On 7 July 2012 the restaurant was closed. It was early in the morning, but a sign taped to the door made me wonder whether this was more than a routine closure. — Liz.
Only a 20-minute drive from Yokota’s East Gate is a quaint, Italian-style restaurant called The Blueberry, nestled in the bamboo forest surrounding Lake Tama. The woodsy setting is probably the best reason to go. The menu on our last visit, in 2011, was not in English nor did it have pictures, so it’s helpful to have someone who can read Katakana. We made do by asking the waitress “Pizza?” and she read the different kinds of pizza, which we recognized as “Margherita,” Neapolitan” and “capricciosa.” Capricciosa mean capricious, and in this case it was an unexpected mix of salami, shrimp and mushrooms topped with an egg. The crust was thin and had a pleasing hand-formed appearance. The tomato sauce on the Margherita seemed to be straight-up tomato paste but it was the prettiest dish, with fresh basil on top. There was also a “pizza salad” on the menu that we wished we’d tried.
For pasta, we had “pepperocino,” which was garnished with red pepper and a dramatic tuft of saffron-like threads, and also a pasta meat sauce, which came with a soft-boiled egg on top.
Other categories on the menu: soup, salad and ice cream. There might have been a lot more, but we don’t read Japanese so we wouldn’t know. We did notice a salad bar. Upon entering The Blueberry, we noticed a well-stocked dessert case with European-style cakes. They are said to be as delicious as they look, but we were pretty full. The food portions seemed to be Western-sized at The Blueberry. The personal pizza on the lunch menu, larger than an average dinner plate, could feed two, especially if they ordered a salad also. The pizza cost about ¥900. Pasta was about ¥800. Lunch sets were in the ¥1400 to ¥2000 range. Hours: daily, except Monday, 11-2pm (lunch), 2-5pm (tea), 5-9pm (dinner). Tel. 04-2924-7180.
DIRECTIONS: Reset your trip meter to 0km as you exit the East Gate to the left. Turn right at the first light (0.2km) by the 7-11. Continue straight down this narrow road to the four-way intersection at 1.3km. Turn left. Keep going, past Diamond City Mall on the right and past Yamada on the left. Continue across Shin Ome Kaido. (It is signposted Route 5, but so is old Ome Kaido, which you’ll also soon cross.) Stay on this road through 5 lights. The road winds and climbs a hill. You’ll pass a large onsen on the left at 3.7km. Keep going. At the top of the hill you will see a blue sign for Lake Saimyo. The restaurant (6.5km) is just past this sign on the left. It is bright yellow and has several parking spaces in front. The Chinese Dragon Pagoda park is next door. Liz Ruskin, Suzie Nardozzi, 2011.