Morioka is most famous for Wanko soba. Azumaya Honten (東家本店), opened in 1907, is one of the most popular Wanko soba restaurants in the city. Wanko soba at Azumaya is served as a course menu, including noodles, tuna sashimi, toppings for the dipping sauce, and dessert.
Important: We haven’t found a Wanko soba restaurant in Morioka that offers a vegan dipping sauce. Please bring your sauce if you are strict with your veggie/vegetarian diet.
The Wanko Soba Session at Azumaya
The Wanko soba session starts after you put on an apron and open the bowl’s lid. The staff will start putting soba noodles into your bowl as soon as the lid is open. Remember to raise your bowl high so it is easier for the staff to pour the noodles in.
It is recommended to enjoy the first serve with the dipping sauce only (no toppings). The taste of the dipping sauce can then be changed by adding different toppings available. Because the sauce can accumulate in your bowl as you eat, pour the diluted sauce into the small bucket provided and continue eating.
When you start filling up, look for a chance to close your bowl with the lid. This is the only way to end the session! But make sure the bowl is empty; otherwise, it is cheating!
Note that there is no rule saying you have to eat the noodles at a fast pace. Enjoying the atmosphere is the most important thing about the experience. But you will likely find yourself eating faster and faster as you go with the flow (´▽｀*).
The average for women is 40 servings of noodles and 60 servings for men. If you manage to finish more than 100 bowls, you will receive a Wanko soba Wooden Plaque (わんこそば証明手形). It is a great souvenir that can’t be obtained by anyone, even if you have the money.
For all the participants, a Wanko soba certificate will be handed to you at the end of the session.
Tip: If you participate in a Wanko soba session with a group of people, it can be hard to find the right timing to add the toppings because the noodles are served at the same pace. The best time to do so is when the staff leave the room for more noodles.
Other Soba Dishes at Azumaya
Apart from Wanko soba, the restaurant also offers Nambu soba set menu (南部そば定食) and Nambu soba Kaiseki cuisine (南部そば会席). Seasonal soba noodles menu, such as Matsutake mushroom soba (松茸そば), are also popular.
You can refer to Azumaya’s Website for more information.
Azumaya’s Soba Noodles
All soba noodles served at Azumaya are handmade. But the noodles served in Wako Soba sessions are specially made. If too much buckwheat flour is used, it will be more filling. This is why more wheat flour is added so the resulting noodles are softer and smoother, making them easier to consume at a faster pace.
Azumaya Honten’s Business Hours and Access Information
- Azumaya Honten is open from:
- 11 am to 3 pm
- 5 pm to 7 pm
- Azumaya Honten is a 3-minute walk from the bus stop, Morioka Bus Center (盛岡バスセンター).
Tip: Azumaya is a popular restaurant. It is best to arrive early or make a reservation for a Wanko soba session where possible. On weekends and public holidays, numbers are given out 30 minutes before the restaurant opens. But note there could be a queue formed before 10 am.
Discover the Must-Visit Attractions in Morioka
When you hear of Morioka, Wanko Soba and Morioka cold noodles are probably the two first things that come to mind. But the city isn’t just about food. It also has many cultural attractions, hot springs, nature and more!
So refer to our Morioka article for ideas about where to stop by when visiting Iwate Prefecture’s capital city!