During the first few weeks of the new year, I had a few friends from America visiting Japan and they’re big fans of the Initial D series so I figured since the manga was set in Shibukawa and other areas of the Gunma prefecture, where I happen to reside, why not kill two birds with one stone?
The location of the D’z Racing Cafe Garage is located Shibukawa at the base of Mount Haruna. The cafe is owned by 51-year-old automobile fan Makoto Okada and was opened with the intention of being a hotspot for fans of automobiles and the Initial D series to meet and relax.
It’s rather exciting to visit D’z Racing Cafe Garage since you are at the base of Mount Haruna (described as Mount Akina in the manga) where all your favorite characters from the series raced.
Once you enter inside the cafe you can tell a lot of thought went into the interior and design. The store clerk told me that a lot of foreigners often visit because of the Initial D series and that I came at a good time because it wasn’t busy due to the Tokyo Auto Salon 2019 event was on-going.
I tried the tofu pudding and a Baumkuchen shaped like a tyre. I’m a big fan of tofu so it was super delicious and refreshing. When I visit again in the future I will definitely try all the different types of pudding and will do an updated post.
Here are a few more pictures of the cars outside.
Did you know that the Fujiwara Tofu Shop is actually based on a real shop? It was named the Fujino Store Tofu Shop and ran by the Fujinoki family. The signboard was only changed to Fujiwara Tofu Shop (藤原豆腐店) in 2005 for the Initial D Live Action movie and stayed that way since.
Sadly the tofu shop owner passed away in 2008 due to sickness which eventually led to the shop officially closing its doors in 2009 and being demolished in 2010.
Two years later the legendary tofu shop was restored and brought to life in the Ikaho Toy, Doll and Car Museum (Yokota Museum). The museum also features various collectables related to the series.
If you’re in Japan, I highly recommend visiting both places!