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A microcosm of the landscape is before me. A bite-sized roll of cured squid, wrapped in fine cucumber layers and topped with three tiny chrysanthemum petals, is positioned on a circle of natural clay. This, in turn, sits on a plate with an organic water-like glaze, handmade using local soil — and beneath it all is a crafted countertop, its terrazzo-style surface containing small stones from a nearby river.

Sower, a new restaurant on the shores of Lake Biwa in rural Shiga Prefecture, is a celebration of all things terroir — the idea of a complete and holistic integration with the wild landscape that flows around it. The restaurant, located at L’Hotel du Lac in Nagahama, explores this harmony across the spectrum — from the cuisine, which taps into a deep network of local producers, right down to the ceramic plates.

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