Ramen KOH, operated by KOH, is a ramen shop (Hongo-cho, Mihara City, Hiroshima Prefecture) that is run primarily by Yoko Fujii, mother and president, together with her family members and staff. After the previous president, her husband Yasuhiko Fujii, passed away at a young age, the family joined together and decided to take over the shop that he loved and carry on their father’s dream. With the support of the local community, they not only run the shop, but also are actively involved in revitalizing the community in Mihara City.
Ramen KOH is located in Hiroshima Prefecture in Hongo-cho, Mihara City. One of the
products which Mihara City is famous for is octopus.
Long ago, Mihara was a castle town that was surrounded by a shallow sea.
This shallow sea was an ideal environment for octopus, which became a well-known product of the town.
In addition to tasty ramen, Ramen KOH is also known for its “octopus rice bowl” made from Mihara octopus. This dish won the Grand Prix at the Hiroshima Food Festival 2011 in the rice bowl category. It was developed from the desire to have as many people as possible experience the sweet, soft, and yet firmly textured octopus that Mihara is proud of, and to promote the attractions of Mihara. The restaurant actively participates in events and is growing the ranks of “octopus rice bowl” fans. In order to introduce this product to people all around Japan through the internet, in cooperation with The Chugoku Shimbun newspaper, the product has been placed on the “47CLUB” EC site which introduces high-quality local products selected by local newspapers across the country.
Ramen KOH faced its greatest trial in July 2018 when western Japan was struck with flooding caused by torrential rainfall. Hongo-cho in Mihara City was flooded as a result of three days of continuous heavy rain. Around half of the one-story Ramen KOH was immersed in the muddy water.
Ramen KOH faced its greatest trial in July 2018 when western Japan was struck with flooding caused by torrential rainfall. Hongo-cho in Mihara City was flooded as a result of three days of continuous heavy rain. Around half of the one-story Ramen KOH was immersed in the muddy water. President Fujii and her staff returned to the shop after the waters receded. The inside of the shop was in a sorry state. The walls and floor were covered in mud, and tables, chairs, shelves, and supplies were lying everywhere. All of the products and kitchen equipment had to be thrown away. The shop which they had taken such good care of had been turned to rubbish.
President Fujii says that during the time immediately after the disaster, all they could think about was straightening up. In the fierce July heat, and with water supplies cut off, they used a pump to draw water from the irrigation channel behind the shop and spent each day washing out the inside of the shop with water.
President Fujii feared that reopening the shop might not be possible. However she heard the many people who said they were looking forward to eating there when the shop reopened, and decided to try and reopen the original Hongo shop. She turned to crowd-funding to cover the immense costs involved in reopening. She collected more than a million yen in funds and set out to reopen her shop.
At present, Ramen KOH is undergoing interior renovations, aiming to reopen within the year. Until the full-scale reopening, special tents and dining booths have been set up in the parking lot for provisional operation. (Reopening is planned for December 4, 2018.)
In order to restore the vitality of the local community, the family members and staff combined their energy and broke out of the restrained mood that followed the disaster. They are continuing their fight today to move forward and get back on their feet. What motivates Ramen KOH is first of all the thought of having people visit Mihara City in Hiroshima Prefecture and come to eat at the shop. When you visit Hiroshima, we hope you will take the short trip to Mihara City. We intend to continue providing support for both the reopening of Ramen KOH and the revitalization of the local community.