Shakudani Soba – Showa Era Atmosphere & Traditional Noodles in Fukui
Fukui is one of several prefectures in Japan that are famous for delicious soba. In Fukui City, the most popular soba restaurant is probably Shakudani Soba, and I highly recommend it. It's located very close to Asuwayama Park, where you can enjoy beautiful cherry blossoms during spring season. What makes this restaurant unique is not only the quality of its soba, but also its design and the atmosphere inside.
The entrance is beautiful, with a small pond, trees and flowers of the season. Just before the entrance door, you will also find a wooden machine that people used in order to husk rice.
When you open the door, you will feel as if you've been transported to Japan's early Showa Era, as the interior and design inside adopted some features that could be found in Japanese houses in that era, such as wooden sliding doors, wooden ceilings, hibachi (a traditional Japanese heating device) and so on. All the tables are on tatami mats, and if you look up, you will see many autographs of Japanese celebrities on the wall.
Although the soba in this restaurant is a bit expensive compared to other soba restaurants in Fukui City, the freshly made soba is 100% worth it. The price range is about 1000–2000 yen, and the menu has lots of options, including oroshi soba (soba with Japanese radish) which is particularly famous in Fukui, mushroom soba, sansai soba (soba with mountain vegetable), tororo soba (soba with Japanese yam), tempura soba and so on. They also have a menu option called the takikomi set, which includes soba, takikomi rice (seasoned rice) and some side dishes. Shakudani Soba makes soba noodles fresh daily from buckwheat flour and lets the guests enjoy the fresh soba.
Oroshi soba is a typical food in Fukui and is always served cold. Although it is a very simple soba with grated radish served on top of the noodles, or in the dipping sauce as you can see in the picture, it tastes great.
The soba in this next picture is hot sansai soba. Sansai soba and other soba can be served cold or hot. After finishing your meal, you will get a cup of Sobayu, the white hot water which the soba noodles were boiled in.
Getting to Shakudani Soba
As it has a large parking area, it is accessible by car, or from Fukui Station you can take a bus, which stops in front of the restaurant. The bus ride from the station only takes about 20 minutes, and you can enjoy the view of Fukui City from the window on the bus, so I really recommend this bus trip to you.
In front of Fukui Station there are several bus stops, and the one you need to catch is called “Smile Bus,” which has four lines. The line to the restaurant is bound for the "Terute and Asuwa area” and the colour of the bus is green. There is an announcement inside the bus but only in Japanese, so just tell the bus driver that you want to get off at the “Shakudani stop.” The bus runs every 30 minutes and it only costs 100 yen per person to any bus stop from Fukui Station.