[Feature] Nanokamachi Gotenzeki! Soba Shop Shojiya
This is the third feature article on the Gotenzeki area of Nanokamachi in downtown Yamagata City.
This time, we will introduce the Nanokamachi branch of the soba noodle shop Shojiya. The main shop was founded between 1865 and 1868, making it the oldest of the many famous soba shops in Yamagata prefecture, the kingdom of soba noodles.
In addition to the interior, menus, and comments on of recommended dishes, we interviewed Nobuhiko Shoji, the fifth generation owner who’s keeping the traditional soba making techniques.
1. Soba Shop Shojiya Nanokamachi Gotenzeki branch
Gotenzeki is one of the five former weir (irrigation canals) areas in Yamagata City.
It was used to carry agricultural and domestic-use water for over 400 years, and part of Gotenzeki also flowed to the moat of the Yamagata Castle.
The area was redeveloped in 2010 utilizing the old-fashioned masonry canal and was renamed Nanokamachi Gotenzeki, now a place of relaxation for citizens and tourists.
This time we will be introducing the sole branch of the famed soba shop Shojiya that opened here in 2010.
The best thing about Shojiya is its insistence in soba making.
In addition to the “santate (freshly ground, freshly cut and freshly cooked)” process that is required for delicious soba, especially for buckwheat flour, the amount used for the day is prepared (stone mill) manually in the middle of the night the day before.
As for buckwheat noodles, the traditional method has been handed down to the modern age to achieve a “strong texture.”
In addition, the spicy broth is a traditional flavor that has been preserved for over 150 years, using Tosa bonito and Rishiri kelp.
No preservatives or synthetic coloring are used in either the broth and noodles, which are made with simple ingredients and modern equipment to have a “strong texture.”
The delicious taste produced by that belief has been popular for many years, and even now, many customers come from Yamagata prefecture on weekdays and from outside the prefecture on weekends.
It seems that people in the prefecture often bring guests from outside the prefecture here (^-^)
In fact, Shojiya has a large selection of local sake.
Did you know that the prototype izakaya is a soba restaurant?
Since I am not from Yamagata, I didn’t have the image of drinking alcohol at a soba restaurant.
Since the sake is also made with the seasonal flavor, make sure to have some at a soba restaurant! (^-^)
2. Exterior of the shop
This is the exterior of the shop.
Shojiya is the fourth shop on the left from the main street side.
3. Inside the shop
Inside it looks like this.
The modern and open interior had a calm atmosphere like a café.
I thought that it would be easy for women to use, and it actually seems to be true!
Immediately after entering you can see the soba making room on the left.
There are not many opportunities to see a soba making room, so I just got in.
Take the stairs in the center to go to the second floor.
The 2nd floor interior is based on wood grain and black colors, giving you a different atmosphere from the 1st floor.
You can enjoy the view of the Gotenzeki area from the window seats.
Soba with the view of the four seasons is also wonderful (^-^) ~ fresh green spring, summer with swirling clouds, autumn with red leaves, and winter with snowy scenery.
There are also semi-private rooms in the shop, making it easy for people who want to eat a little quietly.
There are chairs for children so it is not an issue if you want to bring kids too.
① In-shop food and drinks
Combo ita soba & tempura… 2,380 yen
Combo ita soba… 1,780 yen
Ita soba & tempura… 2,180 yen
Ita soba… 1,490 yen
Seiro soba & tempura… 1,850 yen
Sarashina ita soba & tempura… 2,550 yen
Sarashina ita soba… 1,820 yen
Sarashina seiro soba & tempura… 1,990 yen
Sarashina seiro soba… 940 yen
Chilled natto soba… 1,100 yen
Children’s zaru soba & tempura… 1,000 yen
Soba & tempura… 1,680 yen
Kamo nanban soba… 1,480 yen
Nameko soba… 1,200 yen
Oyako soba… 1,100 yen
Tori soba… 990 yen
Nishin soba… 1,210 yen
Yama kake soba… 1,060 yen
Tanuki soba… 870 yen
Kake soba… 800 yen
Soba & sakura shrimp tempura… 1,380 yen
*Not on Sundays and holidays
Mori soba or kake soba & small tendon… 1,100 yen
Kakesoba and tempura set… 1,350 yen
[A la carte]
Tempura set with 1 shrimp… 1,350 yen
Tempura platter 2 shrimps… 1,850 yen
Kamo (duck) soup… 770 yen
Condiments & kamo (duck) soup… 800 yen
Nameko with grated daikon… 480 yen
Chicken dumpling… 700 yen
Dengaku eggplant (with miso)… 700 yen
Fried sobakaki… 850 yen
Sakura shrimp tsumami tempura… 700 yen
Soba shop yakitori… 700 yen
[Evening Food & Drink set… 2,200 yen]
*Available from 16:00
Tsukemono pickles, three small dishes
Assorted tempura & soba
Tendon (tempura on rice bowl)… 1,880 yen
Small tendon… 720 yen
Takeout tenju (tempura on boxed rice)… 1,430 yen
[Sweets & Coffee]
Matcha ice cream… 450 yen
Soba shiruko… 600 yen
Coffee… 500 yen
There is a large selection available.
“Flexible” but “insistent.”
Takeout is available as of April 2020!
[TAKEOUT] Soba Shop Shojiya Nanokamachi Gotenzeki Branch
Main shop (Saiwai-cho): 023-622-1380
Nanokamachi Gotenzeki branch: 023-673-9636
③ Back order
Some items are sold online.
There are abundant products such as the popular toichi soba noodles, soba tsuyu broth, and a tasting set, ideal for gifts to people living far away.
For details, please see the linked sales site.
5. Recommended item tenseiro
This time, I got the tenseiro recommended by the 5th generation owner, (^-^)
Please see here! !! !!
The set includes a serving of toichi soba and tempura of a large shrimp and five different vegetables (shiitake, green beans, squash, eggplant and shiso).
The colors of the soba noodles and the bright vegetables were beautiful, and I was excited just by seeing it (^-^).
I’m a person who often takes photos during interviews, but this time it was really hard to not just start eating. (laugh)
The fifth generation owner recommended me to start eating!
First of all, I was surprised at the scent of buckwheat that spreads as soon as chewing on the soba.
With the mysterious feeling of “deep but refreshing”, the more you chew, the deeper the sweetness will spread.
Homemade toichi soba uses purely domestic buckwheat noodles mainly from Yamagata’s Dewa Kaori flour.
This is a must-try item when you come to Yamagata for sightseeing!
As for the spicy soba tsuyu broth, it is carefully made with bonito and kelp extracts to create a transparent look and firm flavor.
This is also surprisingly compatible with soba (>_<)
As I received it, I thought, “I should come with the kids next time!”
The tempura is large and filling!
In particular, the shrimp is a generous wild kuruma-ebi, while the batter is fried to be crispy with an irresistible texture!
The vegetables are chosen according to the season so you can enjoy the best flavors and freshness.
Being so good it is no wonder it is popular!
Please try it once!
Also, if you want to eat a lot you should try ordering another dish or two, like the recommended herring or roasted duck, etc.
6. Message from the 5th generation owner
Finally, I got a message from Nobuhiko Shoji, the fifth generation owner.
“Craftsmen make soba while studying every day.
Please come experience their simple taste.
We would like it if you could enjoy your time in this Kingdom of food, Yamagata.