中富良野の人

An auberge that strives to offer authentic taste and sustainability

Kosuke Sato

Kosuke Sato

Born in Tomakomai City. He worked for a company in Tokyo for over 5 years before becoming a lodge manager, where he got started in the culinary arts. He honed his craft in Italian and French restaurants before finally opening Auberge erba stella with his wife Michiko in July 2013. He is also an experienced snowboard instructor who once spent two entire winters in the slopes.

Looking for the perfect place for a lodge

Kosuke always dreamed of owning a lodge with a field and garden in Hokkaido. He wanted a place that was surrounded in vast scenery yet was convenient to live in and had facilities for snowboarding. As he was searching the Furano and Biei area for a suitable spot, he came upon the Shikauchi Nojo district of Nakafurano Town. After moving there with his wife in 2012, they started working on their crop field as their dream lodge was being built. Even today, they make it a point to practice sustainable farming, returning grass clippings and vegetable scraps to the soil while gradually expanding their field without burdening the surrounding environment. They do not use chemical fertilizers, as Kosuke believes that their only purpose is to increase efficiency. He also says that the same applies to food additives, and prioritizing efficiency in cooking will always result in diminished flavor.

 

What we find delicious is what our body craves

The couple operate the auberge by drawing on each other’s strengths. Kosuke is in charge of the lodge’s structural and interior design, the cuisine, and other aesthetic points. Michiko on the other hand takes care of management, marketing, and servicing the guests, making use of her past experience as a recruitment manager. One of the main attractions for many guests is the cuisine. Both Kosuke and Michiko are certified Vegetable Sommeliers, and they like to serve truly delicious dishes made with organic ingredients. They acquire some ingredients from trusted producers in Hokkaido, but they grow most of their vegetables by themselves, cultivating over 100 different kinds throughout the year without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Michiko proudly says that even guests who are feeling out of sorts will surely feel better after eating the dishes they offer.

 

Wintertime in the auberge

The Furano area is a highly popular sightseeing destination, and work at the auberge is hectic from the Golden Week in late April until October. The couple barely have time for themselves during this period, which is why they are particular about how they spend their winters. Every year in November, they travel outside of Hokkaido, visiting various restaurants, inns, and farms as a way to relax and to see things from the guest’s perspective. They also sometimes hold miso making or cooking classes in order to share their ideas on food. It is also during winter that they usually spend time with friends who share their values on life.

 

The first place in Hokkaido to be a certified BIO HOTEL

In 2018, Auberge erba stella started using organic materials for their amenities. This has led them to be certified by BIO HOTELS JAPAN as a BIO HOTEL, becoming the first in Hokkaido (and the third in the country). This title attests to the lodge’s health consciousness and environmental friendliness. One of the conditions for the certification is using organic for at least 75% of their ingredients, but for the couple, this was something they had always strived for right from the start. For them, deciding to come to Nakafurano and run the auberge the way they do, offering natural and delicious food are all a matter of course. This uncompromising but polite hospitality is something many of their guests find truly pleasant and reassuring.

 

 

Nakafurano Tourism Association