Tajima-machi is a wee town nestled in the mountains of Aizu (Fukushima, Japan). It is the largest town in Minami Aizu (south Aizu), and boasts a population of 14,000. As the focal point of Minami Aizu, Tajima is graced with all of the modern conveniences, including a Lion Do, a York Benimaru, and two 7-11s. It is also home to a rather disproportionately large number of restaurants. I could probably go on for a couple of pages about each of the restaurants, but for the sake of time, I will limit my chatter to a couple of words about my two favourites. Both of these restaurants are owned by young, hip couples and eating at their restaurants feels like hanging out at your friends’ place.
Owned by Takeharu and Junko Baba
15 minute drive from Tajima station
5 minute drive from Aizu Kogen station
Bamboo is a standard kissaten (cafe) that serves the standard fare, including hamburg, spaghetti, curry, and sandwiches. However, these dishes are not like the normal coffee-shop-that-has-to-serve-some-meals-to-make-it-look-like-a-restaurant kind of food. They are really quite beyond compare. Try the cream spaghetti. (In fact, the cream spaghetti is so good that I rarely order anything else.) You can also satisfy your sweet tooth with an assortment of parfaits and crepe desserts. They serve no less than 11 different kinds of coffee and 14 kinds of tea. An English menu is available.
Owned by Takatomo and Ruriko Baba
30 second walk from Tajima station
Some people say it’s Korean, some say it’s south-east Asian, but they’re all wrong. The dishes served at this izakaya (pub/bar) were created by the resident chef, Takatomo, making it 100% original. The open kitchen lets you watch Takatomo perform as he “creates” your order. Try the Popeye Salad and the Onigiri Croquette (breaded rice ball with cheese centre covered in a tasty sauce). The menu changes often as the Babas (no relation to the Bamboo owners) think up new dishes. This is the kind of restaurant that sticks in your mind. You won’t taste anything like it again — until you pay the Babas another visit.