shabu-shabu Soba

Posted by M&A on October 31, 2015

Today we were traveling from midmorning till early afternoon and arrived in Takayama. The train journey was time consuming but very picturesque.


Takayama is a city in the mountainous Hida (part of Northern Japan Alps). It is famous for its beautifully preserved old town. Streets and main roads were established around castle, temples and shrines that contributed to the development of busy town. Nowadays approximately 90.000 people live here and you can tell that the place is very popular amongst tourists.


One of our favorite dish in Japan is soba noodles. We had it a few times already, but in Takayma there is a place where they make soba since late 19th century and they have mastered the “soba art” to perfection. So far it was the best soba noodles we had. The meal came with a handy leaflet describing the proper way of eating soba - “slurping way”. It’s said, that slurping enriches the flavor of soba sauce, and we can definitely confirm that it works. It is interesting that in the western culture slurping is considered as a bad manner, but in Japan it’s acceptable and even encouraged.



Except the well preserved old town, Takayama also has an outdoor museum - Hida Folk Village. It features dozen of traditional houses and buildings which were dismantled at their original sites and rebuild there. As the weather was clear we could see Japan Alps.

When we were wandering through the city we spotted a restaurant that serves shabu-shabu - dish that was on our to-eat list. Shabu-shabu is thinly sliced beef boiled in water. The term is an onomatopœia, derived from the sound emitted when the ingredients are stirred in the cooking pot (or at least it’s for Japanese ear, because for me it didn’t sound like that :-)). Given that expectations where high, we were disappointed. It was fun to make it by ourselves, but the dish was lacking some flavor. Or maybe no beef will be the same after the Kobe experience :-)

We spent an evening in the common area in our hostel. We met a nice couple - girl was born in Poland but raised in the UK and the guy was from Spain. Now they are on an internship in Malta, where they work on a project to prevent a traditional bird hunting (!)

phrase of the day:

chotto mate kudasai - please wait a second.