A New Restaurant at Obama’s Michi-no-Eki

A New Restaurant at Obama’s Michi-no-Eki

Fukui, Local Produce Sales Space Also Getting Expansion

On February 7th, in Fukui Prefecture, Obama City, a plan to build a new restaurant attached to the city’s Michi-no-Eki, “Wakasa Obama” (located within the Wakuri area), has been made publi; the restaurant will have a focus on using local products. Next to the Michi-no-Eki, to its west, is the “Shikisaikan”, which will undergo renovations, with plans to reopen on May 1st, 2021. In addition, the community garden will be removed, and the area will be refitted as a parking lot, as an effort to relieve congestion. From 2021, the local produce sales space is also planned to receive an expansion.

The Michi-no-Eki has a food court that is oriented on offering light meals, but there has been a growing demand for having fuller meals available. There is also the issue of the local produce sales corner, which occupies a cramped 35 square metres, and thus only able to display a very limited number of products.

Close to the Michi-no-Eki is the Obama Interchange (IC), connecting with the Maizuru-Wakasa Expressway; the Obama IC is currently running trials on vehicles, installed with the “ETC 2.0”, which can temporarily exit the expressway. With no places that offer meals as far as 75 kilometres in either direction along the expressway from the interchange, there is much anticipation for the new restaurant at Michi-no-Eki to also serve as something like a service area.

The Shikisaikan first opened during 2009, and served as a place where local products can be prepared and processed. The Obama Town Management Organization, an Obama City community sector group, part of the Obama Tourist Bureau, manages the Shikisaikan, lending out space for things such as cooking classes and local food production. In recent years, the administrative costs have totalled to approximately ¥2.8 million annually, although the number of customers have been declining.

The single-storied wooden building will have a floor space of 471 square metres; within that space, the cooking classrooms and the local food production space will be renovated into a restaurant (at 221 square metres) and a kitchen (at 74 square metres). The conference room will be transformed into an office space (at 107 square metres), and the current Michi-no-Eki’s office staff will move into the space. Construction is schedule to begin around October.

The target for the number of customers annually will be roughly a 5% increase in relation to the Michi-no-Eki’s 2016 to 2018 average numbers. With the projected sales value for each customer set at ¥1,200, there will be a yearly goal of ¥30 million in sales. The plan will be overseen by the Obama Town Management Organization, the designated manager for the Michi-no-Eki. The community garden will be removed, and the approximately 1,690 square metres of space will be transformed into a parking lot to fit forty vehicles.

The development costs will be ¥92 million for the restaurant, and ¥41.69 million for the parking lot; the costs will be calculated into the new year’s draft budget. The country will shoulder 50%, while the prefecture will shoulder 30% of the total costs. Regarding the restaurant, the city and the Michi-no-Eki will equally bear the remaining 20% of the cost, while the city will take care of the remaining 20% for the parking lot.

The east part of the Michi-no-Eki is divided into three spaces: a sales space, an area where events in and around the city are promoted, and a rest area with washrooms. From 2021, a new local produce sales corner will be built, connecting both the east and west parts of the Michi-no-Eki. Local information and sales will then be merged into one large building. The new sales space is estimated to take up to 100 square metres, about 3 times the current space.

All the above information was illustrated at a city council meeting by the director on February 7th.

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/1025393