< GARDEN SQUARE> Toritsu-Kasei
Shinjuku
Toritsu-
Kasei

The idyllic café-restaurant GARDEN SQUARE in Toritsu-Kasei brings a touch of nature to the town, providing relaxation in each season.

A large mansion nestled in the woods stands out in a quiet residential area lined with new condominiums. Garden Square is a unique combination of a flower shop, Italian restaurant, and café that local residents adore as a special place. It offers a serene space where they can unwind and feel connected to nature in each season, evoking a sensation of being in the Italian countryside.
GARDEN SQUARE 都立家政

Yasuhito Kanda 55 years of living in the Seibu Line area.

A dyed-in-the-wool Nerima native, lives in Nakamura in Nerima Ward. He also runs the Mondo Parlor café in Toritsu-Kasei.

All you can see from the terrace is greenery and sky. The garden restaurant is surrounded by nature.

GARDEN SQUARE 都立家政

Garden Square marked its 20th anniversary in October 2019. Today, there is an increasing number of restaurants and cafés with florists attached, but it was a novel business concept in the neighborhood then.

"It started as a flower shop on the ground floor and an Italian restaurant on the second floor. Then, later on, I thought it would be nice to have a place to have tea during the day and evening, so I built a café. When this place opened 20 years ago, there were no Italian restaurants in Nerima at all, so at first, people didn't think it was a restaurant and often said, 'That's a rather glamorous house,'" recalls the owner, Mr. Kanda, with a laugh.

GARDEN SQUARE 都立家政

Built to resemble an "Italian country house," once you step inside, you will forget you are in Nerima and feel like you have been transported to Italy. The mixture of refinement, rusticity, and warmth, without pretension, immediately won the hearts of the locals. The most important feature of the space is the courtyard full of nature, visible from the café and restaurant.

Mr. Kanda explains, "In the garden, the trees have been replanted to provide an unobstructed view of greenery and sky from the upstairs terrace. The trees have grown too much, so the flowers in the florist's shop no longer thrive in the shade (laughs). But thanks to this, the view of the surroundings is completely blocked, creating an extraordinary, lush environment."

GARDEN SQUARE 都立家政

In the spring, the whole area is bathed in pink with cherry blossoms, and the floor is carpeted in pink when they fall. After that, dogwoods and hydrangeas bloom in profusion, fresh greenery dazzles in the summer, and the leaves change color in the fall. Lunches and dinners enjoyed in this setting provide local residents with a small daily pleasure and comfort.

From barbecues to weddings. A place loved by three generations of parents and children.

GARDEN SQUARE 都立家政

Mr. Kanda is a dyed-in-the-wool Nerima native, born and raised in Nakamura in Nerima Ward. Having lived in the town his whole life, he deeply loves the community and values the connections between the town and its people.

"In this area, there are numerous condos but not much else. My goal in creating this eatery was to provide people with a place to enjoy lunch on weekdays. I believe it has fulfilled this aim. Seeing three generations of young children, mothers, and grandmothers visit the restaurant brings me joy. It would be wonderful if the mothers could take a break and relax," said Mr. Kanda.

GARDEN SQUARE 都立家政

Mr. Kanda continues, "I want people to use this place as they wish," whether for lunch or dinner, private parties on the terrace instead of at home, or barbecues when it's pleasant outside." In the past, the venue has been used for weddings and memorials. Each visit will inspire you to make plans, like "Who should I bring next time?"

"I want it to be more than just a restaurant but a gathering place for the local community."

GARDEN SQUARE 都立家政

Mr. Kanda has been working on new plans as GARDEN SQUARE celebrated its 20th anniversary.

He shares his plan to open a children's diner where kids can dine together instead of eating alone. He's in talks with local residents to see if they can use vegetables that local farmers would otherwise discard. Additionally, he wants to organize a mochi party since most kids these days have never made mochi before.

Mr. Kanda, the PTA president of his son's elementary school, is deeply committed to the community. He frequently discusses ideas with mothers, holds meetings, and organizes events.

GARDEN SQUARE 都立家政

He explains, "I'm an old local, so I have lateral connections and know the town well. People like me have to mobilize and encourage newcomers to join to grow the community. We've got plenty of other Italian restaurants, unlike 20 years ago. Of course, I want to maintain that demand. However, my goal for the future is for my place to be a community hub where people say, 'Let's go there' or 'There's that place...' when something happens in the local area."

GARDEN SQUARE 都立家政

GARDEN SQUARE is there for you no matter what the occasion. It is more than just a restaurant or café; it is a comforting destination for local residents. Treat yourself to a moment of peace and relaxation surrounded by beautiful scenery that changes with the seasons.

About GARDEN SQUARE, the business featured in this article

GARDEN SQUARE 都立家政

■ Location: 1-27-20, Nakamura-Minami, Nerima Ward, Tokyo
■ Phone: café Felice 03-3825-2992 / La Ventura 03-3825-0611 / Hanabana 03-3825-3501
■ Business hours: café Felice 9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. (last order) / La Ventura 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (last order) (Sat & Sun 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.), 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (last order) / Hanabana 10:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
■ Closed: Thursdays
■ Official website:https://g-s.jp/

*The information presented in this article is current as of the date of the interview; it may differ from the latest information.

Favorite spots!

「地元の氏神様でなにかあったら必ずお参りに行く神社です」と神田さん。2年に1度の例大祭は商店街ぐるみで賑やかに行われ、御神輿も巡行します。神田さんも毎回お神輿を担いでいるそう。
Nakamura Hachiman Shrine
According to Mr. Kanda, it houses the guardian deity of the local community and is where he always goes when anything happens. The biennial festival draws the whole shopping district together and includes parades with mikoshi (portable shrines). Mr. Kanda also joins in carrying the mikoshi every time.
本殿は江戸時代前半のものといわれ、練馬区内でも屈指の古建築物。御手洗石に卍の彫刻があり神仏混淆時代の名残りをとどめる石造遺物として注目されています。
Nakamura Hachiman Shrine
The main shrine is said to be from the first half of the Edo period (1603–1868) and is one of the oldest buildings in Nerima Ward. The swastika carving on the hand wash basin is noteworthy as a stone artifact that retains the vestiges of the Shinto-Buddhist syncretism period.
記念碑のまわりには、むかし若者たちが力競べに興じた力石があったり、小さいながらも見所が点在します。■住所:東京都練馬区中村南3-2-1
Nakamura Hachiman Shrine
Around the monument is a lifting stone where young people used to compete in a trial of might and other small but interesting features. ■ Location: 3-2-1, Nakamura-Minami, Nerima Ward, Tokyo
神田さんの母校である中村小学校は、なんと校庭一面が芝生!「都内でも珍しい総芝生の校庭が自慢。子どもたちが校庭を裸足で走っている姿は感動モノです。転んでもすりむかないし、足腰も丈夫になる。雨上がりは芝生がキラキラ光ってきれいですよ」
Nakamura Elementary Schoolyard
Mr. Kanda’s alma mater, Nakamura Elementary School, has an entire schoolyard covered in grass! He shares how heartwarming it is to see the children running barefoot on the grass. They do not hurt themselves if they fall, and playing on grass helps strengthen their legs and backs. And after it rains, the grass sparkles beautifully.
校庭の広さは約3,200平方メートルで、23区内でも最大規模の校庭芝生だといいます。芝生は、学校、PTA、学校開放利用団体、地域の協働らによって維持管理。授業や放課後利用のほか、毎年夏休みには「校庭キャンプ」なども開催しています。
Nakamura Elementary Schoolyard
The schoolyard is approximately 3,200 square meters and is said to be the largest school lawn in Tokyo’s 23 wards. The lawn is maintained and managed by the school, the PTA, an organization for access to school facilities, and the local community. In addition to classes and after-school use, the school also holds a schoolyard camp during the summer break every year.
校庭を緑化するという、区の取組みを推奨するモデル校として中村小学校の芝生化がスタート。中村小学校の校庭芝生応援ソング『なかしばちゃんの歌』なるものまで存在します。■住所:東京都練馬区中村2-8-1 ※生徒、関係者以外、校庭には入れません
Nakamura Elementary Schoolyard
Nakamura Elementary School started turfing its schoolyard as a model school to support the Nerima Ward’s initiative to green the school grounds. There is even a song called “”Nakashiba-chan no uta,”” supporting the greening of Nakamura Elementary School grounds. ■ Location: 2-8-1, Nakamura, Nerima Ward, Tokyo *The school grounds are only accessible to students and personnel.
都立家政の商店街にある、神田さんが手掛けるカフェ。「ひとりでのんびりできる場所を地元に提供したくて作りました。時々、自分もゆっくりしに行きます」(神田さん)。照明や家具などいちから神田さんがセレクトしています。
Mondo Parlor
Mr. Kanda runs the café in Toritsu-Kasei’s shopping district. He explains, “I created the café to offer my hometown a place where people can relax on their own. Sometimes, I go there to relax myself, too.” Mr. Kanda selected everything from lighting to furniture.
“モンド(世界)”の名の通り、ジャンルに偏らないメニューを展開。ランチタイムは季節の野菜を使ったキッシュやグラタンなどを味わえます。夜は軽いおつまみが揃い、食事前のアペリティーボにおすすめ。夜カフェもできます。
Mondo Parlor
As the name Mondo (world) suggests, the menu is eclectic. You can savor quiches and gratins crafted with fresh seasonal vegetables during lunchtime. Additionally, light snacks are offered in the evening, and an aperitivo before dinner is recommended. The establishment is also open at night for coffee.
ドルチェは店長の上原陽子さんによる自家製。定番人気のチーズケーキは、クリームチーズにリコッタチーズを加えて焼き上げた、あっさりめの口当たり。■住所:東京都中野区鷺宮3-6-9 ドリーム3号館 1F ■電話番号:03-5356-7233 ■営業時間:12:00~21:00 ■定休日:木
Mondo Parlor
The desserts are homemade by the manager, Yoko Uehara. The ever-popular cheesecake is baked with cream cheese and ricotta for a lighter taste. ■ Location: 1F, Dream Sangokan, 3-6-9, Saginomiya, Nakano Ward, Tokyo ■ Phone: 03-5356-7233 ■ Business hours: Noon – 9 p.m. ■ Closed: Thursdays