It’s another balmy, summer day in Oita, and another Saturday to go exploring for a cafe. Just off of Highway 10 is Haruru（はるる）, a cafe that we’ve been eyeballing on Google maps. From photos, it has a “classic” Japanese-style cafe interior, with an emphasis of wood paneling and coffee bar.
Entering Haruru feels like entering into someone’s kitchen. There are green potted plants, photographs of cats tacked to the wall with tape, shelves of stacked coffee cans, and little plane mobiles hanging from the ceiling.
What also becomes clear, is that a big draw for the cafe is their shaved ice dessert (seeing that everyone in the cafe has ordered it or in the middle of eating it). It’s a deluxe version of shaved ice, with a mountain of snow with plentiful syrup, and cream dribbled on top. When an order goes in, one of the servers shuffles behind a curtain into the back room, where you can hear the whir of the ice shaving machine working away.
After ordering our coffee (which is delicious), we order our own shaved ice. We choose red shiso flavoured syrup, which seems like a strange choice considering we’re more familiar with the red mint leaf accompanying the salty/sour flavour of pickled umeboshi plums.
We aren’t disappointed. So refreshing!
Another adorable feature of this cafe is their obvious love for cats. We see Kinako, Haruru’s cat mascot, sleeping in a separate little room just off the bar.
689-1 Hōkyōji, Usa-shi, Ōita-ken 879-0454
G9G2+5M Usa, Ōita Prefecture
Monday – Sunday