Little Local Finds: Summer in Seiryo
In our second edition of little local finds, we introduce one of our favorite local hamlets: Seiryo-machi!
Especially since summer is one of the best times to visit: whether to enjoy the golden fields of barley in June, or the sunny sunflowers in July! And to enjoy all the colorful summer veggies at either a riverside vegetarian cafe or sumptuous buffet!
June for Golden Fields
We’ve often talked about Komatsu tomatoes, but did you know we are also one of the top producers of barley in Japan?
One of our mundane little joys is to admire the golden fields of barley just before they are harvested, around late May to early June.
In the agricultural hamlet of Seiryo-machi, you get to admire fields after fields, to the backdrop of mountains and forests! The very picture of the idyllic countryside scene.
We love it especially when the rays of the sun gradually emerge from a passing cloud, spreading over the fields to create a wave of gold.
Extra Reference: Barley Gourmet
Of course, you may be wondering where you can savor all this barley once they’re harvested.
Fret not, many local products and eateries have weaved our Komatsu barley into innovative creations!
One of our recommendations is the barley baum produced by well-known Ishikawa patisserie LE MUSEE DE H KANAZAWA, sold at AEON Shinkomatsu, Komatsu Airport, and other souvenir shops in Ishikawa.
If you make your way down to the Roadside Station (Michi-no-eki) at Kibagata, you can also get your hands on some barley miso, white choc barley cake by local wagashi shop Yamagami Fukujudo (山上福寿堂), or even the dried barley itself that can be used to create your own barley dishes!
We experimented with the dried barley ourselves to create a barley risotto, with a rich sauce stewed from Komatsu tomato and locally-caught amaebi shrimps! So deliciously sweet and chewy (as they would say in Japanese, mochi mochi)!
*dried barley can be easily cooked the same way as rice! If you find pure barley overwhelming, mixing it into your rice is also good.
For the drinkers, we have not forgotten to save some barley for brewing beer.
The iconic packaging, paying tribute to Komatsu’s kabuki tradition, makes it a great gift too!
(found at various souvenir shops including the ones at URARA Theater and Ataka Cafe)
All these items can also be ordered online here and delivered throughout Japan!
July for Sunflowers
Ok, let’s get back to Seiryo-machi.
What we’re really eager to share is one of our favorite hidden flower spots: the Sunflower Hill (ひまわりの丘 Himawari no Oka) , that comes abloom in late July to August.
As you can see, the sunflowers are of the more dainty variety, unlike the towering ones found in most sunflower parks. But we think that makes photo-taking all the more easier! 😛
Also unlike other sunflower park attractions, Seiryo-machi has a more humble backstory: it was a local ground-up initiative to give new life to abandoned farm plots!
There’s certainly nothing more suited to the task than cheery sunflowers ^^
While the season is expected to last to late-August, for all their love of sunshine, sunflowers are rather vulnerable to drying up, so we recommend checking it out soon!
If it’s any extra incentive for nature lovers, the views of mountains and rice paddies along the way are also charming, and the empty roads make for a peaceful drive or cycle!
Himawari no Oka
With sunflowers blooming in the peak of summer, it can be daunting to venture all the way out there, and we certainly stress the importance of safety-first as heat exhaustion is a real concern.
Luckily, there are several eateries just nearby in Seiryo-machi where you can rest and recharge!
Vegetarian Cafe: La Petite Porte
Since we were exhausted after cycling all the way there, we actually dropped by one of our favorite cafes before visiting the sunflowers.
La Petite Porte @la_petite_porte, a vegetarian cafe sitting within a cedar grove next to a river!
We went with our go-to dish, the vegetarian curry with a crisp soy patty and colorful vegetables!
The dish can be ordered ala carte (with a mini salad) for 990 yen (incl. tax), or as a set for 1595 yen, that comes with an appetizer platter, soup and drink!
You can also opt for the pasta of the day for the same prices.
If you’re looking for an extra luxurious treat, La Petite Porte even offers a full course wa lunch, in which vegetables are creatively arranged into a nourishing feast of salads, sushi, and tempura, alongside soba from nearby Hakusan, local Kaga Bocha (hojicha), and two mini desserts!
We didn’t have time for it this visit since we were rushing to the sunflowers, but we still have fond memories of it from our previous visit <3
Note that the wa lunch course has to be booked at least 3 days before for at least 2 people, and is limited to 10 lucky people a day. It’s slightly pricy at 2750 yen, but we vouch that it’s very worth the indulgence 🙂
*psst, consider giving yourself an extra treat at the cafe’s footbath (100 yen) or onsen (2500 yen for 4~5 pax, reservations required) too! Or even a stay at the adjacent European-style inn. More details can be found on their official site (Japanese).
You can also read more about the inn and their newly-opened vegan bakery in our dedicated post here:
Cafe, Bakery & Stay in the Woods (by the River)
La Petite Porte
Budget Buffet: Seseragi-no-Sato
Another food option in the area is the cosy restaurant within onsen and recreation center, Seseragi-no-Sato @seseraginosato.komatsu.
While value lunch plates are offered on weekdays, we recommend going on weekends, when they offer a buffet spread of homely dishes, lovingly prepared by the local grandmas.
All-you-can-eat for just 1,500 yen!
Like La Petite Porte, Seseragi-no-Sato also offers an onsen, at only 400 yen!
We haven’t yet gotten a chance for a dip, but we hear it’s popular with locals.
See you again Seiryo!
There’s too much more to gush about the hidden gem of Seiryo-machi, but we hope what we’ve managed to share entices you to pay a visit and fall in love as well!
Feel free to DM us on Facebook or Instagram @explorekomatsu if you need more details or language help!