From Countryside to City Table, with a Pinch of Mountain Air: Soba Lunch in Jiyugaoka

Exploring new neighborhoods is a fun adventure. Discovering new things and hidden gems in your own neighborhood? A pleasant surprise.

Today, we did just that. Marching from place to place, undecided and turned away from closed venues, we returned to the first shop we’d seen and dismissed on the main road, one passed so many times without question or interest (rather the old, Oh, I can go whenever). Well, well, today was the day.

Welcome to 山久 (Sankyuu or Thank You), Jiyugaoka. From the outside, it’s a simple soba house. Inside, an escape to the mountain side mom & pop soba restaurants I used to frequent when I lived in the middle of nowhere. It was pleasantly nostalgic and new at the same time. Decorative items ranging from cultural figurines to traditional masks filled the nooks and crannies. The wood and cloth seating areas were comfortable yet rigid enough to avoid poor posture. The food? As my boyfriend stated, the best teishoku (set lunch) he’s had in quite some time. I thoroughly agreed.

Our lunch took a bit of time but came just before we crossed the threshold between “really hungry” and “ravenous”. All that shop-search meandering brought about a mean appetite in us both. First came the set, followed shortly after by the cold soba to be dipped in sauce (zaru soba style). Today’s lunch was the following: seasonal vegetables in sesame paste, soft tofu fried in a pastry-like shell, two inari (sweet fried tofu shell) sushi of purple rice and pickled radish, stewed vegetables,  and a mochi (glutinous rice) with green tea sauce (presumably dessert). Coupled with complimentary tea and hot soba water (to be mixed with the remaining soy sauce dip), the meal was filling and satisfying – that perfect fullness that doesn’t feel sluggish. At 1,100 yen, it was a bargain for such quality and amount.

Needless to say, Sankyuu will not be overlooked again. It may even be frequented.

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