Sunday, October 28, 2012

Chisuian, Special Soba Restaurant, Iwate

It is a very special place where they serve a special soba (蕎麦屋 soba-ya), usually only to 10 customers a day. The address is: Iwate-ken, Nishiiwai-gun, Hiraizumi-cho, Hiraizumi Kitome 1-3, a 20-minute walk from JR Tohoku Line Hiraizumi. It is open between 11:30am and 3pm, closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Phone number: 0191-46-5484.

The graceful simplicity of the interior is impressive. An antique and refined look, everything made of wood and windows made of washi, the Japanese traditional paper.

The black maneki-neko (fortune cat figurine) wards off evil:

And "le plat de résistance" ^_^ The main course is made of soba noodles 2.5% thicker than usual. It is called koten soba 古典そば classic soba.

It looks like a work of art. And the hashi-oki/chopstick rest is cut from a branch of tree, so exquisite.

The salt is naturally pink, yellowish, bluish, peach, cerise - the colour depends on the composition of the rock. It is gan'en 岩塩 haline, different from kaien 海塩 sea salt.

Grilled miso 焼き味噌 yaki-miso, on cedar wood. It is a soba-ya classic.

Sobayu 蕎麦湯 is hot water in which the soba noodles were boiled. It is thick and has a creamy texture. It is considered good for the blood vessels. It is delicious.

The drawings represent moods after eating soba. "Soba made me enjoy, made me laugh, encouraged me, praised me, taught me." Soba ga sensei deshita. Soba was a teacher.

Japanese people appreciate the asymmetry of stone paths. The one here is made of wood.

I love it. This is a unique garden effect. It follows the guiding principles of Sen no Rikyu who, apart from being the tea ceremony master, recommended also how to arrange the stones in a garden in order to achieve a serene and purifying, wabi-sabi effect. You can read more about the Japanese gardens in a book by Christopher Thacker, called "The History of Gardens."

It is a special place. It may seem odd that only children aged 10+ can enter it. I think it is required some maturity indeed to step into and relish it.

A modest facade:

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