Sandra Isaka

BIOTOPIA Me-byo Valley in Odawara

A hidden treasure in Kanagawa Prefecture

Sandra Isaka
Sandra Isaka   - 4 min read

Located on a hillside overlooking the Ashigara Plain, BIOTOPIA me-byo valley is a true hidden treasure located near Odawara City in Kanagawa Prefecture. It was developed by the Japanese company, Brook’s Holdings Co., Ltd., in collaboration with Kanagawa Prefecture, as part of a local revitalization project and is definitely worth seeing for anyone coming to the area.

According to Brook's corporate website, “The body condition and state of mind of everyone continuously changes between health and sickness, and the status between these two is defined as ‘me-byo.’ By understanding this concept, people can bring themselves closer to a continuous healthy condition.” BIOTOPIA is a wellness facility where people can focus on healthy foods, exercise and healing.

The heart of the complex is BIOTOPIA marche, which has both a visitor center and a shopping mall. Inside this complex is "X-Plaza," a space where both adults and children can measure their fitness levels through interactive challenges. The exhibits also have basic explanations in English. The Kitchen Studio offers healthy cooking classes which are currently only in Japanese and by reservation.

Battery powered tricycles can be rented to explore the grounds of BIOTOPIA and the surrounding countryside. The cost is ¥500 for an hour, ¥1,000 for up to three hours, and ¥2,000 for up to seven hours.

There are three dining locations within BIOTOPIA marche. Kosyuen Cafe, named after the tea shop from which Brook’s originated, offers onigiri (rice balls) Japanese sweets, Japanese teas and a tasty three sake sampler set. Cafe Saint Jacques serves gourmet French me-byo cuisine that is created by Jean-Jacques Borne, an award-winning chef who works with a nutritionist to develop recipes that aim to prevent and cure illness. In addition to the delicatessen set lunch plates, this casual dining space also serves as a bakery and coffee shop. When the weather is nice, this cafe has a wonderful outdoor dining area. If you are really hungry, you can try the all-you-can-eat restaurant, Mizuho-no-Sato where diners can choose from a variety of locally sourced meat and vegetables, then cook them at their own table in traditional Japanese pots.

In addition to the restaurants, most of BIOTOPIA marche is just that, a market that sells various food and other items, most of which are related to enjoying a healthy lifestyle and/or are made by local artisans. There are fruit and vegetables, fermented and organic food, Japanese sake, wine and other imported products, traditional crafts, aromatic beauty goods and products (mostly tea and coffee) which are made by Brook’s. There is also a garden center and a pet care store.

Just outside BIOTOPIA marche are large, grassy lawns that can be used for exercise or relaxation. There is also a dog run, with a mini cafe serving doggie treats, which small to medium sized dogs can use. The entire BIOTOPIA me-byo valley complex is long and narrow, and is filled with walking paths. A ‘Forest Academy,’ offers nature related experiences and therapy including yoga, orange picking and forest bathing. Reservations are required. They are currently, however, only available in Japanese.

The largest building within the facility are the offices for Brook’s employees. There is also a building called BIOTOPIA Arena, which is a large gymnasium. When it is not being used for scheduled activities, groups and individuals can reserve the space to play volleyball, tennis, basketball, badminton, table tennis and other activities.

Getting there

BIOTOPIA me-byo valley is approximately 10 minute by bus or taxi from Shin-Matsuda Station. By car, it is five minutes drive from the Tomei Expressway Oi-Matsuda Interchange. Parking fees cost around ¥400

Sandra Isaka

Sandra Isaka @sandra.isaka

As an intercultural consultant & Japan travel specialist with 20 years in Japan, I love sharing my favorite places with others.