Places to Eat & Drink in Kofu

Learn about Japanese Food

Contents

  1. North of Kofu Station
  2. South of Kofu Station
  3. Other Locations
  4. Map of Kofu Downtown area
  5. How to Cook "your own" at a Restaurant

North of Kofu Station

Fumon

This snack could not be any closer to the station. I like it because it is a small quaint place and the mama-san is really nice. Clean and much nicer than most snacks I have visited. It has a slightly dark but very interesting atmosphere. There are little baskets of trinkets and toys sitting on the bar. The bathroom is decorated with some creative photographs. The mama-san plays movies and music videos on the T.V. behind the bar. I have not seen an English menu but this is a snack, not a restaurant, so just point to the bottles on the shelf or ask for a beer. Definitely worth a trip. Now serves Guinness!

Directions

Maybe 30 meters or 100 feet from the north side of Kofu station. Exit the station down the stairs and go right staying on the sidewalk. The sidewalk curves around to the main road in from of the station. Fumon is on the right in the same building as a business hotel. Take the stairs to 2F.

Phone: 055-254-2898

South of Kofu Station

8 Cafe

Outdoor seating make this place worth mentioning. The east-facing wall of this shop is opened up making it a great place during nice weather.

Directions

10 min. walk from Kofu station. From Kofu station walk south on Heiwa Dori (main street) on the left side. Make a left turn at the corner with the first pedestrian overpass. Continue past Okajima, the large department store on the right. Sha la la Cafe will be on the left on a corner.

Akiyoshi Yakitoriya

Akiyoshi is located directly to the South of the Danrokan Hotel in downtown Kofu. It is not in the hotel and it looks closed until you get close enough. No English menus, but the menu has pictures. This place is always very lively as the waiters and cook shout the orders back and forth. There are a few tables, but unless there are 3 or more of you your best bet is a counter seat. Put your bags on the shelf above the seat. Order your drinks first and then order your food when ready. Just point to the pictures and hold up the appropriate number of fingers :) Other than liver and tongue the menu is mostly chicken, port, vegetables, and some beef.

Directions

10 min. walk from Kofu station. Exit out the south exit of the station and continue south on Heiwa Dori (main road) on the left. Make a left turn at the corner of the second pedestrian overpass. Make a right turn at the first intersection, you will see AM/PM on the S/E corner. Continue south and Akiyoshi will be on your left just after the Danrokan Hotel. It looks closed until you get close.
Taxi Dropoff: Danrokan Hotel

Phone: 055-226-9218

Alfie Cafe and Restaurant ( www.cr-alfie.com)

Alfie

Alfie Cafe and Restaurant is a cafe, restaurant, jazz and cocktail bar in downtown Kofu. The owner plays piano and speaks English well. The singers sing English songs including jazz classics like "Fly me to the Moon" and "Paper Moon", as well as Japanese songs. Rika-san sings a great version of "Route 66"! Alfie's number one bartender Junpei-san is certainly dedicated to his craft, and makes Cocktail's Tom Cruise look like a bar back in comparison. I saw him win first place in the Yamanashi semi-finals NBA bar tending competition in 2001, which put him in the finals held in Nagoya. He has appeared on T.V. and in the local papers. Third place was another Alfie bar tender Yohei-san. In 2002 Junpei, Yohei, and a the bartender Watanabe all competed. The rest of the cast can been seen on Alfie's web site. However, I suggest you see them in person. Alfie serves food, wine, and cocktails. Alfie has bar and table seating and the atmosphere is very classy. There is live music almost every night with no cover charge.

Directions

10 min. walk from Kofu station. Exit out the south exit of the station and continue south on Heiwa Dori (main road) on the left. Make a left turn at the corner of the second pedestrian overpass. Make a right turn at the first intersection, you will see AM/PM on the S/E corner. Continue south past the Danrokan Hotel on the left and make a left at the next intersection. Pass the Konaya Hotel on the right, continue past Starbucks on the right until you pass Okajima on the left. Make a right turn here on Alfie will be on the left.

(bakery known for "melon pan")

I never knew the name of this place but my friends said they have "the best" melon pan (like a large soft muffin). I tried it myself and it is pretty good.

Directions

30 sec. walk from Kofu station. From Kofu station south exit turn left and pass the department and then the Starbucks in on the left. Yoshinoya will be on the right. Head straight between Starbucks and Yoshinoya to the small counter shop with the orange facade.

Cafe Roche

The shop has counter seating as well as tables. I like it because it is a little out of the way and has a slightly dark but very interesting atmosphere. I have not seen an English menu so they may not have one.

Directions

Starting from the Konaya Hotel, continue to the Starbucks (was Mister Donut) on the right and turn right. Continue to the first left. Turn left here which also leads down a pedestrian walkway. Pass the Edoya restaurant on the right and continue for about another 10~20 meters. The cafe is on the right. There will be a small wooden self-sanding sign in English in front of the passageway leading back to the cafe entrance.

Phone: 055-237-7343

The Cotton Club

The Cotton Club has an interesting history. It was open under the name of "5 Spot" in 1981 down strairs next to Mister Donut (now Startbucks) by the owner of the building. Three years later it closed and the owner rented the space to the owner of the old Alfie. When Alfie moved 17 years later to it's current location, the owner opened "Cafe Nostalgia". It was opened the first week of Aug. 2002. This location closed and The Cotton club open sometime after I think in 2005 North of Kofu station in the same building with McDonalds. This building was destroyed to build the new Prefecture library in 2006. The Cotton club will reopened, of all places, next door to Alfie in 2006.

Directions

10 min. walk from Kofu station. Exit out the south exit of the station and continue south on Heiwa Dori (main road) on the left. Make a left turn at the corner of the second pedestrian overpass. Make a right turn at the first intersection, you will see AM/PM on the S/E corner. Continue south past the Danrokan Hotel on the left and make a left at the next intersection. Pass the Konaya Hotel on the right, continue past Starbucks on the right until you pass Okajima on the left. Make a right turn here on The Cotton Club will be on the left.

Edoya Restaurant

This is not a houtou restaurant but I have only eaten houtou here. There is only one variety of houtou here, which has vegetables and meat. The restaurant is 80 years old and has remained in the family at the same location since it was opened. The restaurant has 3 floors but I have only seen 1F. There are no English menus here but the employees seem very friendly. Edoya also displays art for sale by a local talented artist. I got a great charcoal drawing of Matsushima the Japanese actress by a local artist at Edoya.

Directions

The restaurant is on Ginza Road. Starting from the Konaya Hotel, continue to the Starbucks (was Mister Donut) on the right and turn right. Continue to the Ginza Road, a covered walkway and the first major left. Turn left and the restaurant is on the right hand side about 30 meters down. I have always seen a large (2 meter) vertical blue flag out front that reads "Houtou" in Japanese (hiragana).

Phone: 055-233-5917

Four Hearts Cafe

Opened Dec. 2000 and is family run. Everyone is very friendly and some can speak English. Besides coffee Four Hearts has food and wine and is open until 10:00 p.m. on weekdays. They also have really good bagels and the caesar salad is particularly good! There are tables and counter seating. The menu is in Japanese and English. There are non-smoking tables available.

Directions

10 min. walk from Kofu station. Exit out the south exit of the station and walk south on Heiwa Dori (main street) on the left side. Make a left turn at the corner of the first pedestrian overpass. At the first intersection (big) you will see AM/PM on the S/E corner. Make a right turn after crossing the intersection and head south on that road. Four Hearts will be on your right before the Danrokan Hotel.

Gakidaisho Ramen Gakidaishou

A ramenya, often called ramen-ya-san, is a restaurant that specializes in ramen (chinese noodles) and often serves other food like gyoza. Ramenya are about as common as izakaya and particularly common with the young. Gakidaishou serves the best ramen and gyoza I have had in Kofu. If you like spicy food order the tantan-men. When it arrives, you grind the sesame seeds your-self and add them to the ramen along with the garlic chips. If you don't eat spicy food I hear the kotekote ramen is excellent. There is table and counter seating, and picture menus. The water is self-service and next to the register at the door. Since ramenya are usually open late, it is not uncommon to go eat ramen at 2 or 3 a.m. after a drinking party. I wonder is there is a Japanese saying, "There is always room for ramen"...

Directions

10 min. walk from Kofu station. Exit out the south exit of the station and walk south on Heiwa Dori (main street) on the left side. Make a left turn at the corner of the first pedestrian overpass. Cross the intersection (big) you will see AM/PM on the S/E corner and continue straight until you reach Orion Street. There will be a big overhead sign. Turn right and continue past Starbucks (was Mister Donut) on the right. Continue to the first major right turn. This is just past Ginza Road (covered walkway) on the left. Turn right and immediately on your right is Gakidaishou. There is a 7-11 across the street.

Phone: 055-235-8636

Izakaya Izakaya

An izakaya is a TYPE of restaurant to sit and have drinks and food. This is also the home of the namadai (draft beer). Memorize the kanji above and "namadai o kudasai" and you can survive in Japan indefinitely. Izakaya are often open late and the menu usually contains a lot variety of small dishes. Like yakitori restaurants, there are tons of izakaya in Kofu. Just look for the Kanji above to find Izakaya. Also see Tsubohachi, Uotami, Wara Wara, Za Watami

Kapurichoze

An Italian restaurant in downtown Kofu, the only one I know of that serves calzones, which happen to be huge.

Directions

Starting from the Konaya Hotel, continue to the Starbucks (was Mister Donut) on the right and turn right. The restaurant will be on the right next to La La La downstairs from the street level.

Noya Noya

Noya

A small place with lots of character classified as a koryori (old fashioned cooking) has been located in downtown Kofu for about 18 years (Nov. 2001). If you want to experience a real Japanese-style restaurant, this is a good place to go. The cook is the owner's brother. Along with another helper, the three usually run the place. There is traditional tatami mat seating as well as counter seating. There is no English menu. If you're a picky eater and that scares you, you may consider going in for a beer. You will probably given some food anyway. Tell them Mark "the hen na gaijin" sent you. I rarely order from the menu myself, which is in kanji and hanging on the wall behind the counter. Usually I just have them recommend something.

Directions

1 min. walk from Konaya Hotel or a 15 min. walk from Kofu station. If you are going by taxi get dropped off at the Kofu Konaya Hotel. From Kofu station south exit walk south on Heiwa Dori (main street) on the left side. Make a left turn at the corner with the second pedestrian overpass. Continue east and cross the next intersection. You will see Dan's coffee on the right on the S/E corner. Continue pass Dan's Coffee on the right and Konaya hotel on the right. Turn right down the first narrow street named Nishiki Dori. Continue for about 50m. You will cross another small street. Noya will be on the right. It has a dark wood sliding door with a blue curtain above. There will be a white lighted self-standing sign in front with the two black kanji characters (shown above) written vertically in an old style font which is slight hard to read. Another smaller sign that looks the same is on the outside of the shop. The dark wood ribbed door immediately after the sign is the one you want. Noya is closed on Sun.

(Ramen shop known for tantanmen)

I have never been to this shop. I have seen it dozens on times, but never knew they were know for tantanmen until my friend told me in 2008. I don't know the name of the shop but you can't miss it. tantanmen is a spicy ramen soup topped with ground pork. If you like spicy and you like ramen, then you need to try tantanmen. See "Gakidaisho" for another shop that serves tantanmen.

Directions

Across the street from The Vault. 10-15 min. walk from Kofu station. From Kofu station south exit walk south on Heiwa Dori (main street) on the left side. Make a left turn at the corner with the second pedestrian overpass. Continue east and cross the next intersection. You will see Dan's coffee on the right on the S/E corner. Continue pass Dan's Coffee on the right and Starbucks on the right. Continue just past Okajima and the Vault and you will be facing the shop across the street.

The Rink

This is one of the hang-outs for foreigners, and seems to be popular among the English conversation teachers. There is a TV and a computer with Interment access. The Rink also serves Guinness beer, and a varied menu of international food. Counter and table seating.

Directions

5-10 min. walk from Kofu station. From Kofu station walk south on Heiwa Dori (main street) on the left side. Make a left turn at the corner with the first pedestrian overpass. At the first intersection (big) you will see AM/PM on the S/E corner. Continue straight, The Rink will be on your left on 2F.

Starbucks (Eki mae)

Starbucks #2 has come to Kofu! This Starbucks is in front of the station.

Directions

30 sec. walk from Kofu station. From Kofu station south exit turn left and pass the department stores. Starbucks in on the left

Starbucks (Downtown)

Starbucks has come to Kofu. For some this is a good thing, others, especially the many small coffee shops in the area probably feel differently. On opening weekend March 28, 2003, the line of people extended outside the shop the entire weekend. Starbuck, previously Mister Donut, has two floors of tables.

Directions

10-15 min. walk from Kofu station. From Kofu station south exit walk south on Heiwa Dori (main street) on the left side. Make a left turn at the corner with the second pedestrian overpass. Continue east and cross the next intersection. You will see Dan's coffee on the right on the S/E corner. Continue pass Dan's Coffee on the right and Konaya hotel on the right. Starbucks is on the right.

Tsubohachi (izakaya)

Directions

10 min. walk from Kofu station. Exit out the south exit of the station and walk south on Heiwa Dori (main street) on the left side. Make a left turn at the corner of the first pedestrian overpass. Cross the intersection (big) you will see AM/PM on the S/E corner and continue straight until you reach Orion Street. There will be a big overhead sign. Tsubohachi is just ahead on the right.

Torihiro Yakitori

Torihiro Yakitori

Torihiro is a yakitori restaurant. The restaurant feels more like someone's house rather than a restaurant. Although the restaurant itself is nothing to look at, they serve a great karaage teishoku, fried chicken meal set.

Directions

Torihiro is across from the Kenmin Bunka Hall. The best bet may be to grab a cab from the station. If you walk it is about a 15-20 min. walk from the south exit of the station. Walk south down Heiwa dori to the third pedestrian overpass. Make a right turn. You will pass Royal Garden Hotel on your left. Continue to the first medium size intersection. There is a Sumitomo bank on the left. It you pass the Family Mart convenience store on your right, you went too far. Make a left at the bank. Go past the North entrance of the Kenmin Bunka Hall on the right and Torihiro will be on the left. The restaurant sign is yellow. There is parking for about 4-5 cars.

Phone: 055-227-7417

Uotami (izakaya)

Directions

10-15 min. walk from Kofu station. From Kofu station south exit walk south on Heiwa Dori (main street) on the left side. Make a left turn at the corner with the second pedestrian overpass. Continue east and cross the next intersection. You will see Dan's coffee on the right on the S/E corner. Continue pass Dan's Coffee on the right and Konaya hotel on the right. Turn right at Starbucks (on the right) The restaurant will be on the right.

The Vault

The Vault

The Vault is a new bar (Nov. 2003) owned by Mark the former owner of Legends. Mark speaks English as well as Japanese. The Vault had its grand opening on Fri. Nov. 21, 2003. There is a billiard table, dart board, tables, bar seating, now a huge 120" screen TV. Snack and food menu, cocktails, very reasonable beer prices for Japan, and serves Guinness! This is the place to be in Kofu for sure!

Directions

On the South/East corner of Okajima in the basement. 1 min. walk from Konaya Hotel or a 15 min. walk from Kofu station. If you are going by taxi get dropped off at the Kofu Konaya Hotel. From Kofu station south exit walk south on Heiwa Dori (main street) on the left side. Make a left turn at the corner with the second pedestrian overpass. Continue east and cross the next intersection. You will see Dan's coffee on the right on the S/E corner. Continue pass Dan's Coffee on the right and Starbucks on the right. Continue just past Okajima and the Vault will be on the corner down the stairs in the basement.

Wara Wara (izakaya)

Directions

10-15 min. walk from Kofu station. From Kofu station south exit walk south on Heiwa Dori (main street) on the left side. Make a left turn at the corner with the second pedestrian overpass. Continue east and cross the next intersection. You will see Dan's coffee on the right on the S/E corner. Continue pass Dan's Coffee on the right and Konaya hotel on the right. Turn right at Starbucks (on the right) The restaurant will be on the right.

Za Watami (izakaya)

Directions

10 min. walk from Kofu station. Exit out the south exit of the station and walk south on Heiwa Dori (main street) on the left side. Make a left turn at the corner of the first pedestrian overpass. Cross the intersection Za Watami is two doors South from AM/PM.

Other Locations

Fukasawa Kushiage Restaurant

Fukasawa

For those of you staying at the Fujiya, here is a great restaurant right across the street! Fukasawa is not within walking distance from any train station, but is about a 5-10 minute cab ride from Kofu station. This is an excellent kushiage restaurant. Kushiage is vegetables, fish, meat, etc. skewered, battered, and deep fried. I suggest you eat "omakasede" style. This roughly means "leave it up to the chef". The chef will serve various types of kushiage a couple skewers at a time until you tell him to stop. So even if you can't read the menu, as long as your not too picky, it should be no problem. If there is something specific you want, tell the chef. I suggest the asupara be-kon (asparagus and bacon). Stalks of asparagus are diagonally wrapped with a thin strip of bacon, dipped half-way into batter and deep fried. Very good!

Directions

Directly across the street from the Fujiya hotel. Look for the red noren (curtain).

Phone: 055-252-1800

Go Go Web

An Internet cafe. Open in 2002. There are a few computers and you can also connect your own laptop to their LAN for email and Internet access. But bring your own network cable! There are often live bands performing at night.

Directions

You need a car to get to this one from Kofu. Located in Shikishima. From the Shikishima Pax, continue towards Nirasaki. Pass the Itsu More supermarket on the left and continue straight through the intersection. Go Go Web will be on the right. There is plenty of free parking.

Phone: 055-267-0023

Oz Amusement Center

Oz has over a dozen regulation size pool tables, 3 electronic dartboards, 2 jukeboxes, current music from the States, and a bar, which has Corona imports for only 600 yen. The tables are 600 yen per hour, which is very reasonable even when compared to the States. However, a game of cricket (darts), which is 300 yen per person, may be only for the wealthy. There is also karaoke upstairs. Oz remains open and serves until approx. 5 a.m. on weekend nights. Recently (Feb. 2002) there have been Weds. night special where men get a 50% discount.

Directions

About a 20 minute bike ride from Kofu station. From the station head south on Heiwa Dori. Make a right on Route 52. Continue on Route 52 and bear right at the fork which becomes Bijitsukan Dori. Continue past the Alps Dori intersection and Oz is on the right. If you take a cab, tell the cabbie, "Tomitake Oz Amusement Center". Tomitake is the name of the area. Use "Kofu gaisha hanbai" as a landmark, which is a near-by BMW dealership. You may want to write it down and show him. If you go by bus, the bus stop is "Kofu Kugawa basu noriba" and is directly in front of Oz. From Kofu station, take any of the buses from bus stand 5 except the number 53 bus (see How to Ride the Bus) and get off at the Kugawa (Kugawa) stop. You will see Oz's neon lights on the right. If you go by car, there is plenty of free parking on the premises.

Map of Kofu downtown area

Downtown Map

Note: Map oriented with North at the top. Heiwa Dori is be the widest street on the map and leads direct to/from Kofu station.

How to Cook "your own" at a Restaurant

How to cook okonomiyaki

Literally meaning grill what you like, okonomiyaki somewhat resemble pancakes, but usually are made with vegetables, fish, and/or meat. You order the ingredients you like and cook them yourself. Okonomiyaki originated in Osaka and remains most popular there, although available now just about everywhere in Japan. There are basically two types of restaurants. Ones where they cook for you and ones where you cook the food yourself. I definitely recommend the later! Choose the type of okonomiyaki from the menu. The waitress will turn on the grill. You will be brought a bowl of various ingredients. Mix the ingredients together well into a batter-like mixture using chopsticks or the small paddle provided. When the grill is hot, pour some oil on grill and spread it evenly with the spatula. Pour the thick mixture onto the grill creating 6 to 8-inch diameter circles. When cooked on the bottom flip it over. Spread the thick brown sauce onto the top on each cake. Sprinkle on some fish flakes called katsuo and sprinkle on some of the green dried seaweed flakes called aonori. Both should be at the table. Top with mayo in a criss-cross pattern. When finished, cut into quarters and enjoy.

How to cook monjyaayaki

Monjyaayaki is similar to okonomiyaki. Choose the type of ingredients from the menu. The waitress will turn on the grill. You will be brought a bowl of various ingredients. Mix the ingredients together well. Pour some oil on grill and spread it evenly with the spatula. The monjyaayaki batter will be thinner and the liquid will remain at the bottom of the bowl. With chopsticks remove all the solid mixture from the bowl and put it on the grill in one pile leaving the liquid in the bowl. Quickly continue to turn the mixture with the large spatula and keep it moving until cooked. Spread the mixture out into the shape of the letter 'o' hollow in the center. Make sure there are no openings in the circle. Pour the liquid from the bowl into the center of the circle and let cook. When the edges are cooked, with the small spatulas provided, separate a small amount of the cooked edge from the rest and press it to the grill with the small spatula for a few seconds. Once cooked eat it hot directly from the small spatula.

How to cook shabu shabu

Shabu shabu is another fun meal you cook yourself. You are served very thin slices of beef that you cook in hot water. The name shabu shabu comes from the sound of the beef being swished around in the hot water. First place you beer orders, because beer tastes great with everything especially shabu shabu. You will choose the quality of beef you want to eat ranging from expensive to more expensive. After, the waitress will turn on the grill and place a bowl of hot water on the grill. You will also be brought a plate of raw beef and vegetables. When the water is hot enough, you can start eating. With your chopsticks, pick up a slice of raw beef and swish it back and forth 2 or 3 times in the hot water until cooked. Do not over cook, the beef is high quality and should be eaten rare. After eating a few slices add some vegetables to the water and continue eating the beef. When the fat from the beef clouds the water, skim it off with the screened ladle unless the waitress does this for you. After you are finished, the waitress will bring noodles. Put these in the water with the vegetables. Eat the noodles and vegetables when cooked. It some of the nicer and more expensive restaurants, you may be served a few slices of thicker but smaller rectangular-shaped pieces of raw meat before you are served your beef. Do not make the mistake I did and try to cook this in the water, or you may be laughed at. This is basashi (raw horse meat). It is top quality and is eaten raw. If you are not sure, ask.