All About Japan

Traditional 'Sobaya' Around Tokyo

| Restaurants , Soba
Traditional 'Sobaya' Around Tokyo

A sobaya is a place that sells soba noodles, a traditional Japanese food and common component of the Japanese diet for many centuries. There are quite a few famous and historical sobaya that have been in the Japanese capital for a while; some of them for more than a century!

1. Kanda Matsuya

If you're looking for a famous sobaya with history, then Kanda Matsuya is definitely a must-see! This place topped many different restaurant and food rankings. It has been open since 1884, during the Meiji Period (1868-1912), though the building we see now was built in 1925 after the Kanto Earthquake. It has been listed as one of the historical buildings of Tokyo. The most desired dish, of course, is the soba, and we recommend you order the traditional mori soba so you can try the texture and original taste of soba. The queue is always full of people so be prepared to wait for a bit. The wait is worth it!

Address: 1-13 Kanda Sudacho, Chiyoda, Tokyo
• JR Kanda Station East Exit: 5-min walk
• JR Akihabara Station Denkigai Exit: 5-min walk
• Metro Marunouchi Line Awajicho Station Exit A3: 1-min walk 
• Toei Shinjuku Line Kogawamachi Station Exit A3: 1-min walk

- (Japanese)

2. Kanda Yabu Soba

Another old sobaya in the Kanda area, Kanda Yabu Soba opened in 1880. It's one of the three locations of Yabu Sobaya in Tokyo (together with Namiki Yabu Soba and Ikenohata Yabu Soba). Yabu Soba is one of the three big soba families across Japan (the other two are Sunaba from Osaka and Sarashina from Shinshu). Depending on the season, you can enjoy different kinds of seasonal soba, so keep visiting the sobaya all year around!

Address: 2-10 Kanda Awajicho, Chiyoda, Tokyo
• JR Ochanomizu Station Hijiribashi Exit or Metro Chiyoda Line Shin Ochonomizu Exit B2: 5-min walk
• Metro Marunouchi Line Awajicho Station or Toei Shinjuku Line Kogawamachi Station Exit A3: 2-min walk
• Metro Ginza Line Kanda Station Exit 5: 3-min walk
• JR Kanda Station Kita Exit: 5-min walk
• JR Akihabara Station Denkigai Exit: 5-min walk

- (Japanese)

3. Namiki Yabu Soba

Located in another old neighborhood of Tokyo, Asakusa, is Namiki Yabu Soba. Founder Kazuzo Horita was actually part of the family running Kanda Yabu Soba, and opened his independent sobaya in 1913. On a cold winter day, after walking around Asakusa, it feels very good to jump into this antique sobaya and taste some warm soba.

Address: 2-11-9, Taito-ku, Kaminarimon, Tokyo
Directions: Toei Asakusa Line or Metro Ginza Line Asakusa Station Exit A4 & A5: 1-min walk

4. Sunaba

As mentioned earlier, Sunaba is one of the three largest soba families in Japan. Based in Osaka, they became so famous that they even expanded to Kanto. There are a few Sunaba in Tokyo, but the one in Toranomon is definitely one of the most visited, as it's located near many offices. This Sunaba opened in 1872, but the building we see today is relatively new after renovations in 2007. It's registered as a historical building with great historical value and we recommend you to visit during weekday lunch so you can experience the businessperson culture of Tokyo while eating your wonderful soba!

Address: 1-10-6 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo
• Metro Ginza Line Toranomon Station Exit 1: 3-min walk
• JR Shinbashi Station Shiodome Exit: 10-min walk

- (Japanese)