Service: Very kind and friendly
Equipment & Facilities: Overall very clean. Rustic but clean washroom
Strong points: Country gastronomy including the freshest wasabi in the world!
The other day I visited Utogi up the Abe River in Shizuoka City in the company of Alexandra Combe, a French journalist in France and Dominique Corby/Chef and owner of French Kappo Dominique Corby, a superlative Restauarnt in Tokyo to interview Yuuma Mochizuki, a local wasabi farmer.
We spent the whole morning shooting pictures of the wasabi fields owned by Maru Ichi Co., whose Yuma Mochizuki (30) is the 13th generation.
All the fields are exclusively watered with the help of torrents rushing down the mountain, meaning an ecological and organic cultivation!
Wasabi fields forever!Although some of the fields are as old as 400 years, they are still protected by their original stone walls!
It is the best season to admire them for one important detail! Can you guess?
Did you know that the leaves and the flowers of the wasabi are even more beneficial to the human body than the wasabi roots? You can eat them either fresh, with miso or else, pickled, fired and in tempura! Absolutely succulent!
Dominique Corby, Alexandra Combe and Yuma Mochizuki tasting some of the wasabi that were elected the best in Japan last year for the second time in three years! Note the traditional shark skin grater!
The monument stating Utogi as the birthplace of wasabi cultivation!
We decided to have lunch at the only, but famous, local restaurant before proceeding with the rest of the interview!
Utsurogi, a rustic but very busy restaurant! Tiny and quaint, but so authentic!
You place your orders to a kitchen-like counter! Don’t worry if you don’t speak Japanese, the staff are used to all kinds of tourists and they will manage to get their message through!
Have a good look at the local products on sale! Either fresh or processed, they make for very original souvenirs!
Having ordered your meal beforehand, walk along the rushing torrent and choose a seat either outside or inside! You’ll see wasabi fields under their vinyl protection right acroos the torrents!
Great scenery to be caught there! A tiny Japanese garden!
This is the lunch we had ordered inside the front shop where they hang photos of all the meals proposed!
At 800 yen, less than 8 Us $, less than 6 Euros, a true bargain! And so fresh and authentic!
Our lunch! can you figure out what we had/
The excellent “8 wari”/80% buckwheat flour soba/buckwheat noodles! They are boiled and then washed in cold clean natural water before being served with different seasonings!
Local Utogi-grown wasabi stem pickles, and freshly grated wasabi and chopped scallions with your soba dressing/dip! Yo will not find such fresh wasabi products away from Shizuoka Prefecture!
The tempura including sweet potato, onion and carrot “kakiage”/mixed tempura, shiitake and wasabi leaf!
The fresh wasabi leaf from a nearby field!
You will not find that quality and freshness elsewhere!
Note the local matcha tea powder for tempura seasoning!
The local wasabi farmers also grow superb green tea!
The ultimate trip to discover wasabi!
421-2303 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Utogi, 280-1
Tel./Fax: 054-298-2900Opening hours: 10:00~15:00, 09:00~16:00 on weekends and National Holidays
Closed beginning and middle of May due to First Green Tea Harvest, End & Begginning of the Year Holidays
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HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City
2 thoughts on “Soba/Buckwheat Noodles and Wasabi Leaf Tempura at Utsurogi, Utogi, Shizuoka City, the Birthplace of Wasabi!”
FANTASTIC! I had no idea you could eat the flowers and leaves, let alone them being even better for you. What did the leaves and pickles taste like?
They just taste splendid!