“French cuisine” is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when one mentions the Japanese countryside; in fact, it probably wouldn’t even make the top ten list of things most people associate with the country’s non-urban areas. And while you might be forgiven for casually dismissing any correlation between the two, you would conversely be missing out on some of the fantastic fine dining opportunities available outside Tokyo’s city limits. One such example is Pole Pole, a Japanese-French restaurant located about a 5-minute taxi ride from Kazusa-ichinomiya Station (a one-hour express train ride from Tokyo Station on the Keiyo Line). Meaning “slow” or “leisurely” in Swahili, Pole Pole’s name reflects its philosophy—delicious French-influenced cuisine served with understated Japanese elegance in a warm, relaxing environment by the incredibly friendly and attentive staff. Both lunch and dinner place an emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients and menus that change based on seasonal availability. Likewise, the restaurant, which also features a large enclosed garden, also offers wonderfully simple yet refined accommodations in the form of rooms located adjacent to the main building. Packages range from 5,500 to 11,000 yen per night including breakfast as well as dinner depending upon the pricing plan, so feel free to waddle over to your bed and stay a spell in the event you find yourself too full of food or wine to make it back to the city after such a fine meal.