Shopping and Eating in Kurokawa # 11: Naka Restaurant

I am sometimes asked by hungry tourists to recommend a suitable place to eat  an inexpensive lunch in Kurokawa . Ajidokoro Naka ( 味処なか) is a small Japanese restaurant centrally  located near the river on Shimokawabata dori that won’t break the bank ,and is frequented by locals and tourists alike.

 

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Entrance to Naka Japanese restaurant

 

Set back  slightly from the street,it’s another of those unassuming restaurants that you could almost pass by,unsure as to whether it’s actually open for business or not!

 

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Luckily it’s open today!

 

English menus are available for the food,but there is no drinks list in English,so pointing at a bottle on the shelf or gesturing will probably get you served with your alcoholic beverage of choice. Prices start from around  ¥650 for a bowl of udon noodles with beef ,and the owner explained that as the cost of most dishes is low ,payment is cash in only .  Seating is Japanese style on cushions inside separate booths ,or there are a few seats at the counter.

 

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English menu at Naka Restaurant

 

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Dining area ,one of several booths inside Naka restaurant.

 

This is one of the few  drinking and eating establishments open in the evening (until 9pm) in Kurokawa,as most visitors are enjoying the delights of dining and bathing at their respective Ryokan. I’m sure there would be a warm welcome at Naka to anyone taking an evening stroll around town, who finds they are in need of a ‘top up’  meal or a drink or two!

 

SUMMARY

No frills Japanese dining and drinking

Open 10:30 to 21:00 most days ( but currently closed Tuesdays and Fridays owing to shortage of staff)

English menu. Very little English spoken ,but helpful staff.

 

 

 

Shopping and Eating in Kurokawa #10: Kisho Tofu restaurant

Conveniently located just across the road from the Visitor Center,Kisho Tofu Restaurant    (とうふ吉祥) is open most days from 10:00 to 17:00 and a great choice for lunch if you like tofu,tofu and even more tofu! Even the desserts are made from tofu or soya milk.

 

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Is it a restaurant? Is it open?

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Hooray…it`s open today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I`m glad to see these new ,clear signs around Kurokawa at all the shops,restaurants and cafés. Even though I can read some Japanese,I must admit that it`s not always clear to me whether a certain shop is open for business on  that day or not,so it must be very difficult sometimes for the overseas visitor who can`t read any Japanese. Kisho Tofu restaurant is subtly lit and set back a little from the road,and  years ago when I walked around Kurokawa with a friend from the UK, we mistook it for a private old style Japanese  house! (Which it was originally until it was remodelled inside as a restaurant ).

 

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Large tatami room,Japanese style seating.

 

Popular items served here are the Tofu `sets` starting from ¥1600,perhaps a little over your usual lunchtime budget, but made with fresh, high-quality tofu and soya beans. An easy-to-read English menu with photos and prices is provided,which along with the multilingual  `point and ask`  laminated vocabulary card makes dining here quite straightforward even though the staff didn`t seem to speak any English. Credit cards are accepted.

 

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Helpful menu with photos

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A game of Noughts and Crosses anyone?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUMMARY

Open 10:00 to 17:00 (but closed Tuesdays and Fridays)

English menu

Credit cards accepted

 

 

 

Shopping and Eating in Kurokawa # 6: Yumekurodo Gift Shop

Exploring a section of Sakuradori Street this rainy afternoon…and it was difficult to keep my purse closed at the first stop, Yumekurodo (夢蔵人).

 

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Entrance to Yumekurodo

 

Such a colorful array of small,light and easily transportable presents such as socks,handkerchiefs,wall hangings and jewellery in traditional Japanese designs,with many of the smaller items selling at 2 (or 3) for ¥1080 (that pesky 8% tax!) . I was almost tempted to start my Christmas shopping!

 

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Socks (tabi) and hankies going for 1080yen for three. Must go back for those sushi socks!

 

Popular items here are the original Kurokawa T-shirts and tote bags. T-shirts and clothing are hard to find in Kurokawa,these T-shirts are perfect for the warmer months if you find you need to add to your wardrobe on your travels,children`s sizes and adults up to XL available.

 

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Cool T shirts

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Tote-ally cool totes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUMMARYimage

Open Daily: 9:30 to 17:00

Credit cards accepted

Some signs in English and Korean,a little English spoken.

 

 

 

 

Eating and Shopping in Kurokawa #3: Roku Cake shop

I find it impossible to walk past this bustling little cake shop without popping in for their speciality choux cream buns,freshly-filled to order (¥220) You can perch at the small table in the shop or on a bench outside and gobble them down straightaway (coffee is served too sometimes,but this may depend on how busy the shop is) or have them carefully packaged up with dry ice if you are taking them home for later.

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Choux buns ready for filling!

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ROKU shop front

 

Located in the narrow Shimokawabata-dori Street, ROKU (麓パティスリー)is on the corner just across from a small temple. It can get very crowded at times,with tourists buying boxes of cakes just after checking out mid-morning and before travelling home. Opening hours are from 9am to 6pm, closed Tuesdays. The cakes on display are mouth-watering,ranging from Apple pies to Swiss Rolls and cheesecakes and other seasonal choices.

 

Please note that ROKU is primarily a cake shop,not a sit down cafe,although they do let you perch for a short time to devour your recently purchased goodies!

And a polite request from the staff…..PLEASE do not touch any unwrapped cakes before you purchase!!! I know it can perhaps be hard for some of you to control yourselves….but it`s a no-no!

 

SUMMARY

OPEN DAILY (not Tuesdays) 9:00 to 18:00

A little English spoken

CREDIT CARDS: Yes

 

 

 

Eating and Shopping in Kurokawa: Eating #2 Sobatatsu restaurant

It can be difficult to find a restaurant downtown in Kurokawa for a quick ,tasty yet not too expensive lunch, but `Sobatatsu`(蕎麦龍) is a recently-opened restaurant that fits the bill nicely. Located in the grounds of Wakaba Ryokan,in the building to the left of the main entrance,it`s a short walk from the Visitor Center.(Go down the stairs and slope immediately behind the Visitor Center,cross the bridge over the river,then walk up the fairly steep,narrow lane for the last bit and Wakaba Ryokan  (わかば旅館) is on the left not far from Ikoi Ryokan.

 

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Entrance to Sobatatsu Restaurant

 

As the name suggests,the main dish on offer here is soba noodles,either hot or cold on their own,or as part of a set. It was a chilly day when I visited,so I warmed up nicely with a set of hot soba noodles with tempura (¥1200). To be honest I`m  not a soba noodle fan,but I really enjoyed these (freshly prepared on the premises by the owner earlier in the day),the soup was delicious and the tempura crisp and fresh. My son polished off a set of cold soba with tempura and was happy to then spend a few minutes using the free wifi connection here while I finished eating.

 

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Hot soba tempura set…..

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…or cold ….

 

Sobatatsu is a fairly new restaurant,seating 18 (western style)  and suitable both for families or solo travellers .Service is prompt,and while you are waiting there is free wifi anyway. An English menu is available,although daily specials are posted on the wall in Japanese. The restaurant also serves items such as chicken,onigiri rice balls ,various alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

 

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English menu at Sobatatsu

 

SUMMARY

OPEN DAILY: 12:00 to 15:00

ENGLISH MENU: Yes,a little English spoken (also by staff in neighbouring Ryokan)

CREDIT CARDS:  Yes