Do you know any famous dishes from Nagano? This prefecture is known for its fresh water, which is then used to create these delicious noodles. You will find it hard to forget about them once you have had them! This article introduces 5 restaurants in Nagano that serve some of the best soba (buckwheat) noodles.
Kaya is located right by Kayabuki Tavern, which was built 250 years ago, in front of Togura Station. This restaurant makes use of 100% buckwheat flour from the Shinshu area to create great authentic noodles and other dishes. One of their signature dishes is called Sobakiri (874 JPY (incl. tax)), which is made with buckwheat noodles consisting of 2 parts flour and 8 parts buckwheat flour, and comes with one stick of wasabi (horseradish). You can also enjoy sweet flavors at the cafe next to the restaurant by partaking in dishes like the Kaya-no-an no Soba Purin (313 JPY (incl. tax)), which has the aroma of buckwheat noodles. Please also try visiting the archive center of the wine cellar, as well as shops in the vicinity.
2. Momiji Chaya
Momiji Chaya in front of Nagano Station offers authentic handmade soba noodles. These noodles are known for their delicious taste, despite this restaurant actually being an izakaya (Japanese pub) that offers traditional dishes from Shinshu. The Togakushi noodles here are carefully separated by the cook, and then placed on tiny containers made with Sasa albo-marginata. This technique is called "botchi-mori". It is used to make the noodles at this restaurant. The dip used for the noodles (“tsuyu” in Japanese) is prepared differently based on the season. It gives off a superb flavor that enhances the taste of the buckwheat noodles. The Eraberu Banshaku Set (Pick Your Own Evening Drink Set) which comes at 1,800 JPY (excl. tax) (e.g. draft beer and 3 types of snacks, for a total of 4 items) is best finished off with some Zaru Soba (730 JPY (excl. tax)).
Takagi is only a 1 minute walk from Matsumoto Castle, and specializes in handmade pure buckwheat noodles that have been ground on a millstone from Azumino to bring out its fragrance and flavor. A popular dish on the menu would be the Soba Teishoku (1,880 JPY (incl. tax)), which includes shrimp and vegetables, and is popular among locals and soba lovers. You can even experience making the soba yourself if you reserve at least 1 day in advance (starts from 2 bundles for 1 group (3,000 JPY for 1 bundle, which feeds up to 3 people)). You will be able to make special memories if you eat the noodles you made yourself!
4. Benten Honten
Benten Honten is the oldest soba restaurant in Matsumoto, having been in business since 1877. You will be greeted by a warm atmosphere once you enter this aesthetically pleasing building. The soba noodles, which are popular both among regulars and locals, are made with buckwheat flour from Hokkaido, which have already been carefully ground on the millstone. They give off a flavor that has not changed since the olden times. As Matsumoto City is rich with underground water reserves, you will have lots of chances to drink well water. One of the secrets to the deliciousness of the noodles here may be the well water, which has been used in all the restaurant’s cooking since its opening. Please give the store’s specialty dish, Mori (550 JPY), a try. The restaurant closes as soon as their dishes get sold out, so it is a good idea to come early.
5. Miyuki Sobaya
It takes 8 minutes by taxi to reach Miyuki Sobaya from Furuma Station on the Kita-shinano Line of the Shinano Railway. This restaurant creates its own soba using flour ground from the buckwheat grown at the fields in front of the shop. Miyuki Sobaya only serves noodles with buckwheat that has been ground, molded, and boiled on the day itself. You should definitely try out their Mizu-Soba Set for 850 JPY, which is a combination of zaru and mizu-soba. The noodles, which have been cooled down using ice water, have a glossy exterior, while the slightly watery dip (tsuyu) give off the fragrance of buckwheat. Furthermore, you will be able to taste the true flavor and sweetness of the mizu-soba noodles, which have been submerged in cold water, if you eat them with salt. Why not have some soba while gazing at a calming panorama?
Nagano Prefecture experiences a huge gap between its colder and warmer climates, yet manages to produce high-quality buckwheat. Furthermore, this prefecture has been blessed with delicious water, which is then used to create these tasty noodles. Please try out some soba when you visit Nagano!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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