10 facts about Tomonaga - The most popular bakery in Beppu (Part 1)
In business since Taisho 5th year (創業大正五年), Tomonaga has been the renowned bakery in Beppu over 100 years of history. Thanks to the countless reviews and good comments from customers, Tomonaga has nominated as one of the Top 100 most delicious bakeries in Japan and its red bean bun (Anpan) is second to none.
It is said that "Half of the bread is still the bread, but half of the truth is not the truth".
In many reviews about Tomonaga, it is being "generally promoted" with 3 features: "Very delicious, very old age and very famous". However, it is still not enough! For me, that is just "half of the truth". The rest part (not everything) is based on each person's feelings, including me…
Are you ready to follow me to discover "the half of the truth" of this bakery?
1...2...3...Here comes the first door...
#1: Its super large parking lot
Whenever the store opens, this area becomes busy and crowded. You can feel how "hot" it is by seeing the long line of people queuing in front of the store every day. It very well explains for the reason why it has up to 3 car parks with the support of one enthusiastic guard. Every parking lot is always filled to capacity which is about 5-7 slots because there are too many people coming to buy bread! Each space has a "signature seal" of the store: 友 ("Tomo") as a way to mark its territory.
Tomonaga's spacious parking lot "wins outright" the parking area of other combini stores or supermarkets in Beppu.
#2: How to know the store is closed or opened?
Despite being their customer for almost a year, I still get confused the closing time with the opening time. Because of being so frustrated with my "fish's memory", I decided to find my own way to recognize if the store is open today.
After a dozen times visiting the store, I finally learned a "valuable experience": If you can see a well-built guard with a black cap, blue cloth with reflective waistcoat who is waving a small stick to guide the way to the car park in front of the store, then congratulations: the store is open! And, conversely, when you do not see him or the line of the people standing to wait for buying bread, then you should go back home ...because it is closed!
#3: Meaning of the name "Tomonaga"
"Tomonaga" is created from "FRIEND"( 友) and "PERMANENT" (永), so it means "A long-term friendship". And its most important bond is "a lasting relationship" with customers. In addition, a circle with the letter "Tomo" (友) at the center is the store's unique seal which implies the desire to have a successful business and get a lot of customers. With that belief, the owner of the store uses this "circle of friendship" as a logo on the packaging and also "a territorial seal” in the parking lot.
Created from "FRIEND" (友) and "PERMANENT" (永), the store name means "A long-term friendship”. Among all, the most important thing is to maintain "a lasting relationship" with customers.
#4: Its original signboard
Its original signboard is a wooden panel stuck between 4 old windows. The special thing of this signboard is that both of the words "Tomo" (友) and "Pan" (パン, means Bread) were carved from stone. That is why though it has partially faded over time through many ups and downs, it is still durable and firm which shows the store's vitality for decades.
#5: Fluffy loaves breads behind the glass window
Those who have come here, even for the first time, must feel something that invades their nostalgic memory. It is the old charming beauty of the store.
Its beauty comes from the warm amber walls, the black stained wood door and the weather-beaten glass windows. You find some trays of bread are decorated in a rustic style in a half-timbered cabinets. Also, there are a few things which turn this seemingly quiet atmosphere to be very vibrant: lovely handmade price tags, menus and some cute notices which are colored and handwritten with great care.
Because of the rustic materials and the subdued colors, the mixture of the stillness and the liveliness recalls lots of memories about the beauty of the culture for many many customers. For me, this store arouses an indescribable interest: it is when I am gazing at the fluffy bread lying quietly like furry kitties through the glass window. So excited!
Are you wondering how valuable this bakery store is to the local people? Maybe "Tomonaga" is not only an age-old store but also has other eternal values? Let's follow me to find the remaining "half of the truth" in the next part!
Tomonaga bakery store
- Opening: 08:30 - 18:00, Monday to Sunday
- Price: 70 yen - 300 yen
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