When we were looking for a great place for lunch, we once asked our Airbnb hosts for recommendations. They gave a few really good ones, but one that stood out was this small place named Kyorakutei that served hand-cut soba noodles. You can watch them make the noodles through the window in the front, which is pretty cool.
You should get here in time for lunch, though, because there will be quite a line in front of the Kyorakutei. We arrived here very early, so it was not a problem for us to get a seat for four. It’s a very popular place in a popular area, just off the main street with its many other restaurants in Kagurazaka. If you like, you should walk around here, there are quite some interesting shops and restaurants around.
The Kyorakutei specializes in their hand-cut soba noodles and they are even on the Michelin’s Bib Gourmand list. Considering that you will get a high-quality lunch here, it is actually more than affordable, not to mention really delicious! A lunch meal with an appetizer will amount to about ¥ 1,300 (about 10 €), which for Japanese standards is an expensive lunch but it used to have a Michelin star (when I first visited in 2014) and it’s still on the Bib Gourmand list, so I consider it’s a pretty good value for this quality.
We started with an appetizer that consisted of seared duck meat and leek, served in a typical Japanese ceramic plate. The meat was so tender and we were served some sauce for dipping, I think it was a kind of ponzu sauce. I liked how simple this dish was, yet full of flavor. Just the right thing for an appetizer, don’t you think?
As usual with restaurants that specialize in soba noodles, you can choose to have them in a warm soup with vegetables and meat or enjoy them cold with a ponzu sauce and some leek. The ponzu sauce will be served in a cup and you take up some soba noodles with your chopsticks, dip the soba noodles in the sauce and slurp them right out of the cup. This is a typical summer dish and very refreshing on a hot summer day!
We each chose different soups to eat our soba with, with lots of greens, with seared duck meat, chicken or tofu and mushrooms. Each one of the soups were equally great, just the right thing for a chilly and rainy day.
The broth is also a katsuo kombi dashi combination, like with many soup stocks in Japan, but for soba it isn’t as strong in flavor as ramen broth, which often adds pork or chicken to the broth.
There are many other great restaurants that actually offer Michelin-starred meal sets for just under ¥ 1,000. If you’re a foodie and gourmet, check the Michelin Guide to find amazing restaurants.
Did you like this post? Don’t forget to check the other posts in my Tokyo Foodie Tour to see more of my reviews of great restaurants in Tokyo. If you’re planning a trip to Kyoto as well, head over to my Kyoto Foodie Tour series!
Planning your trip
There are a lot of good hotels or hostels around in Tokyo. I prefer to stay at an Airbnb apartment. In my experience, it has often proven to be much more affordable and comfortable as well. If you haven’t signed up for Airbnb yet, you can use this link and get 18 € (or 20 $) off of your first booking! If hotels are more your thing, I’ve been told that the Toyoko Inn Hotels are good, so feel free to check their rates!
If you are planning a longer trip through Japan, consider getting the Japan Rail Pass! Read here to find out more about the pass!
To help me plan all my trips and itineraries in Japan, I mostly used the Lonely Planet Japan (Travel Guide)*. I’ve used it a lot when I was living in Japan and found it a great help this time as well!