Atsushi Shishimi is a chef who trained in ryokan and traditional Japanese restaurants in the Kansai area. The menu here is full of ideas that make the most of local ingredients. He opened the creative kitchen Tamasaburo in his birthplace and hometown of Nayoro in 2007. Old-fashioned railroad promotional items are on display inside the restaurant, which is in a renovated former farmer's house.
Shishimi has liked the sounds of rail lines and trains since childhood, and even after moving to the Kansai area for his father's work, they always took train trips during summer vacation. After he advanced in his cooking career, be set aside his train hobby. However, since he moved to Nayoro, when lunch time finished, he has rushed outside to take photos of trains.
The incredible thing about Shishimi is his ability to take action and get special trains for enjoying Hokkaido tourism to run. In 2010, for his first plan, he got a special train run between Nayoro and Minamiwakkanai and promoted to passengers the specialty products of each town at the stations where the train stopped. In 2012 he collaborated on an event marking the 100th anniversary of the opening of Otoineppu Station. In 2014 he got a special night train run from Asahikawa to Wakkanai, making a tour of Rishiri Island a reality.
Creative kitchen Tamasaburo
Hours: 11:30 to 2 for lunch (last order at 1:30), 5 to 9 for dinner (last order at 8)
Closed: Every Tuesday and the second Wednesday of each month
626-1 Tonami, Nayoro, Hokkaido, Japan Tel.: 01654-2-0507
Tatsuhiko Tomioka said he wanted to be a train conductor since childhood. He worked at a rail company for 15 years. He then changed his profession to forestry, and to achieve his dream of restoring the wooden station building of an abandoned rail line, he moved to Nayoro and opened the Teshio-Yayoi Station on the former Shinmei line as a travelers' inn.
The dining area resembling the waiting room of a station is completely filled with actual wooden benches that were used in Teshio-Yayoi Station and railroad promotional items. There are three guest rooms. "The memory of this place as a rail line is fading. Now that I have built this inn, former railroad employees and people who used to use the station come here to reminisce. It is the role of the inn to hand those stories down," he said.
The late father and the younger brother of Yukiko, who was born in Nayoro, were national railway men. "To pass on stories about how good the railroad used to be was something like my father's last request," she says with a laugh.
The country diner and travelers' inn Teshio-Yayoi Station
Diner — Otoineppu buckwheat noodles in soup set — 800 yen. Satsukuru buckwheat noodles in soup set — 800 yen.
Hours: Lunch 11 to 2
Lodging: 3,500 yen per person for a dormitory bed only. 5,500 yen per person for a bed and two meals.
Regular closures: none.
166-4 Yayoi Nayoro, Hokkaido, Japan Tel.: 090-8898-0397 Fax.: 01654-3-8413