Vegetarian's Japan Guide

The Best Place to Enjoy Izushi Soba: Soba Honjin Tsuruya

When speaking of Izushi, the town is probably most famous for its Izushi Soba (出石そば). With around 40 soba restaurants in the small town, there is no doubt that soba noodles are one of the town’s biggest selling points. Unlike elsewhere in Japan, where you are served with one bowl or plate of noodles, in Izushi, the noodles are divided into five small plates, each containing two to three mouthfuls of soba. This is so you may enjoy the noodles in five different ways!

Table of Contents

What Is Izushi Soba

In the Kansai region, udon is considered the mainstream noodle type. What changed people’s eating habits was a swap of territory ordained by the Tokugawa shogunate.

© 豊岡市

In 1706, the lords of the Izushi Domain and the Ueda Domain (上田藩) were ordered to exchange their land. Because the new lord of Izushi Domain, Sengoku Masaakira (仙石 政明), came from central Japan, the origin of soba noodles, he brought along quite a few soba craftsmen with him. Probably because he still wanted to enjoy the delicious soba noodles even after being transferred to Kansai (´▽`*)?

Coming to a new environment, those soba craftsmen learned how the buckwheat was farmed and made into soba noodles in Izushi. From there, the soba-making technique was refined, combining the pros of the soba noodles in both central Japan and Izushi.

How to Eat Izushi Soba

  • For your first plate, put shallot and/or wasabi in the empty soba dipping sauce cup and add some soba dipping sauce.
  • For the second plate, beat the egg in the small bowl that came with the egg before pouring it into the soba dipping cup.
  • For the third plate, add half of the grated yam into the cup, then put in the third plate of noodles.
  • For the fourth plate, add the rest of the grated yam to the soba noodles and add more soba dipping sauce.
  • For the last plate, eat it in whatever way you like.

Important: The soba dipping sauce the restaurants provide is not vegetarian. If you are strict with your diet, please bring along your dipping sauce.

☛ If you don’t eat eggs, ask the restaurant to swap the egg for wasabi or grated yam (pronounced as Tororo in Japanese). For sentences to use, please refer to our Essential Japanese Travel Phrases for Vegetarians and Vegans article.
☛ Despite so many soba restaurants in town, on weekends and public holidays, the restaurants can still be packed. Arrive early if you can.

Soba Honjin Tsuruya (そば処 本陣鸛屋)

 Soba Honjin Tsuruya is one of the most famous Izushi Soba restaurants in town. You can admire Izushi’s symbol, Shinkorō Clock Tower (辰鼓楼), while you eat the noodles.

While you wait for your order, you can examine the many culturally rich decorations in the restaurant (refer to our IG post). Whether it is the Tengū masks or the paintings, the decors are unique!

Izushi Soba at Honjin Tsuruya costs 850 yen. Five plates of noodles are most likely not enough for you, so you can order extra plates at 120 yen per plate. Besides various noodle dishes, the restaurant also offers rice dishes. Again, you can ask Honjin Tsuruya to replace the non-vegetarian ingredients with grated yam.

If you love the noodles you have just tasted, bring some home!

Close to Honjin Tsuruya’s register, you will find packaged fresh soba noodles. Different from the dried buckwheat noodles at the supermarkets, the ones sold here taste much nicer.

Soba Honjin Tsuruya’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • Soba Honjin Tsuruya opens from 9 am to 6 pm.
  • The restaurant is a 5-minute walk from the bus stop, Izushi.

Izushi Shiroyama Garden (出石城山ガーデン)

One way to enjoy the Izushi Soba is to try out the soba noodles in different restaurants because each makes its noodles slightly differently. The dipping sauce and side menus can differ as well. If you dine at more than one restaurant, check out the patterns on the restaurants’ utensils. Most restaurants have their original design!

Izushi Shiroyama Garden is another popular soba noodle restaurant.

  • If you eat a lot or want to make your own soba noodles, Izushi Shiroyama Garden (出石城山ガーデン) is a great place since they provide an all-you-can-eat soba plan and soba-making experience.
  • It would be best to make a reservation with them in advance by calling them at +81-796-52-7530. It allows them to determine if they need to prepare extra noodles for the day or make any necessary preparation for your soba-making experience.
  • Showing up without reservation can mean they won’t be able to cater to you. If you don’t speak Japanese, you can kindly ask the staff at your accommodation to make a phone call on your behalf.
  • If you have a Japanese phone number, you can also reserve it by submitting the web forms on their website HERE. If you don’t read Japanese, you can open the link in Google Chrome and translate the page into English by switching the language using the Google Translate icon on the right of the address bar.
  • They allow customers to bring their pets to the restaurant!
  • The all-you-can-eat soba session lasts for 60 minutes and costs.
    • 2,420 yen for adults
    • 1,650 yen for elementary school students and younger
  • The business hours of Izushi Shiroyama Garden are from 10 am to 6 pm.

Discover Other Attractions in Izushi

Click the photo for more travel ideas for Izushi!

After sorting out where to dine for lunch, it is now time to find out where else to spend time when you visit Izushi. The small town has some spots you might want to explore.

For more information, refer to our article on Izushi!

Visit Kinosaki Onsen for Extraordinary Michelin Certified Sceneries

For those who are looking for a hot spring resort with rich historical and cultural elements that also sports many recreational activities, make sure you visit Kinosaki Onsen. The spectacular view from Mt. Daishi is the recipient of a two Michelin star rating!

For more information, please refer to our article on Kinosaki Onsen!

Click the photo to find out more about the stunning Onsen Town