Still in the mountains of Kiso Valley, Nagano, following our walk about the heritage town Narai-juku, we next enjoyed a scenic drive to Zcobo, a fancy restaurant completely tucked away in the mountain forest.

IMG_20141009_130931 mountain forest at zcobo restaurant, nagano, japan

Soba is the Japanese name for buckwheat and is also synonymous with a type of thin noodle made from buckwheat flour. Soba noodles are served either chilled with a dipping sauce, or in hot broth as a noodle soup.

Nagano prides itself on having the best soba noodles in the whole of Japan, and as such Yuko was eager for us to try this rather famous dish of theirs!

IMG_20141009_131006 terrance brown and ryan lotter at zcobo restaurant, nagano, japan

The restaurant is a bit of a gem actually, completely isolated and set in the middle of a mountain forest. The furnishings are modern and welcoming, and after relying on Yuko and Terrance to pick out some dishes for us from the Japanese menu (which surprisingly, didn’t have pictures – unusual for Japan, where seeing the food that you are to order is a bit of a thing. Or at least, I don’t remember these menus having pictures. It’s been a while, so I could be wrong.), we eagerly received our vaunted soba noodles.

IMG_20141009_133258 soba noodles at zcobo restaurant, nagano, japan

At this point I have to be honest. The cold, buckwheat noodles were not something that I particularly enjoyed, and I didn’t get very far into my big bowl of noodles. (That said, I’m a simple South African man who seldom likes anything that isn’t meat and potatoes. So I take the blame for this one!)

However, the experience itself was great, and now at least I can say I’ve eaten Japan’s famous soba noodles. (Needless to say, Chantelle is quite jealous).

Related Link: Soba Noodles