MATSUE – Goat burgers and homemade goat’s milk ice cream at “Lago Sento” cafe, open in August and run by a goat ranch in this western Japanese town overlooking Lake Shinji, attract customers who can’t get the unique products anywhere else. Japan.
Visitors to the cafe can also interact with the goats by feeding and patting them on the head, and it is hoped that the business will become a new tourist attraction in Matsue, the capital of Shimane Prefecture in western Japan. .
Located along National Highway 431, it takes around 10 minutes by car to reach the cafe from Matsue Station. Guests are greeted by a large statue of a goat holding ice cream and a spoon in its front hooves.
About 10 flavors of ice cream are on sale, including the most popular rich goat’s milk and another containing local kabocha squash. The products are overseen by a local restaurant chef and made by store manager Shinji Ishihara, 29, using an Italian machine. The ice cream has a smooth, sweet taste and no gamey odor.
Calls from friendly goats to entice customers to play with them can be heard outside the store. On August 20, three school-aged siblings fed two male goats aged 1 and 2. The children said the animals were “cute” and “fluffy” when they stroked the goats.
The cafe was created by the Ayamachi Group, which operates izakaya pubs and other stores in Matsue town, and also owns a goat ranch in the town. In addition to visiting daycare centers for children to interact with the goats, the group also works to breed animals for meat.
Although restaurant sales have fallen dramatically due to the coronavirus pandemic, Representative Ayako Sento has taken the plunge in developing the new business. It aims to secure sales by using a “sixth industry” initiative of having products produced, manufactured and sold by one’s own company.
Up to 250 people visit the cafe each day, and the store is so popular that ice cream sometimes sells out. The online coffee shop wholesale business, selling various products including meat for yakiniku grilling, is also said to be doing well. Sento said, “Our products appeal to everyone from adults to children. The view is also nice, so hopefully this becomes a place for everyone to congregate. ”
(Japanese original by Haruno Kosaka, Matsue Bureau)