Ibasho Café

What is the Ibasho Café?

The Ibasho Café is a place where people gather in an informal manner. It is a place where people from the surrounding community can find their “Ibasho”, which is a Japanese word for “ a place where one can feel at home, and be oneself.” In the Ibasho Café, elders are respected as assets to the community and a vital source of wisdom. Drinks and snacks are available in the café, and are served by older members of their community.


In April, 2014, five months after the typhoon Yolanda alit in the Philippines, Ibasho teams and HelpAge-COSE members visited five communities affected by the typhoon, including Barangay Bagong Buhay. The visitors helped assess the communities’ needs and exchanged ideas with local elders about how Ibasho can help elders to develop their livelihood projects that also...

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Ibasho team has visited to Nepal in February, 2016, to launch our project with a social venture company, Bihani, founded by Santoshi Rana. It all started with an email from Santoshi, asking us “Nepal needs the Ibasho concept. How can we adapt it here?” Since we did not have resources to kick started at that...

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In 2011, over 18,000 people were killed and more than 65,000 people were displaced when a massive earthquake and tsunami hit northern Japan. Entire communities were devastated, but among the survivors, both older and young spoke of elders who saved younger people’s lives by guiding them to higher ground and teaching them how to survive...

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How is Ibasho different from the projects that have been done?

  • The Ibasho Café operates under a philosophy that views elders from a strength-based perspective. It sees global aging not as a threat, but as an opportunity to harness elder wisdom for the benefit of all.
  • This approach is culturally appropriate and community-driven, not dependent on the direction of an “expert”. As a result, the local residents can truly create their own shared vision, improving the chances for sustainability.
  • The Ibasho Café is also different in that it does not view older adults merely as people who require services, but rather as active participants in the maintenance of the café, preparing food and serving others.
  • Unlike many community design initiatives, the Ibasho Café is a relatively low-cost project. It can be implemented in both developing and industrialized societies and is applicable in rural, small-town or urban neighborhood settings.Ibasho Café welcomes the presence and participation of all community members, and applies the same strength-based philosophy to those who live with dementia or other disabilities, so that the entire community has representation.
  • The meaningful inclusion of older adults, especially those living with cognitive disabilities, is not as easily visualized in the developed part of the world, where the forces of modernization have pushed them to the margins for several decades and societal stigmatization is deeply engrained. For this reason, Ibasho offers the opportunity to help educate communities in holistic, strength-based approaches to aging and dementia, in order to maximize the chances for success.

Ibasho Café booklet

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