From late spring to early autumn, if you would like to enjoy dabbling in the Setouchi Inland Sea, going to Megishima, only a 20-minute boat ride, will be your best choice. A short walk from Megijima port to Megijima camping ground will lead you to the Ogijima beach. Every summer, especially during vacation in August, people gather here, events for teenagers are hold and from everywhere laugh can be heard. Families bring seaboard, senior high school and university students swim into the sea and even some jet skis and private boats sail the waves.
However, it is regrettable that there are so few places offering space to rest, light meals, or even drinks except, the coffee shops nearby the coast in summer and the Oninoyakata Takamatsu.
Then, one day a signboard written in Japanese and English came into sight. That is the menuboard of Ryusenso, a cafe serving somen (thin noodles made of wheat flour) and drinks. Out of curiosity, I followed the signboard to find Ryusenso and find out that it would be a good reason to visit Megijima again in the future.
Following the direction and turning into a small parallel road to the coast, all the sounds from the sea and people suddenly disappear except the wind and birds. It is every time so surprising how a only few minutes’ walk could change the atmosphere drastically.
The door of Ryusenso is small but delicate. The owner is Mrs. Kume and Ryusenso was at the origin a villa belonging to her great grandfather. Recently, the building was no longer used, so Mrs. Kume decided to transform a part of the space into a cafe to offer somen, drinks, and a cozy place to the visitors coming to Megijima.
The shop is run singled-handily therefore you are asked to wait at the counter for your drink once you order it.
Walking down the corridor, a beautiful Japanese style garden with lush wisteria trellis is awaiting you. Take off your shoes, choose a seat under the wisteria to escape the heat of late summer sun, and enjoy the scenery of Setouchi Inland Sea and Yashima as a gentle sea breeze brush your skin. This simple yet delightful moment will refresh yourself without a doubt.
The Ryusenso’s drink menu is simple: coffee, beer, Japanese tea. As fall is starting green and red perilla juice is newly released as well.
Normally, green perilla is used in Japanese food like sashimi and tempura while red perilla is used to make pickled plum and rice ball. Both juices have the perilla’s typical fragrance, but red perilla is sweeter-and-sourer in mouth.
There is a small place near the window exhibiting some small and fine dorei collected by the owner’s great grandmother. Dorei is earthenware bell and a kind of traditional Japanese folk toy. The exhibition name “Demons and Water Creatures” chosen by the owner herself is referencing to the other name of Megijima: Onigashima (island of demons).
The only and limited meal served in Ryusenso is somen. The somen set is composed of rice ball, Japanese tea and wasanbon (fine-grained Japanese sugar). If you get here late or are not so hungry, you can still order somen a la carte.
Somen looks like a simple and light meal; however, Ryusenso uses hand-pulling somen from the shop named Muginawa-no-sato Masagoya(麦縄の里まさごや). In the old day, muginawa (麦縄（むぎなわ）) was called sakubei(索餅（さくべい）). It was during the Nara period, that lots of food production methods were imported into Japan from China, which was under the Tang Dynasty. At that time, sakubei meant the Tang’s fried sweet made from flour. As the milling skill growth and the cooking method changed, the name of Tang’s sweet “sakubei” evolve to “ sakumen (索麺（さくめん）)”, then to “somen” nowadays.
Somen is cooked once the order is made, so guests are required to wait about 10 minutes. The somen soaking in the tuyu (Japanese sauce) rise on the surface, covered with lots of green onion, some grated ginger and crunchy tenkasu (deep-fried flour-batter). It is the best food to increase appetite in early autumn.
Enjoying the scenery with these foods and drinks is so perfect! However, Ryusenso is only scheduled to operate until the end of Setouchi Triennale 2019. As normally only few people travel to Megijima, the owner is worried that not enough customers may visit the shop after the Setouchi Triennale make it impossible to run the business any longer.
That said, now is a good season to enjoy leisure time with the islands and the sea. If you wander to Megijima to play with water, for the Onigasjoma cave, or for the Setouchi Triennale, do not forget that there is a silent place for you to appreciate the beautiful scenery of Setouchi Inland Sea.
Access: 10-minute walk from Megijima port.
- Address: 〒760-0092 香川県高松市女木町496-2
- Business hour: 11:00~16:00, Tentatively operate until the end of Setouchi Triennale.
- Closed on: Irregular holiday, published on Instagram.
- Language: Japanese, English
- Credit card: N/A