Funari Restaurant – Traditional Hoto Nabe With a Scenic View
Fujikawaguchiko Town, Yamanashi Prefecture – At the foothills of the world famous Mt. Fuji, there is a small town called Fujikawaguchiko. It is here as well as in the neighboring town of Minobu that you can find the most renowned of Fuji’s Five Lakes, Kawaguchi Lake. Fujikawaguchiko is also home to the famous Kawaguchiko Ohashi Bridge from which many take breathtaking photos of Japan’s Mt. Fuji. It is also in this small town, that you’ll find the lovely restaurant of Funari.
Funari’s Picturesque View
Funari is located in a prime location, featuring the northern slopes of Mt. Fuji, which can be easily seen upon entering this restaurant, and turning to the left. Standing in all its glory, in a pentagon-shaped window, Mt. Fuji is displayed beautifully as if it were a painting. The slight incline towards seats situated near the window may also allow you to take in the magnificence of this world-famous mountain.
And, what kind of Japanese restaurant would this be without some reminder of Japan’s past?
Displayed before Japan’s most famous world treasure, is another treasure that no one could possibly ignore. Standing proudly and directly in front of Mt. Fuji is Japanese armor with the Takeda clan’s emblem upon its chest. Known for their honorable actions under the rule of one of the most famous rulers of the Heian Period, Takeda Shingen, this clan was based in the Yamanashi Prefecture. It is also theorized that the warlord himself invented the local dish, hōtō, adding even more symbolism to this now decorative piece.
Funari’s Traditional Menu
Funari is home to the soul food known as hōtō. Though not as famous as its cousins, ramen, soba, or udon, this dish is one of Yamanashi Prefecture’s most popular local cuisines. Different shops have created different flavors and tastes for their hōtō dishes, however, for those who have not yet had the opportunity to try this local dish, hōtō is a Japanese dish usually made by stewing vegetables and thick, flat noodles in a miso-based soup. Many people compare it to udon, however, as the dough is prepared more in the style of dumplings, locals do not consider it to be a type of udon.
Funari’s hōtō strives to maintain the traditional taste of firm noodles cooked in a rich miso blended with fresh local vegetables – a nostalgic taste for locals. Funari’s main goal with their hōtō is to convey the charm of Yamanashi Prefecture through this delicacy by presenting to customers just what hōtō really is and providing a delicious dish for everyone to remember Yamanashi by.
As they’re striving for Yamanashi to be remembered by this delicious cuisine, Funari is very particular about the ingredients it uses. For its broth, pumpkin, miso, and abalone are used. The deep flavor that comes with abalone brings a rich taste to the combining sweet flavors of the pumpkin and miso. Vegetables are also locally grown, with the noodles cooked to a firm yet mochi-like consistency.
Funari’s first restaurant was opened in 1979, and at that time, it was but a simple shop, selling dishes like ramen. It was not until 1997 that they expanded with the philosophy of creating a reasonable place where people who came to Yamanashi for sightseeing or were just coming home from work could enjoy good service and delicious food.
Another delightful fact of this restaurant is that its hōtō has received first place awards for three consecutive years in a row (2011 - 2013). Those behind creating the taste of this delicious dish feel that they were able to win these awards thanks to their commitment to maintaining a fresh taste by selecting ingredients that are not only good for health, but beauty as well.
Many famous Japanese talents and actors have also tried the hōtō at this restaurant, making it a very popular place to dine at. So, if you’re ever in the Yamanashi Prefecture and would like to try hōtō, this may be just the restaurant for you!
Funari has three shops, one where you can enjoy the view of Mt. Fuji in the Kawaguchi Lake area, and two near Yamanashishi Station. Each one has parking available, right next to the restaurants themselves.
How to get there: On their official website, they have maps to all shop locations as well as their opening and closing times.