Our Story

Shonai, early 2018

The days are growing warmer, the rice is slowly growing taller; The Dewa Sanzan mountains are almost ready to be hiked. We moved here nearly a year ago, but still couldn’t believe Konbini's didn't sell a natural energy bar to fuel our outdoor adventures and satisfy our post-lunch cravings. Seeing Shonai's farmers growing some of Japan finest natural foods right in front of us, we decided to stop complaining and tried to make our own.

Starting in the Kitchen

We started in the kitchen with a tiny mixer and kept it simple: some dried fruits, good quality nuts, and Shonai’s finest brown rice - no frills attached. We didn’t know what we were doing, but we did it over and over again -improving until we were making bars that were nourishing and tasted great. A friend summed up the result neatly: 'These are special bars made in Shonai.' That's when we realized our fledgling energy bar had a name: The Shonai Special.

’’Every day is a journey, and the journey itself home’’

- Matsuo Basho on his journey through Shonai and Northern Japan

to write Oku no Hosomichi

Making it real

That summer, we teamed up with our friend and Persimmon farmer Madoka. A local designer made us a simple wrapper that we sticked on a package originally intended to hold tea leaves. We decided to give it a shot and try selling the Shonai Special at a local farmer’s market. We sold out that day and haven’t looked back since.

True to Our Origins

Yamagata's Shonai plain is a special place. This is a part of rural Japan that's imbued with history and nature. It's where farmers grow some of the country's finest natural food, and where the ancient practice of Yamabushido has been passed down the generations for centuries. We tried to capture and include some of that special spirit, and will continue to do so as we grow and expand our offering. うけたもう!

Scenes from the Early Days