Okayama Castle is in Okayama City, which was the location of...
Kamimomi Rice Terraces & Momi-an Café
Kumenan-cho, Okayama, Japan
Plowing to the heavens in the valley of gold
Nestled in the mountains of northern Okayama was a gem waiting to be discovered.
Kamimomi, one of Japan’s Top 100 Rice Terraces, is located in Kumenan-cho, a town with a rice-growing history of over 1,300 years. The landscape of the terraced rice fields here are also known as: “The Valley of Gold.”
The Valley of Gold (rice plants)
The whole area is about 22 hectares, with higher points of the terraces boasting a pond and numerous water reservoirs, a treasure trove for nature enthusiasts. On a clear day, the Seto Inland Sea can be seen from a distance.
The town (Kumenan-cho) has the highest ratio of elderly people in Okayama prefecture, leading to a rapid loss of biodiversity, the “satoyama” mountain-village culture (where societies work in harmony with nature and the environment), and the rice terraces on the brink of extinction.
To combat this, the townspeople came up with a solution, teaming up with various groups to promote the “Kamimomi Rice Terraces Restoration Project” which includes Momian Café, farming, agricultural awareness, permaculture, health, yoga and other regional revitalization activities.
Since then, more than 13,000 sqm. of rice paddies have been restored, giving hope for sustainability and the future.
Rice stalks (young and green)
Rice stalks ripening for harvest
Momian Café used to be a barn in the olden days. It is right on a hill overlooking the entire rice terraces, thus the nice play on words Kamimomi (上籾 upper paddy) >> Momi-an (籾庵 paddy retreat).
Heading up the ridge for the terraces and cafe
Momian Cafe (barn + deck)
Side view – Momian Cafe
Old barn that is now part of Momi-an cafe
Ancient warehouse by the terraces
In cooperation with the farmers and residents around the area, Kamimomi Tanada Terrace Momian Café showcases rice grown and harvested in the Kamimomi ricefields, and offers seasonal dishes made with local ingredients and produce, all organic and pesticide-free.
It is a prime example of how partnerships in community development bear fruit and lead to the good of everyone involved.
Stepping inside the structure, sitting by the glass window and peering into the vast panorama of green and gold rice plants was absolutely breathtaking.
Seating by Momi-an Cafe
Thatched straw roof, traditional construction
Peering through the glass
Rice Terraces view from Momian cafe
The onigiri rice ball set was delicious and came beautifully prepared, complete with homemade tofu (additive-free) and soy pudding in a glass. Yuzu citrus tea and lemonade (made by a villager) capped the meal.
Lunch – onigiri tofu set with miso vegetables
There were also choices for medicinal curry, fermented food pairings, and rice flour (gluten-free), whole-grain and soy-based pastries – nutritious and tasty!
Outdoor seating was great too. Plop yourself on the deck, imbibe good vibes and meditate the ill feelings away.
Kamimomi Rice Terraces _ Momi-an Cafe
Momian cafe deck
Cafe extension area
Outdoor area and barbecue spot
Relax and rejuvenate by the terraces
Coming to Kamimomi was like entering a scene straight out from a nature photobook, only that the imagery was real and one was actually part of it.
The ancient saying rings true: “Plow to the heavens”「耕して天に至る」and unearth possibilities in the golden valley that is Kamimomi.
1300-1 Kamimomi, Kumenan, Kume District, Okayama Prefecture, Japan 709-3621
12 minutes by taxi from Kōme Station (JR Tsuyama line)
Car / Self-drive
- 55 minutes from Momotaro International Airport (Okayama) – via Route 53, 61 or 71 on the national highway
- 60 minutes’ drive from Okayama City, on Route 53 or 71 on the national highway (Okayama Interchange)
Hours / Information
- The Kamimomi rice terraces are open any time of the day, the whole week.
- Kamimomi Tanada Terrace Momi-an Café
*Thursdays & Friday 12:00 – 16:00
*Saturdays & Sunday 10:00 – 16:00
Telephone / Contact details
+81 086-866-7002 (Momian Terrace)/+81 080-9684-6019 (reservations recommended)
+81 086-728-4412 (Kumenan town tourism)