Visitors shouldn't expect regular food at a restaurant that has opened near Mount Asama. The items served here are an array of emergency meals that are tastier than many people might think.
The restaurant, called Kazan, is housed within the Asama volcano museum in the village of Tsumagoi, Gunma Prefecture. The museum is run by the neighboring Naganohara town government to convey the history of Mount Asama's eruptions and its volcanic mechanism.
The restaurant offers about 15 kinds of emergency foods, including carbonara and aglio olio e peperoncino pastas, as well as dishes such as fried rice and dried curry with rice. Customers prepare the meals by pouring hot water into the pouches they are contained in and waiting between three and 15 minutes for them to be ready.
They can even customize their dishes to make rice porridge or risotto if they pour in more hot water than instructed.
A single meal is priced at around 500 yen (about $4.87). There is a bigger variety of emergency foods these days, and Kazan is keeping up with the trend. The restaurant has about 90 seats, and customers can eat outside overlooking the grandiose landscape of Mount Asama, or even take food to go.
In June 2015, Mount Asama erupted for the first time in about six years. It was a minor eruption and the volcano currently does not show any major signs of an eruption. However, the volcanic alert has been raised to Level 2, meaning an about two-kilometer (about 1.2 mile) radius around the crater remains off-limits.
The eruption saw a flood of cancellations from tour groups at the museum, located about four kilometers away from the crater, and the annual number of visitors eventually decreased to about 30,000 in fiscal 2015 from about 50,000 a year earl
The museum closed its two restaurants in November that year, and Kazan was opened to take advantage of the underutilized space. Serving only emergency food means the restaurant does not face the cost of employing chefs and waitresses, said Masakazu Sakurai, an official at the Naganohara town government in charge of the museum's administration. "Any variety of emergency food today tastes good," Sakurai said. "I hope this idea attracts visitors to our museum and that they use [their experiences of emergency food here] as a chance to stock it at home."
Satake Corp., an emergency food maker based in Higashi-Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture, said the company has never heard of a restaurant that only serves emergency food. "We'll be happy if this drive can boost interest in emergency food," a spokesperson said.© 2016, The Washington Post(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)