and tables were hand painted by Miyaji himself.
A black telephone (black colored rotary dial phone) and a treadle sewing machine are still working in this café. All clothes of Miyaji are made by this sewing machine.
Vacuum radios have been placed on the both side of the counter since the café ‘s establishment.
2-9-9 Mukojima Sumida-ku