Sake & Soba
I love soba, and many Japanese and expats do too!
It is not only great for health (vegetarians, listen carefully), it is tasty and satisfying!
Unfortunately there is soba and soba. Meaning: a lot of places do have to be avoided…
What makes Yoshino special is that they are very exactting about their quality and serve only soba on the day. If they run out, they simply close the place!
For the connoisseurs hey serve both ni-hachi (80%) and ju-wari (100% which tend to run out quickly!)
Although Mr. Hiromichi Yoshino opened his restaurant only in 1999 after serving his time in another famous soba restaurant, Kuromugi in Shizuoka, the place has become so popular you do have to choose your time of the day to enjoy the food. Actually, you ought to take your time as this is a real « slow-food » soba restaurant. As it sits only 22 plus a few at the counter, you will understand it could become a scramble sometimes.
The more for its side dishes (« tsumami »):
The « tamagoyaki » (fine, some vegetarians might not agree!) and the:
« yakimiso » (soba/buckwheat powder mixed with miso and cooked under the grill), a must in any good soba restaurant.
But people who really know me would not be convinced if I fail to mention that also serve Shizuoka sake!
They serve no less than 8 kinds!:
Fujinishiki/Arabashiri (Shibakawa Cho)
Hatsukame/junmai + Kame dai ginjo 3 year-old koshu (Okabe cho)
Isojiman/ dai ginjo + junmai ginjo (Yaizu City)
Kikuyoi/daiginjo (Fujieda City)
Onnanakase/Oomuraya-Wakatake daiginjo (Shimada City)
Kokkou/junmai ginjo (Fukuroi City)
Now, a little secret for the sake lovers, these high-quality sake certainly come cheaper than anywhere else!
Apart of the whole gamut of cold and hot soba, they serve exquisite tempura, satsumaage, oniage, yakimiso,and so on.
Last but not least it becomes a no-moking place at lunch!
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo Machi, 1-7-10 (just behind Shin Shizuoka Center)
Business hours: 11:00~22:00 (or until run out soba)
« Kaiseki course » on reservations
Togakushi is an institution in Shizuoka City where it has half a dozen restaurants. Contrary to most « chain restaurants », it had to open branches since itsfounding in 1968 due to the constant demand. Even on a week day you might have to queue to find a table.
My better (worse?) half and I chose to have a late lunch there at around 2:30 p.m. and had still to wait 10 good minutes. But it allowed us to get the best seat in the non-smoking area by the bay window opening onto a tiny garden.
Togakushi serves only soba, but in so many variations you will to come again to exhaust the menu. Even one of their creations, « Isooroshi » has been awarded a commercila patent!
Now the good news for hungry people is that Togakushi has some excellent set menu for only 1,000 yen as shown on picture above!
For the sake lovers, Isojiman (Yaizu City!), one of the 10 most popular sake in Japan is on the menu!
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Seikan-Cho, 12-1
Closed on Sundays
(as for other restaurants, it might vary)
In not so long past ages, the Japanese used to drink their sake and shochu, depending on the area they dwelt, at soba shops.
Slowly but surely better quality soba shops are making an effort to serve comparatively good sake and shochu.
Such an establishment can be found in Miyakochi, Hamamatsu City (formerly Hamakita City, a ten-minute car trip from Komatsu Station along the Entetsu private railway.
The fact that it opened its doors just beside Hana No mai Brwery/Distillery in 2004 is no coincidence!
It serves sake and shochu from the same Brewery, garanteeing fresh products of the highest quality.
The sake offered on the menu are a very dry junmai
and a dai ginjo
All by the glass, 300ml or 720ml bottle.
As for the soba, they are excellent and of the extravagant « ju-wari » kind, all made on the premises, with an interesting « yaki soba miso » on the spoon (see above picture). They also offer for sale a great array of local honeys not to be missed.
The perfect place to eat soba after or before visiting their grat neighour brewers!
The place is full most of the time and will sometimes close early as only soba made on the day are served.
Hamamatsu City, Hamakita, Miyakuchi, 619
Opening hours: 11:00~14:00, 17:00~20:00
Closed on Monday nights, and Tuesdays