Voyage Home (Part 2) - Featuring Hometown Favorite Restaurants

This is the second post from my trip back to southern Japan this summer. In this post, I'm featuring the photos from a couple of very interesting and traditional Japanese restaurants that I thought would be interesting for you to see. 

First one:

This restaurant is not just another authentic Japanese restaurant. This one is a work of art. 

I found this first restaurant in a local magazine that my cousin brought when we were trying to find things to do around town one day. It was one of the recommended places in the area. It turned out to be a great find. It ended up one of the most definitely interesting places I've been to and I was all inspired to document the place with my camera.

First, the owner told me humbly that she does not advertize her restaurant because they can't offer the same quality with service if the place gets too popular. No wonder I couldn't find any information anywhere other than that little article in the magazine. Her approach definitely shows everything about this place. Therefore, I won't write the name and location of this place.

It is a very authentic Japanese restaurant, decorated with all antique and wood/metal things, offering local dishes with local everything. It is also an old samurai house called bukeyashiki. The owner had done an amazing work by reserving the house as it was and created this meiji era like atmosphere by paying attention to every little detail to accommodate the guests. I could not find a single anything that was made in the modern time. Maybe just a toilet. 

So it is a hidden place. Literally. We couldn't find it because there was no sign and it's at a quiet residential area. What this owner has done with the place is simply impressive and shouldn't be kept totally as secret, so here I am sharing the photos.

The amazing owner and artist behind this magical place, herself here to greet the customers.

They only have two items on the menu and they look like these. All fish and vegetables flavored delicately. These dishes are as authentic and natural as any food can get. Their signature item is steamed rice cooked in ceramic pot with local mineral water. Did I mention that the town is famous for hot spring?

The owner hand picked all genuine antique matericals like clocks, doors for tables, light shades, furniture and everything else. Honestly the toilet was the only modern any thing I found inside.I really did feel like I was at a movie set or great grandma's old house or temple or some place like that.


 You can see the thoughtful service even with tooth picks, each wrapped in origami. The souvenirs sold are all local products

We were chatting about my admiration with what she has done with the restaurant, then she told me that she lives her dream everyday now and surronds herself with things that she cares and loves about in life - her passion for craft, interior design, food, people and her hometown.

It was such a delightful surprise to see a place like this and meet a person like her, especially just around the corner from my home. 

(I do feel bad that I'm not sharing whereabouts of the place after writing such nice things about it, so feel free to contact me if you are interested!)

Second one:

The second place I wanted to show is in fact not a secret place. It's called "Sobachaya" means the house of soba, like soba noodles.  I fell in love with this restaurant when I was like 10 years old and has been my favorite local joint till this date. Nothing much has changed. I always stare at the menu for a long time and wish that I could order and eat everything on the menu. They specialize in mostly soba and udon noodle dishes with other local goodies. It's THE comfort food place for me and here are some more photos to share.
 The original Sobashaya, the one that I like.

I had this the next day I arrived in Japan. I felt the real sense of settled satisfaction after the first sip of the dashi broth. Long wait was finally over.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you had enjoyed the post! The photo below is my version of soba for lunch back in America : )

© Rika Manabe Photography 
All the photos and content of this post is reserved and copyrighted by Rika Manabe Photography and Bella Bonito!


  1. おいしそう!今度は行ってみたいですね。

    1. コメントありがとうございます。いいところですよ!是非行ってみてください。


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