Just in front of Sanzen-in is a restaurant specializing in tofu skin cuisine. Kyoubijaya (京美茶屋), with a history of more than 60 years, has served the monks in Sanzen-in since its establishment. While tofu skin might not sound enticing to you, don’t turn your nose up without giving it a try! You will be surprised by how many mouthwatering dishes the restaurant can create from this humble tofu skin! But one thing to note is the sauce/broth that the restaurant uses contains fish extract. Please bring your vegan sauce if you are strict with your diet.
About the Yuba Served by Kyoubijaya
Yuba (湯葉) means tofu skin. The soybeans Kyoubijaya use are 100% grown in Japan. Each morning, the restaurant starts the day by making soy milk. The soy milk is then used to make tofu skins. In fact, you might still see the staff collecting the yuba from soy milk during your visit. Thus, the yuba on your plate is guaranteed to be freshly made, and it will almost melt inside your mouth.
In addition, Kyoubijaya made their ponzu sauce to go with the yuba. The ponzu vinegar is made from organic yuzu citrus fruits that are harvested locally.
Because the current owner loves sweets and desserts, he developed a dessert menu. The most popular one is the tofu cheesecake.
Among the set menus, the most popular set menus are the ones that have Kumiage-yuba (汲み上げ湯葉). The tofu skins are placed in a wooden bucket containing soy milk. This allows the customers to make an attempt in picking up the tofu skin themselves and enjoy the yuba however they like. You can have a bite without any sauce for the original taste of yuba and/or dip other pieces of tofu skin into the sauce provided.
The set menus that include Kumiage-yuba are all called Monzen (門前). They all have Kumiage-yuba (汲み上げ湯葉), sesame tofu (胡麻豆腐), simmered side dishes (炊き合わせ), rice, miso soup, pickles, and tofu cheesecake (豆乳チーズケーキ). Besides the simple set menu, you can also choose the ones with other side dishes, such as vegetable tempura or boiled tofu.
☛ The restaurant is the busiest in November. In November, all the Monzen set menus are sold out by 11:30 am. So be there as early as possible if you are keen to try it out!
☛ If you can, sit on the second floor next to the window for a better surrounding view.
Our Visit to Kyoubijaya
While we arrived in Ōhara around 9 am, we visited Sanzen-in and Hōsen-in before lunch. Therefore by the time we got to Kyoubijaya, all the Monzen set menus were sold out (;´Д｀). But at least the restaurant still had Yuba!
As a restaurant with high demand, staff were busy walking in and out serving customers. We arrived at around 1:30 pm and still had to queue for 10 to 15 minutes. Fortunately, seats next to the window on the second floor were available when it was our turn. In fact, we probably got the best table on the second floor. The table was just next to the alcove, decorated with Ōharame‘s painting scroll and doll (the 1st and the 2nd photo in the IG post). Flowers and other traditional items were also used as decorations.
Our lunch for the day was Soba Noodles with Tofu Skin Set Meal (ゆばそば定食) and Yuba Udon (ゆばうどん). We also added a sesame tofu as a side dish and a tofu cheesecake for dessert.
As expected, the tofu skin was soft and smooth. We were also happy to see that tofu skin is a part of the sesame tofu dish. And the tofu cheesecake? It was just impeccable!
Note that while the staff can take simple orders in English, a translator may still be necessary for those who have certain requests or questions.
Kyoubijaya’s Business Hours and Access Information
- The restaurant is open from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm daily except Thursdays.
- From Ōhara stop (大原), it is around a 10-minute walk.
Discover the Fascinating Attractions in Ōhara
Now that you know where to find phenomenal food at Ōhara, it is time to plan the rest of your visit to this town.
In our Ōhara article, you will find information about all the attractions that are worth your time. We have also included a couple of dining options for lunch or dinner, as well as general information about the spiritual village. A recommended itinerary for you to follow the day is also included!