ISSUE 62  |  Japonesque

A Gardening Shop Plus Cafe in the Mountains of Japan

March 08, 2013 7:00 PM

BY Sarah Lonsdale

A garden shop deep in the forest, in the mountains of Okayama at the southern end of Japan’s main island of Honshu, is next to owner and designer Makoto Kawai’s workshops. Stop by: Nap also has a cafe.

Far from the crowds of Tokyo, Nap sells home goods along with gardening accessories. The shop features a line of clothing and handmade leather and cotton bags created in a small factory that was once an old schoolhouse. With the cafe and shop, Mr. Kawai’s intent is to create a mountain retreat where people can come to experience nature in a low-key way. For more information, go to Nap.

Photography by Yoko Inoue for Gardenista.


Above: Stones collected from a nearby river secure the shade above the cafe’s outdoor deck. With holes drilled at a local factory, the rocks were strung together to form weights to keep the awning in place.


Above: Colorful gardening boots and gardening boot removers are for sale. (N.B.: Have a favorite pair of gardening boots? Join the discussion about the ultimate boot.)


Above: Watering cans and English gardening baskets on display.


Above: A selection of goods for the home and garden; the denim aprons are made by Nap.


Above: The cafe and store interior which, given the rural location, are only open on weekends and holidays. We particularly like the canvas totes by Nap on the floor. (It’s a common Japanese custom to provide a container for bags, so they don’t get dirty if placed on the floor.)


Above: The entrance to the cafe and shop, with stone steps collected by Mr. Kawai from the river nearby.


Above: Mr. Kawai has created a small village of sorts, with his workshops and cafe set up in the middle of a forest in Okayama. (This is an agricultural region but is also noted for its textiles, in particular denim and cotton.)


Above: Nap workers from the nearby sewing factory take a lunch break on the deck.

For more of our favorite Japanese gardening accessories, see Tools of the Trade: Japanese Gardening Tools and 10 Easy Pieces: Ikebana Vases.

N.B.: This is an update of a post originally published June 20, 2012.