Sunday 9 July 2023
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Sunday 9 July 2023

Jun 24, 2023

Weekend plans? / Minagarten, Hiroshima

Developed over the past three years, Minagarten is a village-like mixed-use community area in the Minaga neighbourhood of Hiroshima, based around a renovated warehouse (writes Ben Davis). The project began when its founder, Chiharu Taniguchi, took a deep dive into the history of the area, where her family has lived for the past 430 years. For Taniguchi, the community’s well-being and way of life were central to the redevelopment of the former Shinya Farm site. “Viewing it as one big garden, I wanted to create a landscape and then incorporate houses, shops and other amenities,” she tells Monocle on a tour.

At the heart of Minagarten is the Companion Plants bakery, the first outpost of chef Ippei Sato, formerly of 365 Jours in Tokyo’s Tomigaya district. Sato and his team bake about 40 varieties of bread, from tulip-inspired buns to pistachio-cream doughnuts and chocolate croissants. The bakery services the café alongside the in-house coffee stand called Watering Duty.

The community provides diversions and delicacies for the residents but it also thrives on tempting visitors. On the building’s top floor, a hybrid retail, workshop and gallery space is managed by a team of young creators, including a woodworker, a basket weaver and a painter. At a large table surrounded by an assortment of antiques and furniture, Kanoko Nakashima is running a weekly calligraphy workshop. “Even just preparing the ink provides you with a moment of quiet,” she says. “People are so busy and often can’t find time for themselves. Calligraphy can be a form of mindfulness, bringing a hint of happiness to daily life.”

For more on how retail and hospitality can help revive a neighbourhood, read the full report in the latest edition of Monocle.

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