When you think of Japanese soba, you rarely think of the suburbs. To get the good stuff, dedicated fans will often head off to regional areas known for the quality of their water and buckwheat.
So imagine my surprise on discovering Soba Omura, an honestly delicious soba noodle restaurant in suburban Yashio in south-east Saitama. Yashio is not what you would call a first-choice culinary destination. Once known for its industrial parks, the area has seen some solid residential development over the years, with family-friendly restaurants following.
As to be expected, Omura's signature dish is zaru soba, or cold soba with dipping sauce. Light and ever so rustically smooth, zaru soba is my favourite way of eating soba, just dip and slurp. At 650 JPY, it's a steal. Kamo seiro, or cold soba with a duck meat dipping sauce is also a favourite here, all for a measly 1050 JPY. Honestly, even without the price, it's safe to say to say that duck is a most excellent partner to soba.
Omura also offers tempura, udon, and curry dishes. Fine and tasty as they are, a word of advice. The signature dishes here are soba noodles, hence the restaurant's full name Te Uchi Soba Omura. Te Uchi Soba means handmade soba noodles. The way soba noodles are meant to be enjoyed.
The best time to eat here is at lunchtime. The restaurant enforces a no-smoking policy during this time and the restaurant is honestly a lovely place to eat as a result. Proof that Yashio's residential growth is moving in the right way.
Go out the north gate of Yashio Station on the Tsukuba Express Line. Head to the main road on the far side of the Frespo shopping centre. Follow it north-east until your reach the Yashio General Hospital. Omura will be on the opposite side, on the left. An easy 10-minute walk.
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A Japanese Permanent Resident who enjoys drooling over proper soba and sushi, Japanese aesthetics ticks all the right boxes for me and I enjoy stringing words together. I've almost one hundred published articles on Japan as well as five English language books written in the traditional Japanese zuihitsu-style.