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Kawara-soba restaurant, Nishihara village, Aso Kumamoto 【SHIKISOKUZEKU(四季即贅喰)】

Do you like soba?

I’m a big fan of soba. Especially in summer, I love cold soba, which is called ざるそば(Zaru-soba). It is refreshing eating with condiment, such as grated horse radish, ginger, spring onion, etc.

Source : https://www.photo-ac.com

Today, I’d like to introduce you this lovely 瓦そば(Kawara-soba) restaurant in 西原村(Nishihara village) in Aso county.

Let’s learn what Kawara-soba is and see how their Kawara-soba like!

Shikisokuzeku(四季即贅喰) in Nishihara-village Aso Kumamoto

What is Kawara-soba(瓦そば)?

I assume 瓦そば(Kawara-soba) is not familiar to you so let’s learn about it first.

Kawara-soba is 茶そば(cha-soba, means green tea soba) which is baked on 瓦(kawara, means roof tile).

Image of Kawara(瓦)
Source : https://www.freedom.co.jp/kurashi/注文住宅/日本伝統の屋根といえば瓦!選ぶときのポイント/

They put on some toppings on soba, such as thinly sliced egg, seasoned beef, wild vegetable, etc. You dip them into dipping sauce.

The red part is Yamaguchi prefecture.
Source : https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/山口県

Kawara-soba is a local cuisine of 山口県(Yamaguchi prefecture, which is in Honshu main island of Japan).

The origin of Kawara-soba goes back to 1877.

During 西南戦争(Seinan sensou, means Seinan civil war) which was the biggest and the last civil war led by 西郷隆盛(Takamori Saigou).

The battle field was around Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Oita and Kagoshima.

It is told that during the Seinan war, soldiers of Takamori Saigou, who surrounded Kumamoto castle, cooked soba on heated kawara while the field battle.

In 1961, Shinichi Takase who run hotel in Yamaguchi prefecture heard the story and started to offer Kawara-soba for their guests.

It had got very popular and other hotels began to provide Kawara-soba. Finally, it became the local cuisine of Yamaguchi prefecture.

In Yamaguchi prefecture, people enjoy Kawara-soba at home, too. In supermarkets, you can buy green tea soba and dipping sauce package for family use.

Of course, they don’t use kawara at home. Instead, they use frying pans or electric griddles.

Source : https://www.ebarafoods.com/recipe/detail/recipe2262.php

Visually, Kawara-soba is attractive and of course, the taste is amazing.

The good thing about Kawara-soba is that we can enjoy hot soba for a long time. Because Kawara has good heat retention thanks to the infrared red ray effect of Kawara.

Also, soba noodle get nicely burned on a heated Kawara so you can enjoy the chewy and crispy texture.

How is Kawara-soba in SHIKISOKUZEKU(四季即贅喰), Nishihara village Aso?

Recently, my friend and I went for driving to Aso. For lunch, I found 四季即贅喰(Shikisokuzekuu) because 西原村(Nishihara village) is on the way to Aso.

四季即贅喰(Shikisokuzekuu) is rather deep in the mountains.

We set the car navigation and followed it but to be honest, we were not sure if we were on the right track.

When we closed to the restaurant, we found some cars were parked along the street. I was relieved we had arrived at the restaurant!

The parking lot is just next to the restaurant. If the space is full, you can go to the other place where you can see this sign. 

The area is lovely.

There is a stream from Shiraito waterfall which is 10 minutes drive from there.

※I wrote about 白糸の滝(Shiraito waterfall) before. Check it and visit there, too!

白糸の滝(Shiraito waterfall) in Nishihara village


While walking through the path, I was thinking how it will look in autumn as there are maple trees around the entrance.

四季即贅喰(Shikisokuzekuu) is a beautiful hideaway.

The restaurant is bright because of the big windows.

You take off your shoes and choose table where you like.

We sat at the table near window so we could see the nice garden with small pond.

There were some carps!

This is the menu.

Basic menu is 瓦そば(Kawara-soba) which is green tea soba with sliced egg, nori seaweed and chopped spring onion on top, which costs 1080 yen.

For topping, you can order seasoned beef, wild vegetable and mushroom and each costs 200 yen extra.

There are some set menu, which is like Kawara-soba with だご汁(Miso soup with dumpling and vegetable. It is a famous Kumamoto cuisine.), おにぎり(Onigiri, means rice ball), and サラダ(salad).

There is “レディースセット(Lady’s set)” which is another set menu with smaller Kawara-soba than usual. 

I ordered usual Kawara-soba with beef on top and my friend ordered Lady’s set.

On the table, there is a guidance how to eat Kawara-soba, which says

  1. After Kawara-soba arrives, pour dipping sauce into a cup.
  2. Dip topping and noodle into the sauce.
  3. You can put lemon and もみじおろし(Momiji oroshi, means grated radish and chili) as you like. → You’ll see what they are like later.
  4. Enjoy the crispy noodle.

※ Turn over noodle sometimes as they can get burned on a heated Kawara. 

This is Kawara-soba(瓦そば) at Shikisokuzeku!

First, we were so surprised how big the Kawara is!

The steam was coming out and we heard the sizzling sound. We were just so excited and kept taking photos!

The dipping sauce is in this big jar.

As the guidance says, we pour it into the small cup and had soba noodle with topping.

The noodle is crispy outside but still the chewy texture remains inside.

It turned out to exceed our expectation so much!

You may have wondered what the guidance No.3 means. Now, you can see lemon and red lump on soba. The red lump is もみじおろし(Momiji oroshi, means grated radish and chili). It’s a popular condiment for Japanese cuisine and gives nice refreshment and a little spiciness.

After eating some soba, you can put lemon and Momiji oroshi into the sauce as you like.

Visit Shikisokuzeku(四季即贅喰) and enjoy their Kawara-soba!

During summer, we tend to have cold food and cold drink which make our body cool down too much and feel fatigue.

Source : https://www.hakubaku.co.jp/omugi-lab/maintenance/mugicha/

From the past, Japanese people often say that we should eat hot food in summer to avoid summer heat fatigue.

Kawara-soba is healthy and well-balanced dish. 

Visit 四季即贅喰(Shikisokuzekuu).

Eat well and survive this hot summer!

【Information and Links】


Recommended place near Shikisokuzeku(四季即贅喰) ~Shiraito waterfall(白糸の滝)~

白糸の滝(Shiraito waterfall) in Nishihara village


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テーマの著者 Anders Norén
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