Translated by Lester Somera
Just a Kansai guy trying to get by
Mount Takao in western Tokyo is a Michelin Guide three-star sightseeing and hiking destination. We are introducing Takahashiya, a soba restaurant famous for its "tororo soba", the best fuel for Mount Takao hikers.
Mount Takao (Takaosan 高尾山), located in western Tōkyō, is a sightseeing area that was recognized in 2007 as a three-star destination by the Michelin Travel Guide. Of course, visitors to Mount Takao can enjoy rich and abundant natural scenery. Mount Takao is also well-regarded as a spot for tourists because of its accessibility from Shinjuku - one hour away by train - and thanks to the well-maintained mountain trails that can be traversed by even the most novice climbers.
It is said that Mount Takao is home to the tengu, a variety of yōkai (supernatural monsters). This mountain is also famous for the Yakuōin Temple, located near the summit.
The famous dish of the Mount Takao area is tororo soba. There are several delicious soba shops around the foot of the mountain and along the roads leading to the summit.
Today, we will introduce Takahashiya, the oldest of those shops, with a 170-year-old history.
Tororo is a foodstuff made from grated Japanese or Chinese yams and is the topping for tororo soba.
In ancient Japanese times, grated yam was thought to have fortifying and nutritive effects. It is said that in the past, tororo soba was served to pilgrims that were climbing the mountain to visit Yakuōin. This is how it became the famous dish of Mount Takao.
As you step through the door of the restaurant, the first thing that you see is this ancient tree. Piercing through the roof and still growing, this 150-year old persimmon tree is the symbol of Takahashiya.
As you sit down, you will first be offered some “soba cha,” a drink made from roasted buckwheat seeds. You can enjoy the unique flavor and aroma of this uniquely Japanese tea concoction.
Tororo soba costs 900 yen (tax included). Typically, you will receive a set of three dishes in large, medium, and small sizes.
This is the soba. The noodles are placed in soup (tsuyu) to make a simple meal. Warm soba with no toppings is called kake soba.
Takahashiya combines buckwheat flour from Nagano prefecture - famous for its soba - and grated yam to serve its specially-made soba.
The medium-sized dish contains grated yam. The white is grated yam, the yellow is egg, and the bumpy substance to the lower-right is “tonburi.” Tonburi consists of the cured and dried seeds of a plant known as kochia.
Because of its similar texture, in Japan, tonburi is sometimes known as “field caviar.”
The small-sized dish contains green onions. Mix the grated yam, and together with the green onions, pour them on top of the soba.
Takahashiya uses an even ratio of Japanese and Chinese yams in the preparation of its tororo, so you can really feel the tasty viscosity and thickness of the grated yams.
The soup exudes the flavor of bonito, and it is perfect with the fragrant soba. As the grated yams cling to the soba, the taste will become creamy, and you can enjoy an entirely different flavor profile.
We could not get enough and drank our soup down to the last drop!
After you fuel up with some tororo soba, please take the challenge of climbing Mount Takao! We encourage everyone to sample some tororo soba when they are in the Mount Takao area.
Mt. Takao Takahashiya
Address: Tokyo, Hachiōji, Takaomachi 2209
Operating Hours: 10:00 - 18:00 (Last Order at 17:30)
※ Single tables, Public seating 10:00 - around 21:00
Summer Vacation: Every year, late July to early August (for five days)
Winter Vacation: Every year, mid-December to late December (for five days)
Spring Vacation: Every year, late February to early March (for three days)
Also other temporary holidays
Wi-Fi Access: No
Credit Cards Accepted: No
Foreign Language Support: Japanese
Foreign Language Menus: None
Nearest Station: Takaosanguchi Station 高尾山口 (Keiō Line), Takao Station 高尾 (JR)
Access: Three minute walk from Takaosanguchi Station, three minute walk from Takao Station
Price Range: 1,000 - 2,000 yen
Phone Number: +81-042-661-0010
Official Homepage: Mt. Takao Takahashiya (Japanese)