Have a Good ‘Morning’ – Ichinomiya’s Breakfast Tradition

ByBert Wishart
Jan 29, 2021

Have a Good ‘Morning’ – Ichinomiya’s Breakfast Tradition

Japanese cuisine is well known for its delicate flavors, subtlety, and exquisite fragility. However, here in Aichi, we do things differently, and the local food is famed for its full-flavor, richness, and piquancy. When it comes to breakfast, Aichi differs noticeably from the rest of the nation. While the rest of the nation is starting the day with miso soup, tamago gohan, and natto, Aichi folk are heading out to their favorite cafes to enjoy ‘Morning,’ and perhaps the best to be found is in Ichinomiya, a short JR train ride from Nagoya.

What is a Morning Set?

If someone from Ichinomiya asks if you have had a good morning, there is a good chance that they are asking you about your breakfast. ‘Morning Service’ (モーニングサービス) can be found in cafes right throughout the city, and for the price of your cup of coffee, for no extra charge you will receive a small – or sometimes not-so-small – breakfast of some kind to accompany it.

Local legend has it that the Morning Service has its origins in Ichinomiya’s historical links to the textile manufacture trade that supplied Nagoya’s clothing and fashion sectors and many of the world’s most famous brands. In the 1950s, merchants in the industry had to be up early and required a quick meal before the markets opened. The textile machinery was so loud that conversation in factories was impossible, so workers were forced into nearby coffee shops to make themselves heard. To capitalize on this business, cafes started giving their customers boiled eggs and peanuts to accompany their coffee, and an institution was born.

For the most part, these breakfasts consist of a slice of thick-cut, fluffy toast dripping in butter and served with either sweet ogura, a sweet bean paste, or a boiled egg, a small side salad, and chawanmushi (a steamed egg hotchpotch). However, as the custom has grown in popularity, cafes have begun to compete to serve the biggest, best, and most interesting Morning Service, regularly serving late into the afternoon.

Where to get the best Morning Service?

There are absolutely loads of morning kissa [breakfast cafes] in Ichinomiya – more than 600, in fact –  and most years the city even holds a ‘morning’ festival, with stamp rallies and all sorts of extravagant menus. Unfortunately, this year the festival seems to have been curtailed due to the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t check out some of the best cafes.

Cafe Banyan tree

While not exactly conforming to the ‘morning’ standard of food coming as an accompaniment to your drink (the dishes are in addition to the price), it is a great breakfast stop. With choices including fresh fruit on toast, croquet monsieur, or the morning plate that has scrambled egg, bacon, bread, and sausage, it can be a pretty filling option.

Price: Drink 450 JPY + 400-600 JPY for the set options
Where: 2 Chome-2-1 Heiwa, Ichinomiya (map)
Website: banyantree.gremon.jp

Teppan Okonomiyaki Cafe Stage

That it has a grand piano in the cafe is not the oddest part about Teppan Okonomiyaki Cafe Stage. No, the strangest thing is that its morning sets are either French toast or okonomiyaki, Osaka’s soul food. That these are not ordinarily the happiest of bedfellows should not dissuade you. Particularly recommended is the okonomiyaki sandwich, though they only do 10 per day, so get in quick!

Price: From 400 JPY
Where: Shimodare-29-14 Tokinoshima, Ichinomiya (map)
Website: stage-cafe.com


Kayong-Chi specializes in soup – you can choose from three types – and a selection of freshly-baked bread. Cozy and comfy, it makes for a lazy morning, and, if you have a sweet tooth, there is also a dessert option. If you go for lunch, you can add a hamburger for an extra 160 JPY.

Price: 550 JPY for the basic set. Bigger (and more expensive ) options are available.
Where: Ichinomiya, Daishi, 2 Chome-4-1, Meitetsu Higashi Ichinomiya Heights 1F (map)
Website: kayong-chi.business.site

Natural Buffet Yokone

Primarily an Italian-style cuisine buffet restaurant (though the buffet is currently restricted due to the current pandemic situation), Natural Buffet Yokone also does a great morning every Friday. Their Ichinomiya Egg Morning Set includes a fluffy omelet, a freshly baked croissant, a side salad, fresh fruit, and a sweet. It’s basically a mini continental breakfast.

Price: From 450 JPY
Where: Hananogi-39-1 Asano, Ichinomiya (map)
Website: yuko-ne.com

Cafe Merneige

If it’s something a bit more decadent that you’re after, then Cafe Merneige is the one for you, and as it is a two-time winner of Ichinomiya’s prestigious Morning Grand Prix (as well as one-time runner up), we have saved the best for last. The set includes french toast, waffles, waffle sandwiches, and a whole load of other sundry items. Simple yet extravagant, finding this place is your reward for reading right to the end of this article. You’re welcome!

Price: From 500 JPY
Where: 4 Notori-106-1 Kisogawacho Sotowariden, Ichinomiya (map)
Website: merneige.com

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Image via http://www.komeda.co.jp/en/menu/morning.html
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About the author

Bert Wishart editor

Novelist, copywriter and graduate from the most prestigious university in Sunderland, Bert whiles away his precious time on this Earth by writing about popular culture, travel, food and pretty much anything else that is likely to win him the Pulitzer he desperately craves.