The “FARM CIRCUS” project came about to provide a fun experience of the “local production for local consumption” movement, instead of the conventional way of just purchasing local products. It has developed into one of Japan’s most unique food complexes and is a popular destination among families.
Hokushin Chiiki Shinkou / 北神地域振興
Aiming to be new “Roadside rest area”
When Kobe City’s “Michi-no-Eki” (roadside rest area) was commissioned through a competition in 2015, local supporters founded Hokushin Chiiki Shinkou. and requested us to take part in the project. With the agenda of promoting the next generation of local agriculture and food industries, we proposed a Michi-no-Eki that would thrive. Our proposal beat large competitors, and this project began.
Two major issue
We faced two major problems during the development stage. Firstly, Hokushin Chiiki Shinkou was founded by local supporters and didn’t have the knowhow on facility development and management. They needed fellow members that had such knowledge. Secondly, the planned construction site was in an inconvenient location with limited transportation methods. It was also right across from an aging amusement park. We had to convert this disadvantage into a positive image.
“Fun to eat Local!”
We provided support from the planning, expenditure planning, architecture, leasing, designing, menu development, event planning, and management to help them build the entire foundation for the facility. We also formed a team of experts chosen among young creators in the local area. Our stance was a unique one since the products, as well as the development, were done locally.
Having just a conventional affordable farmer’s market would not help their business, so we needed a strong brand that would serve as a “destination” where families will want to visit on weekends, even from far away. Under the concept “Fun to eat local!” where visitors could enjoy food as if they were at a circus, we created the Michi-no-Eki brand “FARM CIRCUS” inspired by the history of the port town, Kobe.
Growing Farm Circus
AKIND worked hand-in-hand with the Hokushin Chiiki Shinkou team during the two-year development period. We continue to manage the brand even after the 2017 grand opening. We have stridden forward together since the very beginning through the development. What’s rewarding for us is to search “#FARMCIRCUS,” and finding customers posting pictures of themselves at the facility or in front of the facility logo and seeing that they’re having fun. It makes us proud to see that, with the help of local teams, the concept “Fun to eat local!” has become a reality, nurtured relationships with fans, increased customers, steadily achieved sales goals, and has developed into Kobe’s new landmark.