The last time I saw this place, it was a dilapidated house, the sort typically found abandoned in the Japanese countryside. The rundown premises were surrounded by wild plants that seem to be waiting for their chance to overtake the property.
That was five years ago.
This month, I went by the place and was astounded to see it completely transformed and practically unrecognizable. In the place of the more than 60 year old ramshackle folk house and shed are a trendy cafe, co-working space, and multifunction event area.
The sunlit wood deck had a long table with tall chairs facing the Koma River, and already, there were customers sipping their coffee while working on their laptops, the picturesque river a ready source of insight or break.
Welcome to Cawaz, born of a dream inspired by one of the most bucolic locations in Hidaka, Saitama. Ideally located near Hiwada Mountain, Kinchakuda (purse-shaped fields), and the winding Koma River, Cawaz Base is a gathering spot for hikers, cyclists, or people who simply find pleasure in spending time in nature.
After an active day outdoors, Cawaz Base has showers for those who want to freshen up before the journey home. The cafe partnered with MyMizu, an initiative to reduce plastic bottles. MyMizu affiliates are eco-conscious businesses where people can freely go to refill their water bottles. And those who want to still play and relax more can book the tent sauna or borrow the paddle board (inquire with the staff for these services).
But the heart of Cawaz is the cafe. Stepping inside, you still see the original beams of the house. The interior is warm. Sunlight pours in from big sliding glass panels on the south side, while the north side is kept warm by a wood stove by a Czech maker. The menu consists mostly of drinks and a few light snacks.
There were also items not on the regular menu. On our visit, we were attracted to photos of raw cake, which are vegan cakes that minimize the use of processed sugar and are not baked. We ordered the cacao apple raw cake and it was absolutely divine. Occasionally, Cawaz shares its kitchen and special lunch buffets are held. Check out the website and the calendar for these food events.