A relentless passion for flavor that offers an exquisite experience - Introducing an exquisite taste that will satisfy your innermost desires.
Vol.4 "Enjoy the authentic flavor of soba at Hakone Akatsukian"
Ginza Mitsukoshi 11F Hakone Akatsukian
Soba is a hot Japanese dish that is attracting worldwide attention. The ingredients of soba include buckwheat flour, water, and in some cases, thickeners. The taste, appearance, and the soothing sensation of the noodles going down your throat is greatly influenced by whether the store uses thickeners, where the buckwheat flour is produced, and the type of water.
A day at Hakone Akatsukian starts by the soba artisan making soba. The ingredients of the Hakone Akatsukian's are Japanese buckwheat flour that is milled at the store and flour that is used as a thickener. The soba called "nihachi soba" (literally means "two-eight soba") is made by using the buckwheat flour and flour in a 2:8 ratio. Let me now show you the intricate and yet powerful process of making soba. The first step is mixing buckwheat flour and flour with water. The delicate work must be skillfully done sensing the humidity and temperature of the day.
As the artisan continues kneading the mixture, it starts to become round.
The next step is stretching the dough with a rolling pin.
The thin, carefully stretched dough is stacked up in many layers and is then cut to a certain thickness. It is then packed in a box, cooked at the kitchen and brought to the customer's table.
Soba is popular in Japan throughout the year. More foreigners have started to visit Hakone Akatsukian as well. Let me now introduce how to eat cold soba. Gently pick up the soba that is in front of you.
① Eat it as it is without putting anything. Enjoy the original fragrance and flavor of the soba.
② Gently dip the soba in a cup that includes the dipping sauce for soba and eat it as you slurp the noodles. (The slurping sound is not considered to be rude in Japan)
③ Put in the condiments in the cup (thinly-sliced green onions and wasabi) and enjoy the slightly different flavor. Another way to enjoy the flavor of soba is to directly put the wasabi on the soba instead of putting it in the cup.
④ After finishing eating soba, pour the water used to boil the soba in the cup. Enjoy the healthy cup to conclude your meal (the water used to boil the soba is packed with good-for-you nutrients)
A major feature of soba is the feeling it goes through your throat called "nodogoshi."
The mannerism of eating soba is to eat it quickly without taking too much time.
Hakone Akatsukian Top five popular menus
Ranked No. 1 Premium kamo seiro (¥2,800)
This luxurious kamo seiro (soba with soba dipping sauce including duck meat) is served with warm, dipping sauce that includes duck meat. Enjoy the combination of cold soba dipped in a warm sauce infused with the flavor of delicious duck.
Ranked No. 2 Fujisan Soba Set (can be chosen from two options: zarusoba (soba served on a bamboo basket) and kakesoba (soba served in broth) ¥3,700
This set allows you to enjoy all of the staple dishes this soba store is proud of, including an appetizer, tempura, and soba. The filling set is sure to satisfy you.
(The soba in the picture is kakesoba)
Ranked No. 3 Ginza Soba Set (can be chosen from two options: zarusoba and kakesoba ¥1,650
This is a set with a great value. You can enjoy the deliciousness Hakone gives births to with the tofu using the famous water of Ashigara, Kanagawa Prefecture. Eat it the traditional Japanese way by dipping soba served on the bamboo basket in the dipping sauce.
(The soba in the picture is zarusoba)
Ranked No. 4 Kawari Soba (Matchagiri) ¥1,200
This soba includes the superfood, matcha that is popular among foreigners. The green color of the soba and aroma of the green tea is breathtaking.
(Only available as zarusoba served on a bamboo basket)
Ranked No. 5 Kamo Namban Soba ¥1,700
This is a warm soba that is served with duck meat. The warm soba which is popular among Chinese tourists allows you to enjoy soba with an even richer flavor by adding duck meat to the soup stock.
All of the soba served at Hakone Akatsukian is made by Japanese-grown soba flour milled in a stone mill. The superb quality soba flour is born by milling soba seeds. The soup stock used for the dipping sauce uses bonito flakes from Makurazaki, Kagoshima Prefecture. Enjoy the combination of traditional Japanese soba.
Let me lastly introduce a personal message from Mr. Koike, the store manager who made the soba on the day of this interview.
"Please come and try "Japanese soba" which represents Japanese cuisine. Our staff will all welcome you!"