Must eat while visting Takachiho! The three most exceptional soba shops
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In Takachiho, a town located between the mountains, the cultivation of Japanese buckwheat noodles called “soba” is thriving.
This of course means that Takachiho is home to a lot of delicious soba (buckwheat noodle) shops♡ Here, we will introduce you to the town’s must-visit, most exceptional soba shops.
Fragrant, refined soba made only with Takachiho ingredients, at Soba Tenan
The buckwheat used for making the noodles at Tenan (そば処 天庵) are produced by local contract farmers in the Asakabe and Shimono areas of Takachiho Town. They are stone-ground and then combined with sacred water from Akimoto Shrine, in order to create this high quality soba noodle at Soba Tenan.
The soba noodles called Nihachi soba (二八蕎麦) consists of 80% buckwheat flour and 20% wheat flour, and are made by the proprietress whom learned soba-making under a soba chef in Hiroshima. Nihachi soba has a very fragrant and refined flavor.
Located a 10-minute walk away from Takachiho Shrine, the shop is just a few steps away from the main street, allowing you to visit while exploring the town of Takachiho.
For those traveling by car, there is a dedicated parking area near the shop for easy access and a relaxed visit.
Walk down the path alongside the building with the “商い中” (Open) sign. Pass under the shimenawa (sacred Shinto rope used for ritual purification) and enter the shop. Inside you will be greeted by plants in vases and a tranquil Japanese atmosphere.
We recommend the “Chiho Course” (1,500 yen), which includes soba, tempura, kobachi (small side dish), inarizushi (deep-fried tofu pocket stuffed with sushi rice), and dessert.
Everything in the course—not just the soba but all the vegetables used in the tempura and side dish—are produced in Takachiho. On the day I visited the shop, I was treated to some homemade konjac jelly.
★Click here for directions to “Tenan”!
Otaniya, a farmer-run soba shop that offers a relaxed atomosphere overlooking the terraced rice fields
Otaniya (おたに家) is an authentic handcrafted soba shop in Takachiho that offers noodles made by their very own cultivated buckwheat. The shops owner trained at a famous soba shop in Osaka.
The noodles at Otaniya is as local as it can be. After harvest the buckwheat is stone-ground in the shop itself. Their incredible Juwari soba (十割蕎麦) are made from 100% buckwheat and are characterized by the fragrance and sweetness distinct to buckwheat, with a pleasantly smooth and slippery mouthfeel.
You will see the shop along the street when driving towards Amano-Iwato Shrine. Keep an eye out for the “そば” (Soba) banner, as the building can look like a private residence at first glance.
The shop is a must-visit if you are headed in the direction of Amano-Iwato, especially as it also has a large parking lot.
From inside shop, which has a homely feel, you can enjoy the great view of the Otani area (尾谷) of Takachiho Town. This area was selected as one of the 100 Best Terraced Rice Fields of Japan, and the shop is place for relaxation and taking in the scenery.
While they offer both Juwari soba and Nihachi soba, we recommend the Juwari soba.
The Morijuwari Soba (もり十割) (850 yen) in particular is very fragrant, with a slightly thinner noodle, and a silky, slippery mouthfeel. The homemade Japanese pickles that came along with the dish was delicious as well.
★ Click here for directions to “Otaniya”!
Juwari soba made with stone-ground buckwheat and known nationwide, at Jindaian
A lesser-known soba shop… or is it!? Jindaian (神代庵) is a shop well-known to soba connoisseurs, who come from all around the country to enjoy their soba.
The handmade soba is made by the owner of Jindaian, whom loved soba so much that he taught himself how to make it while traveling and tasting soba throughout the country. The shop is so popular that they even have regular customers all the way from the Kanto area.
The Juwari soba, made by hand after each order comes in, have a distinct rustic texture, with an irresistible fragrance and firmness.
The parking lot for the shop is located on the way from central Takachiho Town to Kushifuru Shrine (くしふる神社). Keep an eye out for the “そば” (Soba) banner.
From the parking lot, follow the handwritten signs until you see the shop.
If the shop did not have the banner, it would look almost like a private residence—but do not worry, this is definitely a soba shop. Call out from the entrance and you will be invited in.
Even the interior of the shop looks just like a traditional Japanese house, with the entranceway leading up to a Japanese-style room with tatami floor and lined up tables. All in all, a very homely feel.
We recommend the “Zaru Soba” (ざる) (800 yen), a chilled soba noodles with tsuyu dipping sauce.
The owner of the shop is very particular about this dish especially, making the noodles by hand after each order comes in, and boiling them for just 28 seconds! According to him, boiling it for any longer makes the noodles lose their firmness, and he does not want to add any more heat to it if possible.
This is a very rustic hikigurumi soba (挽きぐるみ) which are made by kneading buckwheat seeds thoroughly into the noodles to produce more texture and flavor. The firm texture and strong fragrance will be absolutely irresistible to soba lovers. This is definitely one of the must-visit shops when you come to Takachiho Town.
★ Click here for directions to “Jindaian”
These were three shops that offer some of the most exceptional soba in Takachiho Town.
A stylish and refined soba shop that is based in local production for local consumption; a soba shop in the middle of farmland that makes soba with buckwheat they harvest themselves; and a soba shop frequented by soba connoisseurs. If you find yourself in Takachiho Town, we strongly recommend you try all three! That is how much we recommend these shops.
But remember that Takachiho Town also is home to many other shops that offer great soba noodles—so perhaps you can walk around, and find your own favorite soba as well.