Shojiya-The Art of Making Soba

Chef Shoji is a master of his craft

By Alena Eckelmann    - 1 min read

Watching Shoji, the chef at Shojiya, made me realize that making soba is an art that involves passion for this Japanese buckwheat noodle, mastership of the ingredients and tools, plus a good portion of muscle power. This young soba chef trained at a well-known Tokyo soba restaurant and their overseas branch in New York before returning to the family business in Yamagata. His father, the 4th generation soba master runs the main family restaurant while the son, the 5th generation soba master, runs a branch. Of course he speaks English well and he is able to explain all you want to know about soba. Freshly made right in front of your eyes and according to the family recipe, soba at Shojiya is the ultimate soba experience in Yamagata City, and I dare say, well beyond.

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Alena Eckelmann

Alena Eckelmann @alena.eckelmann

Founder of Kii Monogatari, my story and the story of the Kii Peninsula of Japan. Originally from East Germany, I came to Tokyo, via Berlin and London, in 2005. In summer 2011 I moved by choice to remote Kumano in the south of the Kii Peninsula where I live, work and play now, and explore every day.The whole of the Kii Peninsula is a Healing Hub for me with its abundance of forest, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, the ocean, friendly rural communities and sacred places. This is where nature meets spirituality, and tradition meets sustainability, the new paradigm for travel post-pandemic. My deep interest is in Japanese nature & spirituality. I love being in nature, in the forest and in the mountains, and I love spending time at temples and shrines.  I am building my life and my work around these two passions. I am a Licensed Forest Therapy (Shinrin Therapy) Guide and a Licensed Kumano Kodo and Koyasan Guide. I am also a Licensed Retreat Facilitator and I am planning retreats on the Kii Peninsula. Last but not least, I have been the Japan Travel Partner for Wakayama and Yamagata since the conception of the platform in 2011! These two prefectures are close to my heart because they are the centers of Shugendo, a spiritual tradition of mountain ascetism. I am a Shugendo Practitioner for over ten years now and received Tokudo in 2016 at a Shugendo temple on Yoshinoyama. Please kindly connect via my Facebook Page Kii Monogatari. Take care, keep well, stay safe!