Smooth jazz and coffee in Kurume, Japan

When travelling through any city in Japan I always look for a kissaten, a traditional Japanese cafe. I find they are ideal places to unwind, relax and  ponder about your travels ahead. At kissatens you are bound to meet locals from whom you can learn about the city you are in.  Regular customers often walk in and gather to discuss the daily news and events of the day.

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I always prefer to sit by the counter to closely watch the kissaten master prepare a filter coffee and slowly take in the coffee aromas. On my recent trip to Kyushu in Japan my first stop was Kurume, a smaller city just outside Fukuoka City. Not far from Kurume train station there is a nice kissaten called Eight Modern. At first glance it looks more like a jazz bar with it’s welcoming saxophone sign.

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As soon as you walk in you are politely welcomed by Mr Tsutomu Ide who announces your entry by saying irasshai. He smoothly walks over to your table with a cold glass of water and you are easily swayed to your chair by the cool sounds of jazz played in the background.  Mr Ide has been running Eight Modern for over 45 years.

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He opened his cafe when he was still a university student in Fukuoka. He is a true local, born in Kurume, with a passion for art and jazz music. There’s nothing he doesn’t know about jazz, part of his walls are covered with jazz vinyl records, he says he holds more than two thousand jazz albums. He loves to paint and some of his works are up on the walls. We see a painting of Tony Bennett, Armstrong and one dedicated to a customer that he is fond of. Eight Modern is the second oldest Kissaten in Kurume, ask any local on the street they will point you to this place. He often holds live jazz events, the cafe is filled to the roof he says. Jazz musicians often visit his cafe and he proudly showed us some photos with famous people who have spent some time here.

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His filter coffee is strong, smooth and aromatic that it’s hard to say no to a second cup. He has an extensive menu  that includes fresh local ingredients he sources daily. Some of the choices are bento boxes with miso soup, japanese curry, japanese style pastas, pizzas, salads and the local favourite is UFO, an omlette topped with japanese curry. I couldn’t make room for this novelty dish, but I’m sure there will be a next time.

Eight Modern

10-43 Mutsumon machi Kurume, Fukuoka 830-0031

Hours: 11am – 11pm

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