Lake Chuzenji is one of the prettiest places you'll come across: a quaint tourist town set on the side of a beautiful lake on top of a mountain, with more picturesque mountains in the background. Visitors to Nikko often take a side trip to Chuzenji-ko to enjoy the gorgeous natural scenery. But while you're strolling around the lake or taking a hike, what are you going to eat?
One good option is Tsuruya, a "yuba cuisine" restaurant right in the heart of the action. What is yuba? Yuba is a food made from the skin created by heated soymilk - it's an incredibly delicious dish that famously comes from the Nikko area. The best part about yuba is its versatility. The food is used in an unbelievably wide range of foods, from noodles to drinks, dumplings to burgers. You can hardly walk anywhere in Nikko or the Lake Chuzenji area without being surrounded by yuba shops.
At Tsuruya, the menu includes dishes like yuba soba, yuba udon, yuba curry, and yuba rice bowls. I tried the yuba curry, which was simply fantastic. It was served with some yuba on the side (of course) and also tamarizuke, Japanese pickles, another specialty of this restaurant. The menu also includes yuba on the dessert and drinks menu, including yuba custard pudding and yuba tounyu.
The restaurant is bright and friendly, a mixture of casual style and traditional Japanese. It takes up half the building, with the other half devoted to a large souvenir shop that includes lots of yuba-based products (which is a similar restaurant/shop split found in the other businesses in the area). Prices are right in line with other similar restaurants in the area, which means that you can expect to pay between 700 and 1,200 yen for a basic set meal.
Tsuruya is located on the main street that runs alongside Lake Chuzenji (Route 120), across from the parking lot and main bus stop. It is just a short walk from Kegon Falls as well. There is no table charge. Reservations can be made in advance, which would only seem to be necessary during peak tourist seasons. Unfortunately the menus are written in Japanese, but have plenty of photos to make it easy to point if you don't speak the language.