Ⅰ. Soba noodle experience at an old style Nagaya apartment【Nagaya Sabo Tenshin-an】
・A 70-year-old nagaya apartment, converted into a Soba restaurant.
・ Tenshin-an’s menu
・ Shojin dish, vegetarian friendly food
・ A secret menu item (An advanced reservation is required)
・ A variety of workshops are available
Ⅱ. Have Japanese-Western style meals sitting in school chairs at a former pharmacy building. 【Cafe Koguma】
・ On the corner of a local shopping street
・ Collaboration between an old shop and school facilities.
・ Koguma’s menu
・ The café’s special dessert!
The Tokyo Sky Tree, Edo Tokyo Museum, Sumo Stadium, and Traditional Crafts Shops are located in the Sumida ward, and you may feel hungry while exploring. Two restaurants that will satisfy both your appetite and cultural curiosity will be introduced in this article.
Soba noodle experience at an old style Nagaya apartment【Nagaya Sabo Tenshin-an】
Soba noodles were a very popular food for Edo people (old Tokyoites’). The Edo downtown, Sumida ward, is an area where you should try soba noodles. Nagaya Sabo Tenshin-an is a restaurant where you can enjoy them with the restaurant’s chef.
A 70-year-old nagaya apartment, converted into a Soba restaurant.
The apartment was originally designed with old Japanese style architecture. With the help from the owners’ friends, they turned it into a soba restaurant. The exterior still retains the nostalgic design of the 1930’s.
The owner learned how to make soba from a well-known soba chef who has a restaurant in a suburb of Hiroshima city. He mixes high quality soba powder with water, then rolls it into soba noodles. Another specialty is their coffee. The owners’ love for coffee motivates him to roast the beans himself. The soba noodles and coffee are an unlikely combination, but their taste blends very well together at this restaurant.
Shojin dish, vegetarian friendly food
Some of Tenshin-an’s dishes are based on the Shojin (精進) dish, a dish for some Buddhist monks. They prohibit eating living creatures, so it could be said this is a kind of vegetarian friendly dish. (There are exceptions, so please ask the owner in advance) Let’s ask the owner more about the Shojin dish.
A secret menu item (An advanced reservation is required)
The shop’s secret menu item, Toji-Soba, is a very fun way to eat Soba noodles. Put a small portion of Soba noodles into a hot-pot with seasonal vegetables and chicken. The soup makes the soba noodles taste very special and delicious. This is a local dish from Nagano prefecture.
A variety of workshops are available
The owner loves to hold various workshops for making Soba noodles, Eating soba in English class, Japanese flower arrangements, and more! He wants the shop to be a Terakoya school-like place.
*Terakoya: ancient Japanese educational institution
- Spot name：
- Address：1-6-5 Bunka, Sumida, Tokyo
- Getting there：A 12 min walk from the Tokyo Sky Tree Tower
- Opening hours：12.00-19.00
- Closing dates：Wednesday, Thursday
- Website：tenshinan.jp（Japanese text only）
Have Japanese-Western style meals sitting in school chairs at a former pharmacy building.【cafe Koguma】
The Tokyo Sky Tree area of the Sumida ward demonstrates both old and modern Tokyo. Koguma serves modern dishes that are arrangements of popular Japanese food in very interesting environments.
On the corner of a local shopping street
The Koguma café is located on the retro, “pigeon town” (鳩の街) shopping street. Established in 1948, it’s just 15 minutes from the Tokyo Sky Tree. You can experience the neighborhood hospitality from the downtown locals here.
*Koguma means baby bear in Japanese.
Collaboration between an old shop and school facilities.
Café Koguma is a renovated, age old pharmacy. The remnants of the former business can be seen in both the exterior and interior, such as the sign board and the classic wall clock. Furthermore, the café uses desks and chairs that are normally used in public junior high schools. I think many Japanese people would look back on their school days and enjoy chatting about it.
The café serves Japanese western style food such as baked rice omelets, baked rice curry, and rice topped with ginger fried pork. Rice omelets are one of Japan’s beloved foods; ketchup rice covered with a baked egg. Koguma’s baked rice omelets (焼きオムライス) are certificated as a modern dish of Sumida by the local authorities.
The café’s special dessert!
Don’t miss the award winning, modern Sumida dish called, “Anmitsu-dama”.
Anmitsu* (あんみつ) is a popular Japanese sweet. Anmitsu jelly is a new creation from Koguma.
*Anmitsu is usually pieces of square cut Kanten jelly (ager) topped with sweetened fruits, salty and sweet beans, and brown sugar sauce (the toppings can vary).
Homemade cakes are also available. Their flavors vary from season to season. See the link: ameblo.jp/mukoujima-koguma/theme(Japanese text only)
- Address：1-23-14, Higashi-Mukojima, Sumida, Tokyo
- Getting there： A 15 min walk from the Tokyo Sky Tree
- Opening hours：10:30-18:30
- Closing dates： Tuesdays, Wednesdays
- Website：www.ko-gu-ma.com/index.html（Japanese text only）
The dishes in this article are very popular Japanese foods and are served in the special buildings that have a nostalgic and warm atmosphere. You may feel like you’re in 1930-40’s Tokyo. Fill yourself up and get ready for your next adventure!