【Nagoya】VERMICULAR VILLAGE – Learn about Enameled Cast Iron Pots, Made in Japan
The Ultimate Vermicular Experience
Vermicular Village, which opened in December 2019 along the Nakagawa Canal in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture, is a center for the transmission of the Vermicular brand under the theme of “The Ultimate Vermicular Experience”.
At Vermicular Village, there is a “DINE AREA” where anyone can casually experience the “deliciousness of Vermicular food”, and a “Vermicular World View” and “Vermicular Made in Japan” area.
The other part is the “STUDIO AREA,” where visitors can experience the world of the Vermicular brand and “Made in Japan manufacturing” and learn more about Vermicular.
Vermicular Village aims to become a symbol of the Nakagawa Canal as a place where not only people who work with or use vermicular, but also local people and people from all over the world can easily visit and enjoy vermicular together. What kind of facility is it?
Vermicular, which has been mentioned many times since the beginning of this article, is an enameled cast iron pot born in Japan that is loved by many people, from ordinary households to chefs at famous restaurants. In 2016, the Vermicular Rice Pot became a big hit in Japan as “the world’s best rice cooker,” and many people may know its name.
And Vermicular is now available in the U.S., China, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, but how did it come about?
The best products from a small factory
Aichi Dobby, a town factory in Aichi Prefecture, was founded in 1936 and developed manufacturing precision equipment called Dobby machines, using their specialty of casting and precision machining. However, with the decline of the textile industry, the business shrank, and in order to survive, the company subcontracted the manufacture of industrial products.
The craftsmen used to proudly say, “Our dobby machine is the best in the world!” but they seemed to have lost their confidence. In order to bring back the pride and smiles of these craftsmen, the third generation brothers (Kunihiro and Tomoharu Hijikata) both quit their jobs and took over the company. They went into the casting and precision machining field themselves and learned the skills of craftsmen from the ground up, and the craftsmen and staff worked together to rebuild the factory.
According to one of the brothers, the factory was rebuilt, but the faces of the craftsmen were still gloomy.
” I wondered how I could bring pride and smiles back to the artisans, and came to the conclusion that the best thing I could do for them was to make the world’s best products.”
Thus, “Made in Japan enameled cast iron vermicular” was born, not only to bring smiles to the faces of people around the world, but also to help the artisans who work there live more vibrantly, and they continue to take on new challenges.
“DINE AREA” is a bakery and restaurant where anyone can experience the “deliciousness of vermicular cuisine.”
VERMICULAR POT MADE BAKERY
A bakery cafe where all breads are baked in a vermicular. The breads are baked in a special vermicular developed for the bakery, and the breads are round. The bread is moist on the inside and crispy on the outside. Take-out and eat-in are available. The store has a terrace along the canal that is very pleasant.
If you order up to a day in advance, they will even keep the bread for you, so you don’t have to worry about your favorite bread being sold out. They also deliver nationwide (frozen), although the variety is limited.
VERMICULAR RESTAURANT THE FOUNDRY
This restaurant is the main dining room of Vermicula Village, where you can fully enjoy the world of Vermicula.
I visited the restaurant for lunch. Lunch is served in two parts, at 11:15 and 13:30, and all seats are reserved for guests with reservations. If there are any seats available on the day of the visit, they can be reserved. I made a reservation for the 11:15 a.m. session on a weekday, but I got the impression that about half of the restaurant was occupied. If you wish to dine, I strongly recommend you to make a reservation before visiting.
The time had come, so we went inside the restaurant. The ceiling was high and the restaurant was very open. We were seated at the terrace. It was a beautiful day, so the natural light was very pleasant, and eating while looking at the calm Nakagawa Canal was a special experience. The seats were covered with transparent sheets so that no insects could come in, and the air conditioning was very comfortable.
The lunch menu is a Set Menu only. You can choose from either vermiculated bread or vermiculated rice, and a salad (soup is also available) to go with your choice of main dish. Drinks and desserts are available for an additional charge.
① Japanese beef stew cooked in a vermicular for five hours.（＋Salad & Bread）
② Fritto of sea eel with anhydrous cooked winter melon and clear tomato consommé（＋Salad, Soup & Rice）
③ Anhydrous cooked whole banana au lait (not set menu)
The salad contained anhydrously cooked chicken marinated in salted malt, and it was damn good!
When the salad came out, I saw that it was covered with a lot of cheese, which I don’t like, and I said, “Oh, that’s a lot of cheese…” But the waiter immediately suggested, “Shall I remove the cheese?” The waitress immediately asked me if I wanted to remove the cheese, and exchanged it for a salad without cheese. Good service!
My husband, who had the sea eel fritters, said that they were good but not particularly tasty, but the beef stew was excellent! Even though all the ingredients in it were cut into large pieces, it was soft and delicious in my mouth. The best part is that the beef is hollowed out and dotted around the stew. It makes me want to get a vermicular to make such a delicious dish.
We had a blissful time with beautiful scenery and delicious food.
The “STUDIO AREA” is located 120 meters away from the DINE AREA, where you can experience “the world of the Vermicular brand” and “Made in Japan manufacturing”, and learn more about Vermicular.
The restaurant is open from 11:00, but the studio area is open from 10:00 (9:00 on weekends and holidays), so we went there before lunch.
VERMICULAR FLAGSHIP SHOP
As you enter the entrance, you will find the flagship store, the only place in Japan where you can try out Vermicular products before you buy them. There are also limited edition products that can only be purchased here. When I looked at the products, I thought they were really beautiful and wonderful and I wanted to buy them, but I hadn’t even eaten a dish made with vermicular yet, so I held back.
As I was wandering around the store thinking, “Oh, they’re all so nice” then a voice said, “The rice is ready!” As I approached the voice, I was able to enjoy the freshly cooked rice.
The freshly cooked rice was so delicious that I thought I could eat several bowls of it without any rice accompaniments. I regretted that I had only taken one rice sample, thinking that we would only need one for the family. I realized that it was true what they say about “the world’s best rice cooker”. Then I heard that the increasingly attractive vermicular rice pot needs to be turned over halfway to peel off the rice from the edge as soon as it is cooked to make it easier to clean and to make it last longer. But I have a longing. I will buy one when I become a person who can live a careful life.
The library has about 3,000 books on food from around the world. You can even buy your favorite books on the spot. There are also picture books, so you can take your time to shop while your children are reading picture books.
You can also taste coffee and baked goods at the coffee stand attached to the building.
They hold cooking classes using the vermicular on a regular basis, but it seems that it is not easy to have the opportunity to participate when visiting as a tourist.
This is a workshop that develops specialized vermicular for the world’s top chefs. Periodically, you can observe vermicular craftsmen at work, and they also hold workshops for authentic manufacturing experience, but neither were scheduled on the day I visited… but I did get to see the empty workshop!
Vermicular Village was a great place to see the manufacturing process, the products up close, and to eat the food made with the products! It’s a bit far from the center of Nagoya, but it’s worth a visit.
VERMICULAR VILLAGE DINE AREA (DINE AREA)
|Address：VERMICULAR VILLAGE DINE AREA, Canal side, 4 Funato-cho, Nakagawa-ku, Nagoya, AICHI
VERMICULAR RESTAURANT THE FOUNDRY
|【Lunch】11:00 – 14:30 (L.O. 14:00)
* Lunch is served in two sessions at 11:15 and 13:30.
* All seats are reserved priority. If there are seats available on the day, reservations can be made at the store or by phone.
【Dinner】17:30 – 22:00 (L.O. FOOD 21:00 / DRINKS 21:30)
* Closed at 21:00 on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. (L.O. FOOD 20:00 / DRINKS 20:30)
VERMICULAR POT MADE BAKERY
|10:00 – 18:00
* Open for drinks only when bread is sold out.
VERMICULAR VILLAGE STUDIO AREA (STUDIO AREA)
|1st Floor, VERMICULAR VILLAGE STUDIO AREA, Canal side, 2 Funato-cho, Nakagawa-ku, Nagoya, AICHI
VERMICULAR FLAGSHIP SHOP
|【Weekdays】10:00 – 19:00
【Holidays】9:00 – 19:00