Imagine a world of beautiful green landscapes, filled with delicious sweets, and driven by an innovative concept… How perfect is that? To find this wonderful place, look no further than ‘La Collina Omihachiman’, located in Omihachiman (Shiga Prefecture) near the beautiful lake Biwa. Our team had the chance to visit La Collina Omihachiman a few weeks ago and we were rendered speechless. Get ready to add this Ghibli-like paradise to your to-visit list for your next trip to Japan!
Let’s get more information about the full concept of La Collina Omihachiman from Akari Nishida san, who is in charge of the press at Taneya Group.
Hi Nishida san, thank you for your time today! Could you please introduce yourself and share a little about the company’s history in Shiga?
Thank you for having me today! My name is Akari Nishida and I am in charge of the press here at Taneya Group.
Taneya Group is the largest confectionery manufacturing and direct sales company in Japan, and we’re based in Omihachiman in Shiga Prefecture.
We own the Japanese Confectioneries Department ‘Taneya’, founded in 1872, as well as ‘Club Harie’, founded in 1951, which is famous for its Baumkuchen. We have 11 direct sales stores in Shiga, and 36 stores all over Japan. In 2015, we opened La Collina Omihachiman, which is the flagship store for Taneya Group.
The full concept is amazing! Can you please tell us more about the whole project? Who and what was the origin of the idea? What is the story behind La Collina Omihachiman?
The theme of La Collina Omihachiman is “a place where people love nature, learn from nature, and get together”. As we run a confectionary business, our staff have developed a deep appreciation towards the valuable natural ingredients that are used in producing our sweets.
La Collina Omihachiman is the work of architectural historian Terunobu Fujimori, who engaged in many discussions with Mr Yamamoto, CEO of Taneya Group, to shape La Collina Omihachiman into its current form. The concept of La Collina Omihachiman is based on the Italian word ‘collina’, which translates to ‘hill’. Made from natural materials, the main shop features a roof covered with grass (shaped as a hill) that integrates with the scenic mountainscape spreading behind. As La Collina Omihachiman was created with the intention to be a place for gathering and interaction between people and nature, its main symbol is the ‘ant’ – social creatures which have lived in harmony with nature for millions of years. In fact, the ceiling is densely covered in numerous pieces of charcoal to imitate ants and pay tribute to the important meaning behind the symbol.
Not only is La Collina Omihachiman a beautiful and UNIQUE place to visit in Shiga Prefecture, but it is also a nice spot to get delicious food. Can you please tell us more about the factory and sweets shop?
There are three areas in La Collina Omihachiman.
1 – Main Shop (Kusayane: Grass Roof)
The Grass Roof building is the flagship store for the Taneya Group. Our Japanese Confectioneries Department is located on the first floor of the spacious atrium. On the same floor, you can also find our Western Confectionaries Department, Club Harie, which is famous for its baumkuchen. In a nature-themed cafe on the second floor, you can enjoy our freshly baked baumkuchen.
2 – Castella Shop (Kurihyappon: Hundred Chestnuts)
Decorated with more than 100 chestnut trees, this store makes you feel as if you were in a chestnut forest. While watching castellas being baked before your eyes, you can enjoy the delicious ‘Castella’ created by Mr Yamamoto, as well as the store’s limited-edition ‘Hachiman Castella’ made with a light and fluffy dough.
3 – Food Garage
The Food Garage is where we forge the future of Taneya Group. In this area, you can discover new delicacies that transcend the boundaries of Japanese and Western styles. Alongside various seasonal sweets, you can try other popular foods such as ‘Arancino’ (our take on the Sicilian rice croquette), and the ‘Baumkuchen parfait’. You can also buy products from Club Harie at the Gift Shop.
It must be a unique place to work! Who works at the factory and how does it work together with the store?
As we want everybody to taste our freshly made delicious sweets, we built two ‘Shop-in Factories’ on the premises that consist of a factory inside the store. At the shop-in-factory, customers can enjoy eating Baumkuchen or castella while watching the whole process of the products being made in the factory through the glass. The staff working in the factory are talented craftsmen who have cultivated their skills for many years. They carefully bake our products every day for customers to enjoy. As the craftsmen can see the customers directly through the glass, they often say that the daily interactions increase their motivation to bake delicious sweets.
The Food Garage includes stores with very surprising designs! Could you please tell us more about that? Where did the double-decker bus come from?
The Gift Shop is inspired by Mr Yamamoto’s trip to the United States. If you look around the store, you will find many interesting discoveries. The double-decker bus in the Gift Shop is from London, and it sells macarons. Last year, we opened a store called ‘pink’s’ next to the Gift Shop. The kitchen-trailer design makes it look as though it has just driven out of the Gift Shop!
Are a lot of travelers or foreigners living in Japan coming to visit La Collina Omihachiman? Why do you think inbound travelers should come to the region and visit your factory and sweets paradise?
As the scenery and our confectioneries change according to the seasons, you can experience the four seasons of Japan with all five senses whenever you visit La Collina Omihachiman. We hope that people from around the world will come to La Collina Omihachiman to see the beautiful nature and try our delicious sweets.
Although it hasn’t been possible recently due to the spread of COVID-19, many travellers have visited La Collina Omihachiman before. For example, tourists from Asia came every day on tour buses.
Taneya Group is one of Japan’s leading Japanese and Western confectionery companies. We are very particular about selecting natural ingredients for every product. La Collina Omihachiman has all of Taneya’s products, so please visit us to try any sweets that you are interested in. You can also gift your favourite sweets to your family and friends as souvenirs.
Is there a way for people to purchase your delicious treats outside of Shiga Prefecture?
There are stores located in Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, and Fukuoka. Speciality products are sold at each store. You can also visit our online shop, which is limited to Japan.
As a culinary company we can’t help but ask you a food-related question! What do you think is the best food to have in Shiga Prefecture?
You can find the best sweets at Taneya and Club Harie!
There are also many specialty products in Shiga such as omi beef and funazushi, as well as regional specialties such as saba somen from Nagahama and aka konnyaku from Omihachiman.
Is there anything else you’d like to add for our readers and travelers interested in visiting Japan and the lake Biwa area?
When many people think of Japan, they tend to focus on Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima. However, if you want to explore Japan more deeply, I recommend visiting Shiga. It used to be the capital of Japan and was a very prosperous area. When you come to Shiga, please visit La Collina Omihachiman and our other Taneya and Club Harie stores! There are 11 stores in Shiga, and each store has its own sweets and cafe menu.
We run our business with the concept of sampo-yoshi (translating to ‘three-way satisfaction: good for the seller, good for the buyer, good for society) that has been cherished among businesses since the Edo period in this area. We hope to provide satisfaction for all customers so that they can have a wonderful time at La Collina Omihachiman!
Thank you very much for your time! Our team can’t wait to visit La Collina Omihachiman again!
Follow them on:
Online shop: https://shop.taneya.co.jp/
Taneya / Club Harie https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBX_mcHHdBLKX4R9Iqg090A
Grand chef (CEO) of Club Harie https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo0ysg_8F8UES7FdpA4NLjw
Contact email: email@example.com (direct email for press department)