Ever wondered how to make soba noodles? Take one of these cooking classes around Japan to learn from the Japanese soba chefs themselves!
① Soba Classes in Tendo, Yamagata
Soba noodles are defined by one ingredient: buckwheat (AKA soba), and the northern reaches of Japan are covered with endless fields of the crop. So when it comes to “soba-uchi taiken” (そば打ち体験, soba cooking classes), Japan’s northern Tohoku Region is a great place to start!
Tendo is a city in the prefecture of Yamagata, known for snowy winters, beautiful views, and decades of shogi (Japanese chess) manufacturing. It’s also home to Tendo Kogen Family Land (天童高原ファミリーランド), which offers hands-on soba noodle cooking classes.
The soba used to make these soba noodles is grown in the fields right next to the classroom, and is particularly known for its fragrant buckwheat aroma. After class, you can choose to stay for lunch, and enjoy a simple dish of soba noodles that really brings out the buckwheat flavors.
Tendo Kogen Family Land (天童高原ファミリーランド）
1321 Tamugino, Tendo City, Yamagata
Open May to October
Fee: 2,500 yen each for 1 ~ 4 participants (discounts available for larger groups)
+500 yen for lunch
Official Website (jp)
② Soba Classes in Minamiaizu, Fukushima
Another part of the Tohoku Region, Minamiaizu is famous for gorgeous views of blooming fields of buckwheat that turn fluffy and white at the end of summer, and local soba specialties found nowhere else. The most famous local soba dish is called “negi-soba” (ネギ蕎麦), which literally means “green onion soba.” While the buckwheat noodles themselves are a fairly standard variety, negi-soba is eaten with the huge green onion that gives it its name. The dish comes from Ouchijuku, a tiny village within Minamiaizu known for quaint old-fashioned houses, and while locals sometimes just let the onion add a little extra flavor to the broth, many will also take big bites of green onion as they eat the soba for intense added flavor!
Of course, we wouldn’t be talking about negi-soba if you there weren’t negi-soba cooking classes!
The Ouchijuku Shoku-no-Yakata (大内宿 食の館) is a traditional Japanese building and a cooking school, where visitors can learn how to knead the local buckwheat flour into a soft dough, roll it out into flat sheets, and then cut the folded layers into clean, rectangular noodles. You get to eat your own handmade noodles with a big old green onion in the end, too!
Negi-Soba Cooking Classes at Ouchijuku Shoku-no-Yakata (大内宿 食の館)
Kusurimizu-1053 Ouchi, Shimogo, Minamiaizu District, Fukushima
Open April to November
Fee: 4,000 yen total for 1 ~ 4 participants
Info Page (jp) | Tel: 0241-68-2800
▼ See the Japankuru team making negi-soba in Minamiaizu!
③ Soba Classes in Nasu, Tochigi
Nasu is famous as a summer getaway for residents of Tokyo, including the Japanese Emperor himself, who keeps a summer house in the area! And the area’s popularity stems from its breezy summer climate and abundance of green forest (plus some great onsen). A visit to Nasu provides plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in the local nature and natural resources, including food grown nearby!
Epinard Nasu, a popular resort in the area, offers quite a few workshops and cooking classes that take advantage of local ingredients, but that doesn’t mean they cut any corners when it comes to their soba noodle classes. While chatting away with the expert teachers, these cooking classes still take you through the process step by step, from basic ingredients to finished soba noodles, eaten with the head chef’s specialty soba dipping sauce.
Name: Soba Noodle Classes