This is breathtaking scenery. Daisetsuzan Peaks is in full view, and the agricultural village is spread out at the foot of the mountains. You can feel the scale of Hokkaido Agriculture.
According to Vice Mayor Tani Hirofumi, "Ten years ago, Mayor Sato Yoshiharu started the concept that for Kamikawa town development, activation of Asahigaoka is essential. This is the Asahigaoka Project." Mr. Tani also serves as the Administrative Director of the Asahigaoka NPO managing Daisetsu Mori no Garden.
The number of the visitors to Sounkyo Hot Spring in Kamikawa Town had decreased compared to times past, and so had the number of day tourists to the city area. A sense of crisis began to be felt in the town where tourism was the basic industry. The means of survival was to raise the keyword "Asahigaoka."
The Asahigaoka Project is basically connects Sounkyo – Asahigaoka – City area. After considering many plans, including proposals from the private sector, a "garden" and “"restaurant" which utilize the scenery and agriculture became the main points of the project.
Vice Mayor Tani says, "Asahigaoka is an agricultural area that supports the town. A plan that would affect agriculture would be like placing the "cart before the horse." By considering a balance between tourism and agriculture, the answer was a “garden".
Well known for his "Kaze no Garden", Ueno Sayuki Ueno also cooperated in the garden design. The restaurant was produced by Chef Mikuni Kiyomi and opened in 2013.
The ten years of the Asahigaoka Project did not progress smoothly. At first, chef Mikuni was not decided to be part of this project.
Tsukahara Toshio, Representative of Mikuni Planning, Co., Ltd. which manages the restaurant, says, "Chef Mikuni, who travels all over Japan, often says "a town cannot be developed without strong passion." Maybe he accepted to help the Kamikawa Town project because he felt some kind of passion."
Taniwaki Yoshimitsu, of the Planning and General Affairs Section of Kamikawa Town, is in charge of the project, and said, "9th grade junior high school students are targeted, and a workshop to learn service manners and eating etiquette at the restaurant is planned for this year. Only in Kamikawa Town can you experience tasting Chef Mikuni cuisine at the age of 15. We expect this to be the next step to hospitality."
Next time, the topic will be "Daisetsu Mori-no Garden" where flowers bloom in Asahigaoka.
Located almost in the center of Hokkaido, Kamikawa Town has a population of 3,875 (as of January 2016). The main industry of the town is tourism, with sightseeing to places such as “Sounkyo Hot Springs”, which receives approx. two million people visitors a year and “Daisetsu Mori-no Garden” with its close view of Daisetsuzan Mountains. Other basic industries include agriculture, livestock, and forestry. Specialty brand-name products of the town, such as “Daisetsu Kogen Beef” and “Daisetsu Kogen Vegetables” which are grown in high altitude areas, are distributed throughout Japan.