The best of France and Japan in one classy chateau.

Shading eyes from the summer sun, Japanese-language reporter Masanuki Sunakoma took in his surroundings with calm, collected breaths. He was here in Kashiwa City, Chiba Prefecture, to walk down the halls of a traditional French castle steeped in history, or at least experience the likes of it.

Sure, the cozy French Quarter in Tokyo made him feel as if the Eiffel Tower was right around the corner, but no amount of fancy restaurants or cafes could match the awesomeness of what he was about to do.

▼ Arriving at his destination, a 15-minute drive from Kashiwa Station,
Sunakoma squinted at the little sign in front of him.

▼ Looking up, all breath left him in a rush as he goggled
at the lofty manor called Chateau De Comal.

Located right smack in the middle of a residential district, the building radiated extravagance and class, almost like a miniature version of The Palace of Versailles.

▼ “Am I really in Japan?” he wondered aloud.

Sunakoma approached the chateau gingerly, not wanting to sully the glory of this magnificent place with his insignificant presence.

▼ The fountain at the front caught his attention.

▼ Given the name of “Fountain of Salon Culture” by a famous Japanese actress,
the structure represented social and intellectual exchange.

An impressive taxidermy bird-of-paradise mount greeted Sunakoma at the entrance, with a description that claimed it was a gift from Sukarno, the first President of Indonesia.

▼ A castle is never complete without gifts from important people…

▼ …or flights of stairs covered in luxurious carpets.

▼ Photography was forbidden in many areas of the chateau,
but he managed to snap pictures of the opulent interior…

▼ …for some reason, of random magazines and brochures lying about the place.

▼ Everything from the vintage paintings and wall fittings
to the classic furniture spoke of a bygone era.

The owner of Chateau De Comal, who goes by the name of Mr. Takamaru, spent many years recreating 18th-century French architecture in painstaking detail.

▼ Now, Mr. Takamaru holds monthly concerts and tea parties
at the impressive venue he now calls home.

Sunakoma’s throat was beginning to feel dry when he stumbled upon a cafe of sorts, allowing visitors to refresh themselves and simply soak in the atmosphere at a leisurely pace.

Our reporter ordered “Cafe Rikyu” (US$6.50), Chateau De Comal’s signature coffee that pays homage to a historical figure who founded the Japanese tea ceremony of today. Served in a traditional matcha bowl and whipped with a matcha whisk to create froth, the beverage was a unique combination of French and Japanese cultures.

▼ What made it really delicious was the liberal use
of special Japanese sugar called wasanbon.

▼ Its mellow and aromatic flavors suited the luxurious ambiance perfectly.

It was over all too soon for Sunakoma, who made his way out of the cozy manor with much reluctance and back into the sun-baked streets of Japan. Someday he would return with friends or family for twice the fun. But until then, our reporter would be satisfying his craving for French culture with food hacks involving cheese sticks and potato snacks.

Chateau De Comal / コーマル城
Address: Chiba-ken, Kashiwa City, Higashi Kashiwa, 1-21-15
Cafe hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Images: ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]