What to Expect
★See the video above to know what to expect in this tour before anything else!!★
《Soba noodle making experience & walking tour in YANAKA noted for its nostalgic townscape.》
◆Details of Soba noodle making (cf.the pics displayed on slides)
40 years experienced Soba chef spoon-feeds you how to make this traditional Japanese noodle dates back to the early Edo Period!!(dough making,mixing,rolling and cutting the noodles)
This program, held in the Soba noodle restaurant of "やなか蕎麦YANAKA Soba" noted for its authentic style and great tasting, is very popular among the locals!!
Since the Soba chef, owner of the "やなか蕎麦YANAKA Soba" spares nothing for a fine Soba, its work routine of making Soba begins with grinding husked buckwheat berries with stone mill.
Buckwheat flour ground by stone mills will create the top quality SOBA noodle. Roller mills are usually used for making buckwheat flour,but,the heat generated by rollers rotating at high speed spoils flavor of SOBA.
That's why,the restaurant grinds buckwheat slowly and carefuly using stone mill to make great tasting SOBA flour. And,this restaurant uses only domestic buckwheat from specified buckwheat fields for its high quality. More specifically,they use the top quality husked buckwheat berries organically grown around the area of Lake Towada.(Lake Towada located on the border between Aomori and Akita prefectures in the Tohoku region.)
The skillful art of Soba noodle making using carefully made buckwheat flour makes up the great tasting Soba noodle having excellent feeling of smooth throat pass!!
After making Soba noodle, you'll try your own Soba sitting comfortably in a reserved seat!! Moreover, it’s coming with complimentary two side-dishes and dessert(※)!!
(※)海老天Ebiten(Prawn deep-fried in batter), 蕎麦豆腐Soba-Dofu(Buckwheat tofu), 蕎麦アイスSoba-ice(Ice cream sprinkled with buckwheat berries)
And then, your thoughts go to the history of Japanese Soba noodle relaxing in spacious place!!
Traditionally rooted in Japanese food culture, soba noodle is served at wide variety places such as teahouses for travellers. (A pieceof Ukiyo-e (Multicolored woodblock prints) produced by Katsushika Hokusai (1760～1849) shows a scene of travellers having Soba noodle in a teahouse.)
SOBA’s cultural ties to traditional Japanese customs are evident in Toshikoshisoba eaten on new year’s eve to bring longevity and prosperity.
Delivery service called “Demae” became common till the end of the Edo Period(1603～1868).
The "Demae" skill remarkably developed until the invention of "Demae"device in the 1960's.
(Delivery staffs called Demaet-moti skillfully delivered piled up Soba boxes!!(See pics and video))
And now,"Demae" delivery service is practiced with motorbike equipped with the "Demae" device(1).
((1)The "Demae" device is a special rack equipped on the back of a motorbike which swings and rocks on hinges to keep the food safe during transport.)
《90minutes guided tour of the carefully selected highlights of YANAKA!!》(See the video)
Before participating the Soba noodle making lesson, you can enjoy the walking tour of Temple Town YANAKA.
⚪Tsuiji-Bei, a wall of Kannon-ji temple that remains from the Edo Period
This wall remains from the Edo Period invite you to slip back in time to the Samurai period!!
You'll find other walls along temples, where you can feel the nostalgic air of the good old days.
⚪Many temples with historical background and YANAKA Cemetery
Zenshoan temple is my favorite one, because this beautiful temple was founded by Yamaoka Tessyu(1836～1888)called"The Last Samurai", and he rest here!!
He was the Shogunate retainer, who played an important role in the Meiji Restoration(1868). He is also noted as the founder of the Itto Shoden Muto-ryu school of swordsmanship.
He’s real last Samurai!!
This Choanji temple has the grave of Kano Hogai(1828～1888).
He was a 19th-century Japanese painter of the Kano school originated in the 15th century. One of the last of the Kano painters, Hogai's works reflect the deep traditions of the school. He's said to be "The last successor of the Kano school"!! (His most notable work, "Hibo Kannon", 1888 (Tokyo Art University))
[YANAKA Cemetery commands a distance view of the Tokyo Skytree]
With leafy trees, shrubs and flowers along the stone paths, this spacious cemetery feels more like a scenic park!!
Amongst the more than 7,000 souls that rest here are a great number of famous historical figures,such as Japan's last Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu(1837～1913).
He was the very last Shogun who greatly contributed to the bloodless surrender of Edo castle, and also worshipped by many people for his great decision as the head of Samurai class.
⚪Shitamachi Museum Annex (Former YOSHIDAYA Liquor Shop)
⚪Many traditional shops with nostalgic air
Many antiques and folk crafts shops full of refinement and elegance!!
Book shop,Shodo materials shop, Writing brushes and pigment for Japanese paint…
Japanese paper with colored figures called "Chiyogami"
Traditional Japanese sweets…
And,lucky cat shop!!(People have made positive effort not only to prevent evil but also to bring happiness.
Maneki neko or "a beckoning cat"(a.k.a. lucky cat) have been created as symbol of happiness!!
Public bath called Sento,Museums,Japanese style coffee houses…
A bike shop within an old Japanese style house with a modern, fancy interior…