Metoba Soba in Matsumoto

Metoba is a soba shop on the Metoba river that flows through Matsumoto in Nagano. Nagano is famous for its harvest of buckwheat grains for soba. I asked if there were any local dishes we could try and was recommended the soba pancake called soba usuyaki (literally thin and grilled). A bit thinner than Western-style…

Soba-ya Amongst the Love Hotels

Fukudaya is a traditional soba-ya on a narrow pedestrian street in the love hotel area on the Shibuya backstreets. The clientele is smart, ranging from fashionable youth to elderly warmly welcomed as regulars. The soba is light and the serving size is generous. Just minutes from the station on the 2nd floor above a 7-11. The…

Tomiya Soba in Suwa, Nagano

While in Suwa in Nagano we happened upon this local soba-ya near Suwa station. The noren (curtain outside the shop) that said teuchi (handmade) soba caught our eye. Nagano is famous for growing soba buckwheat so we try and eat as much soba as we can while in Nagano. During our visit in spring there is…

Asagaya Kakizawa 柿ざわ

Asagaya’s shōtengai is a covered street filled with many small shops for food, confectionaries, and essential items for daily life. It is a great neighborhood to visit if you are looking for an insight to how suburban Tokyoites shop. Just off the main shopping street is a gem of a soba shop, Kakizawa, named after the owner….

Toshikoshi Soba – End of Year Soba

Our last meal of each year in Japan is soba, buckwheat noodles. We call this toshi koshi soba (年越し蕎麦), literally crossing into the new year soba. At first I didn’t get the ritual. Why such a simple meal, either for dinner, or if you are up at midnight, as a small snack late at night? Shouldn’t…

Ogikubo Takahashi Soba 高はし

Takahashi is a about a ten-minute walk from Ogikubo station on the Chuo line, but worth the journey through the residential area west of Tokyo. I was meeting a girlfriend for lunch on a Tuesday. For whatever reason, many soba shops are closed on Tuesdays. But my friend had been to Takahashi before and we…

Kyoto Honke Owariya Soba 京都本家尾張屋

Owariya is a Kyoto soba shop with a rich history, that can be traced back hundreds of years. I love the branch in Takashimaya as it is near many popular sites such as Nishiki Market and Gion. As the shop is in a department store, it is also kid-friendly. The vegetable tempura soba (1620 JPY)…

Nihonbashi Soba Yudetaro 日本橋ゆで太郎

For the longest time I avoided the tachigui soba shops and other casual dining soba restaurants. Tachigui are restaurants without chairs. Diners order a bowl of noodles and stand and slurp quickly. Tachigui can be near train stations or even on the platforms. When I first lived in Japan in the late 80s I wouldn’t even part the…

Kagurazaka Kuzuryu Soba 神楽坂 九頭龍蕎麦

Just minutes from Iidabashi stations (both JR and the Metro) is a lovely spot for handmade soba, Kuzuryu Soba. The lunch set includes both soba and a donburi, rice bowl. The donburi options include curry rice, oyakodon (chicken and soft-scrambled eggs), and their recommendation – sōsu katsu, thin-slices of pork deep-fried and then covered with just the right amount of…

Soba at Honmura An

My first introduction to Honmura An was in New York City back about 15 years ago. A friend who loved soba wanted to share with me his favorite soba shop in the city. I was mesmerized with the stone grinder for crushing the dried buckwheat and impressed that the noodles were being made fresh daily….

Marunouchi Raku Soba

The guy sitting next to me said to his friend regarding the soba at Raku, “you’ll love it or hate it”. I had already started slurping away and I knew what he meant. It’s not your typical bowl of buckwheat noodles. These handmade noodles are thick cut and the densest soba I’ve ever had. The…

Tokyo Soba Restaurants and Soba Menu

Here are some of my favorite Tokyo soba restaurants. This first appeared in Metropolis magazine. Soba is in the midst of a renaissance. The humble buckwheat noodle has been receiving an increasing amount of attention from local TV shows and lifestyle magazines, and a further boost has come from the Slow Food movement, which emphasizes…

Kanda Matsuya Soba 神田まつや

Kanda Matsuya 神田まつや Chiyoda-ku, Kanda Jimbocho 1-13 千代田区神田神保町1-13 Phone: 03-3251-1556 11:00 – 20:00 Monday – Friday 11:00 – 19:00 Saturday and holidays closed Sundays http://www.kanda-matsuya.jp/p01.htm Kanda Matsuya opened their doors in 1884. The soba is made from 5 parts buckwheat flour to 1 part flour. The dipping sauce is “karame” or on the dry side…

Tokyo Cheap Eats – Kanda Yabu Soba

UPDATE: Kanda Yabu Soba caught on fire on February 19, 2013. 40 customers and employees were in the restaurant during dinner service when the fire was noticed. Everyone was safely evacuated. A spokesperson for Kanda Yabu Soba has said on NHK news the following day that the restaurant hopes to reopen in six months. If…