中富良野の人

Living a happy family life in touch with nature

Atsushi Kato

Atsushi Kato

Born in Saitama Prefecture. His love for snowboarding made him move to Hokkaido together with his snowboard pals in 2010. He decided to settle down in Nakafurano after the birth of his first child. He opened a cafe called POLEPOLE in 2016.

A cozy cafe in the middle of the woods

In a secluded corner surrounded by trees in the Hokuseiyama district, you will find POLEPOLE, a wooden cafe that emanates a spicy fragrance. Opened in 2016, this place is run by Atsushi Kato and his wife Juran, together with their two sons. Taito, the firstborn, likes to welcome visitors with a smile, while the younger Taki likes to be carried around in his mother’s arms. The cafe also serves as their home, and the place has a warm atmosphere filled with happiness.

 

A home with a view of the Tokachidake mountains

The house was built 22 years ago, and the previous owner also used the place as a cafe, so it came fitted with a spacious kitchen, a counter table, and even large windows with a view of the Tokachidake mountains. But the house had become worn out with age, so the couple had to painstakingly clean up the place and even repaint the walls. But it was well worth the effort, as they now get to spend their days in a quiet, comfortable home with a magnificent view. Nowadays, while their young boys are off to nursery school, Atsushi and Juran spend their busy but fulfilling days managing the cafe.

 

A cafe where child-rearing mothers can relax

The cafe’s specialty is an authentic spicy curry. Atsushi creates it from a mix of base spices, based on a recipe he learned from his brother who visited India. While their food menu lists only the curry, they offer daily variations on the dish using different flavorings and ingredients. They also offer an “omakase plate” that is catered to the customer’s budget and preferences, and it has proven popular with child-rearing mothers. It was an idea by Juran, who wanted to make the cafe a place where young moms can relax with their children and fellow moms. She even placed toys and books for children to play with inside the cafe.

 

Living his passion as a snowboard instructor

Atsushi originally moved to Hokkaido for the snowboarding opportunities, and he still gets to live his passion as a part-time snowboard instructor during the winter. Atsushi always liked to share his expertise, and even his wife Juran vouches for his teaching skills. Atsushi considers it the perfect job, as he gets to enjoy the slopes while getting paid. On his days off, he likes to go backcountry snowboarding in Tokachidake in the winter, or skateboarding and surfing in the summer. He feels blessed to live in a town where he can readily enjoy his passion, having also fulfilled his dream of starting his own cafe. Juran also shares this happiness as she gets to raise their children in a stress-free environment surrounded by abundant nature.

Nakafurano Tourism Association