Ropponmatsu Guide

Tokyoites may have Roppongi as an exquisite place for them to hang out and socialize. We, the inhabitants of Fukuoka also have a similar place with a more laid-back setting, called Ropponmatsu.

Surrounded by a lot of interesting spots, you can easily choose where you feel like going at that time. If you’d like to try out different cafes, Ropponmatsu has plenty of it. Thinking to stop by the local bakeries and pastry shops, Ropponmatsu has it around their corners. And of course, the restaurants here are ready to satiate your cravings. Yums!

This time, we would like to share with you the places we visited and thought to be worth visiting. If you’re keen to explore this neighborhood, feel free to wander alone or tag your friends along!

Anyway, enjoy the read.

1. Tsutaya Bookstore Ropponmatsu (六本松蔦屋本店)

N. | Ropponmatsu 421, 2021

This is everyone’s favorite bookstore. Located just right in front of the subway station, on the second floor of the Ropponmatsu 421 building. This bookstore offers a large selection of books to read, displays of trendy goods, and what’s better is they have Starbucks inside! The perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee while reading your choice of books. The other day we sat here for 4 hours long, we wonder if any of you have sat longer than us? 😀

In October 2021, Gengoya products were featured in this bookstore with the occasion to introduce the Japanese language and culture through drawings. | N.

2. Coffee House Enoki (コーヒーハウスえのき)

N. | Coffee House Enoki, 2021

Meet Enoki-san, the cozy and stylish coffee shop owner. His Coffee House is located just right in front of Ropponmatsu Station (Exit 2), right beside Lawson convenience store. He serves various single-origin roasts, blend roasts, and other drinks including tea, cocoa, and also sandwiches. He has been managing his coffee business for around 8 years, just by himself.

Working alone does not stop him to have conversations with his customers, he is well known for his friendliness to his customers. With his vinyl records collection, you can enjoy the mood while sipping on a good coffee that he brews from a siphon. A recommended place for everyone.

3. Udon Hiyori (うどん日和)

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N. | Udon Hiyori, 2021

An authentic Japanese udon place, located a walking distance away from Ropponmatsu Station. This place is open from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm every day except on Tuesday. The shop is quite small but worry not, as their choice of menu is quite varied. If you are an adventurous foodie, give their unique topping combinations a try!

We ordered the Seafood Tempura Set and I asked for the cold udon (you can get the warm udon if you want). The udon texture is in between firm and chewy, the seafood tempuras are great, it’s the perfect set of meals and keeps you full during the day. It cost 1000yen for this set of udon and it’s a good deal! 

4. Matsu Pan (松パン)

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N. | Matsu Pan, 2021

Located a few steps away from Udon Hiyori, this small bakery sells many different types of savory and sweetbreads. Once you enter the shop, you will be welcomed by the warm staff and the smell of fresh baked goods. With so many choices of bread, we ended up with Pumpkin Cream Brioche, Cheese Damper, and the classic croissant. Every bite of their pieces of bread is comforting, surprised that they all tasted great! Definitely, a place to come back to.

5. Nico Patisserie (パティスリーニコ)

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N. | Nico Patisserie, 2021

Still located in the same neighborhood, Nico Patisserie offers various elegant-looking cakes and delicious pastries to fulfill your sweet cravings. We bought canele and choux cream as our post-cycling treats and enjoyed it at a park nearby. The canele was perfect; the flavor is rich in vanilla, crispy on the outside but very the inside is tender. Choux cream is decent, it was not too sweet nor too bland. We enjoyed both of these desserts and would love to come back to try the other pastries. 

6. Homachiame Coffee (小さな焙煎所 花待ち雨珈琲)

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N. | Homachiame Coffee, 2021

This cute little shop is located not too far from Ohori Park, making it a great choice of a pit stop for us before we go back home after our morning jog. This place is open from 11 am to 6 pm, and there wasn’t any line because we were just in time when the store is open. The atmosphere is very cozy, the store interior is appealing to the eyes, and it fits 4-6 people at the same time. Since nobody else was there, it felt like those nice silent mornings at home accompanied by a glass of Uji Matcha Latte.

These are the six places that we’ve found and thought to be worth sharing to you.

If you like what you read or if you have your own recommendations, leave your comments below!

See you on our next guide!

T.M | Ropponmatsu Guide Maps

Keep in mind that some things might change and everyone might have different experiences when they visit these places we suggested.

Tsunagaru Edutech

Mr. Pablo Riveros at Q Co-working Space Hakata, Fukuoka, Japan

Why did you start this business?

Share with us about your main service. 

We are a DX (digital learning) consulting business with the focus to provide micro-training for those who would like to improve their digital skills. We are helping people to understand the concept of technology in DX such as digital tool operations, creating online courses, and how to collect learning analytics. As a startup business, we are working in different verticals, covering not only e-learning, but also e-health, and e-commerce. 

What keeps you going when things get tough? 

The visualization of how impactful we can be and how many people we can reach if the company grows. Japan is the base of our company, but it does not stop us plan on reaching other parts of the world. As a part of the UNESCO Global Task Force in 2019, we are here to support countries to improve their online education. For me, it is not always about the money, but about what we can give back to society through our business.

What is your hope for the future of your business?

I would like to create an ever-connected society. Nowadays, it is not only about smart society nor smart cities, smart learning is also as important. I realize that there is a gap between industries and education because what students are currently learning now will most probably be gone by the time they graduate. As we are living in a very advanced society, we hope to fill in the gap with our solutions by building a better digital education.

Left: Tsunagaru Edutech at Community Radio Tenjin COMIXTEN.
Right: Mr. Pablo Riveros and Tsunagaru Edutech hybrid intern team 2021.

About: 

Tsunagaru Edutech is our digital DX consulting company with a strong international industry-academic expertise, international projects, and a solid evidence-based research approach. Our main solutions include: 1) Digital Transformation (DX) Smart E-Commerce Business Smart Engineering & Industry Smart Training & Development Smart Education Smart e-Health & m-Health Smart Work Style Smart City, Campus and Mobility 2) Micro-Credentials, Digital Badges (Using Blockchain Technology) 3) EdTech or EduTech (educational technologies) and build advanced digital learning content 4) Virtual Training Platform (Tsunagaru Academy) is our learning management system to develop micro workshops, training, and certified skill.

Instagram @tsunaagaruedutech

Website www.tsunagaru-edutech.com

Senka Studio

Let’s read their stories

Why did you start this business?

We wanted to provide a better design experience for more people in general in Indonesia. When we first started the business, most of the good designs were exclusively aimed at certain criteria of business/people. However, during our trip to Japan, we could find a lot of good designs anywhere making it look like it is a part of their culture – that is where the inspiration came from.

What is the most important lesson you get from being an entrepreneur?

If we have to pinpoint that one important lesson throughout the years of growing our business, that would be realizing life is more than just work. It is very easy to get so engaged in it that we neglect other parts of our lives. Mental health, maintaining relationships, and our personal life is just as important. For the last few years and perhaps because of the pandemic, we have managed to improve these areas of our lives while still hustling.

Senka Studio x Djojo

What keeps you going when things get tough?

The smile on our clients’ and their customer’s faces when they experienced the design.

Senka Studio x Yoisho

What do you want to improve next?

We are thinking to expand our business to the international market and moving our base office from Indonesia to Japan. We hope to sell interesting, おしゃれ (Oshare), and fun products to collaborate with other designers and manufacturers. Not forgetting to focus on more sustainable and eco-friendly design solutions for our planet.

Senka Studio x Ban Ban

What do you want to share with the world?

That our company delivers happiness to people through good designs. Seeing our clients’ and their customers’ reactions keeps us going. It has been our way to give back to our community, society, and our planet.

Senka Studio x TeaxTapioca

About:
Hi! We are Senka Studio / センカ・スタジオ, a design studio based in Jakarta. Founded by two visual workers, Sebastianus Seno (Sen) and Fransiska Eka Valentina (Ka) have been working with both local and international clients since 2013. We are very passionate about delivering a personalized and exciting design for our clients, focusing more on branding and identity.

Website www.senkastudio.com 

Instagram @senkastudio

The first dopang talk event

We will celebrate our first anniversary this month. We rewarded ourselves by arranging the first dopang talk event: How to Connect your Career to Japan last week on Saturday, June 5th, 2021 at You Are Here, Fukuoka, with limited participants and online via zoom. By having this event, we want to share useful information that can help people interested in working or setting up a business in Japan to communicate better with their current or future Japanese colleagues.

To warm-up for the main session, we played Gengoya Card together. Glad to see that everyone was enjoying the game as much as we did.

The main session speaker was Teruki Sekiguchi who has vast working experience as an HR expert in several multinational Japanese companies. We especially relate with the “culture fit” and “culture add” parts. Foreigners integrating into the local community must be aware that they should try to blend in but at the same time keep their identity so they can add a fresh perspective and add what is lacking in the society where they are currently in.

After the talk, we continued with a small networking event, where Sekiguchi-san himself brewed Indonesian coffee from Kopi Toko Djawa and Kopi Kohlie (we hand-carried the beans all the way from Indonesia!).

COVID-19 has changed our life tremendously and affects international relationships significantly. Even without the travels, we hope the spirit of the global community and diversity do not fade away because of the pandemic.

Last but not least, we would like to give our thanks to our partners: You Make It that continuously supports foreign workers in Fukuoka, Senka Studio with its design insights, and also PPI Fukuoka, a group of bright Indonesian students who we believe can represent Indonesian young generation in Japan, especially in Kyushu.

Dentayori Pilot Project

Five days quarantine in Indonesia, five PCR tests in total, one road trip from Jakarta to Surabaya, three weeks of WFH in Surabaya, and now, 14 days home-quarantine in Fukuoka awaits.

All of the above are compensated by the start of Dentayori pilot-project at cipta d.lab on April 8th, 2021!

The participants from cipta d.lab

Dentayori, a project we started together with You Make It and Tsunagaru Edutech at the end of last year, with the support of Hakata Medical School is a hybrid learning space for dental enthusiasts. We are so thankful that we could pitch this project at Fukuoka Business Digital Content Awards 2021 and also SF Pitch Night 2021. It is really a project full of amazing coincidences.

Together with the sensei-s from Hakata Medical School

The word “Dentayori” comes from デンタル(dental) and 頼り(tayori: which means “reliance” in Japanese). We hope our platform can be an inclusive place for the cross-disciplinary, modern dental community. Not only for the existing players but also for the future generation. 

Our goal is to support people to create a better working environment and teamwork in the dental industry since we believe their well-being is one of the keys to high-quality dental treatments and patients satisfaction.

We will continue to do our best for this project and embrace the uncertainties that might come with curiosity and open minds. Please wish us the best and feel free to contact us if you want to know further about this project.

Specimenwerk

We had the chance to talk to Danis Sie, founder of Sciencewerk about one of his side businesses: Specimenwerk, a pot and planter specialist brand. Based in Surabaya, Indonesia, it has produced not only its own ceramic planters but also collaborated with artists all around the world. It has loyal fans from many countries, including Japan. We can’t wait to support Specimenwerk in exploring the Japanese market further!

Danis Sie, the founder of Specimenwerk.

Why did you start this business?

Specimenwerk is actually an unplanned business. It started from my hobby to collect succulent and caudiciform. It was hard to find matching planters for proper staging. Then, I started to order customized planters from local ceramic artists. Along the way, I also got inspiration from some Japanese ceramic brands.

What is the most memorable story, good or bad, related to your business?

The bad side (although rarely) is when you send things to customers and the ceramic is broken to pieces.

The good side is where we can experiment and collaborate with ceramic artists to create something experimental, even to hold a Botanical Exhibition & Plant staging last year (2020) which is rather unexpected for the Indonesian market.

Inhabitat Exhibition in Milieu Space Surabaya

What is the most important lesson you get from being an entrepreneur?

Read market demand, build a niche market for the business, create an effective, cost-efficient system, utilize online platforms and technology. Collaboration is also very important.

What keeps you going when things get tough?

My Kids & Bank Account. When things get tough, just have a little pause, think, and pivot!

What is your favorite leisure activity?

Gardening, Nature, Arts, Ceramics. Mostly gardening.

What is your hope for the future, for your company, and for your business field in general?

Multi-country expansion, collaboration with more artists and partners from overseas with the same visions or interests. I hope to share the art of botanical staging and blend the world of botany and ceramics into one.

One of Specimenwerk’s Planter

About

Specimenwerk project focus on art plants, planters, and objects made by artists and designers. Our team working closely with local growers, collectors, artists, illustrators, craftsmen to designers. Every plant, planters, and object is unique, and observing each detail is one way to appreciate its story behind it. The relationship between humans and plants has always been profoundly important. Our notion of Patience + Conserve is based on the most important part of any gardening journey: to enjoy caring for your plant, to be patient, and to appreciate every tiny progress. Specimenwerk project is created by Sciencewerk to promote multidisciplinary collaboration in the botanical industry, art & crafts.

www.specimenwerk.net 
+6281330355990
IG @specimenwerk

You Make It

You Make It is an organization that supports foreigners who want to work in Japan, founded by Kenji Umeki. It is based in Fukuoka, with more than 120,000 Facebook Page likes from around the world. Here are further stories about You Make It.

Kenji Umeki – founder of You Make It

Why did you start this business?

When I was 35 years old and had not started my company, I met 16 foreign students from Vietnam. I trained them to prepare CVs and to practice for job interviews. When they passed the interview and became engineers in a big company in Japan, I was so glad to the point that I shed happy tears. It was something that I have not experienced before but I want to experience more, therefore I created this company to support foreigners who want to work in Japan wholeheartedly.

Some people who inspired you to be a founder?

Suyama-san, one of You Make It’s directors. Without him, I think You Make It would not have existed. Another one is not business related, dr. Tetsu Nakamura, a Japanese humanitarian doctor who was shot during his service in Afghanistan.

Please share your thoughts about being a founder.

I think it is important to have personality, be honest, and be yourself. I am happy that by running this company, I, being born and bred in Japan, who did not have any experience with foreigners, now can meet and work with people from around the world. However, there are also hurdles related to funding the company while making sure that the activities are aligned with the company’s ideals.

Seminar for students

What are the main services of your company?

You Make It provides free of charge support for foreigners who are looking for work in Japan but face difficulties to find one. We also organize online meetups regularly so they can communicate with native speakers and learn more about Japanese culture. We recently launched TSURU (https://tsuru81.jp/), a platform to share information about working and living in Japan for foreigners. We also offer services for companies in Japan who want to employ foreigners.

Sometimes it is not easy, but we always keep going since we have the responsibility to earnestly help the people who are in trouble and rely on our support. 

What do you have in mind for the future?

I wish many people can be positive and have hope that the world is changing to be better. II want to create opportunities for people around the world to dream. Hopefully, I can meet companies that care about people and treat their employees well. 

youmakeit.jp
jimukyoku@youmakeit.jp
FB: facebook.com/youmakeit.jp

Meet Taipei – Online Pitch

I had the chance to pitch Gengoya, one of our project, at 2020 Meet Taipei Online together with other fellow startups from Europe and Asia. Can’t wait until I can be there in person (it has been too long since my last visit in 2007). I recommend you to watch the whole event, but if you want to skip directly to Gengoya, fast forward to 2:16.

Since I moved to Japan in March 2020, I have done 3 online pitches within 8 months. FGN Online Meet Up in July, Founders Live Fukuoka in October, and this one just before dinner yesterday.

Look how COVID-19 has led the world’s digital transformation. I used to spent my days in front of computer since I was 13 and got scolded for that. Who would have thought that less than few decades later, people have to, and even get paid a lot to do that to get paid (See mom & dad, your daughter knows best!). Even medical practitioners are expected to be able to navigate online.

I think presenting offline still feels much better and impactful to built a solid network, but, on the surface, wide network, the internet can give also has its own merit. Even though most fades away, I am still in touch with some of my online friends I met at mIRC during my middle school days.

Isn’t it quite awesome to experience being connected to so many people, without border, just by sitting and talking to your computer? Afterwards, you can easily reach out to people you are interested in using words and images. Of course they might not reply, but some actually will, and it can be a start of a meaningful relationship. What about you? How do you feel about networking online?

KYUB

Milieu – One of the projects designed and produced by KYUB

KYUB is a design studio and printing company based in Bandung, Indonesia. Being active in social media has helped the company to expand its client base. Now, its clients are not only from Indonesia but also from other countries such as Australia, Singapore, and Japan. We interviewed Andre Liongson, one of the co-founders below.

Why did you start this business?

I graduated from design school and highly passionate about art and design. When I worked in a design company, I learned that design and printing can not be separated. It is an enjoyable achievement when the design can be executed and translated into printed products. Therefore, my interest in printing started to grow. Unfortunately, many designers feel that the production process is a barrier to their creativity.


Once I met with Ferdi and Glenn, friends with a similar idea, to create a bridge between design and production, we decided to work together and grow KYUB to be a creative studio which can show out of the box ideas can be accepted and understood by a general audience.

Kyub founders (from left): Andre, Ferdi & Glenn

Tell us about one of the creative people that inspired you to start.

I am inspired by my previous managers. There were 3 founders in the company where I worked at. All of them are independent women who are very passionate in what they do. Each of them has distinct roles: design, color & illustration, and business. I learned from my time there that creative industry is very broad, not limited by age, and not like in the past, it is now considered a primary need.

What are your main product/service?

Idea, design and printing. Our slogan is “Idea, design & production under one roof”, which means that we give a holistic service to client, starting from the idea to start a project, visually develop before producing it and show a tangible result to general public. It is important that the idea becomes something that is not only well-designed, but also effective and usable.

What is your typical workday schedule?

I am a morning person. I usually wake up at 6am, get ready to start and work at the studio from 8 am. Between 6-8am, I make sure I get breakfast. It is my mood-boosting ritual that I never missed. I work until 6/7pm then hangout with my team until late.

What is your hope for the future?

I hope to appeal to a larger audience and go global, strengthen KYUB identity so it can be easily differentiated from other design studios. I want to share designs that we make in our small studio in Bandung can be impactful in the world.

Haru – One of the projects designed and produced by KYUB https://worldofharu.com/

www.kyub.co
hi@kyub.co
IG: instagram.com/kyubstudio
Twitter: twitter.com/kyubstudio (in Japanese)