Jul 2, 2012

Mr. Kunio Urushihara, G.M. of Jigokumushi Kobo Kannawa

We will never say, "No."

Mr. Kunio Urushihara, General Manager of Jigokumushi Kobo Kannawa (Kobo), put a stress on captioned phrase. In the daily kick-off meeting which is held every morning, Mr. Urushihara emphasizes his motto to his staff; No.1 Politeness. No.2 Smile. No.3 Never say, "No" attitude.

Kobo provides the opportunity to learn the unique way of cooking using natural hot spring steam. This cooking method is called Jigokumushi, or the steaming by the steam of hot spring. Local people of old days connected the wild appearance of high temperature hot springs with Jigoku or the hell in English. In Kannawa area, as plenty of natural hot springs were developed, people started to use the hot springs for the medical treatment purpose.

Since hundreds years ago, tourists from all over Japan visited Kannawa to have medical therapy using hot spring. In many "tojiyado", inns providing hot spring therapy, Jigokumushi cooking was introduced and became popular  to entertain staying guests. This way of cooking is said to start in early Edo period, mid 17 century.

In March, 2010, the city of Beppu opened Jigokumushi Kobo Kannawa (Kobo) as one of the city's re-development programs to preserve this old diet culture, and entrusted Kannawa Kyoei-kai, the merchant association of Kannawa area, with the management of this facility.

Mr. Urushihara was appointed as the general manager of Kobo in July, 2011. He has a long time career in the hospitality businesses. In spite of hard work, he is always smiling. He speaks little English. But still he welcomes many foreign tourists from all over the world with his great smile. A dozen of his staff are working at the reception, kitchen, steamer site, etc. Their hospitality is really good.
In Kobo, you don't need to worry about languages because they have some Chinese and Korean speaking staff under Mr. Urushihara. On top of that, the tourist information counter at the corner of Kobo has an English speaking staff. (K/K)