Azumaya Soba Shop Nakanohashi Ave. 1-8-3 (several more locations are in Morioka), 0120-733-130.
|entrance to Azumaya Soba Shop in Morioka, Japan|
This all-you-can-eat cold soba noodle experience involves wearing a special apron, sitting on the floor on a tatami mat at a low table, and then eating small portions of noodles served in lacquered wooden bowls that are stacked up as they are emptied. Guests are allowed to dump the liquid soup in a special bowl so that they have more space in their tummies for noodles, and are encouraged by chanting servers to eat more and more--as much as they can. Near the end, fellow diners sometimes join in the chant. Service does not stop until the diner puts the lid on their final bowl, meaning they have had enough.
|noodle servings at Azumaya Soba Shop in Morioka, Japan|
|diners at Azumaya Soba Shop in Morioka, Japan|
This is not just dinner, it is a contest called wanko soba. The record here is 500 bowls of noodles eaten by a man from Osaka, and 570 bowls eaten by a local Morioka woman. Each bowl holds only a few noodles, and 15 bowls--which is equivalent to an ordinary full bowl of soba--is average. The Noodle King in my group downed 100 bowls!, while I managed only 19. Part of the fun is that the empty bowls are stacked up beside each diner, and as the meal winds down people try to eat more and more. A few spices and toppings are provided for taste, and soba soup or tea is served when the contest is over. Once popular all over Japan after World War II, this eating sport remains particularly popular in this area. A few other area noodle houses also provide the same fun.
|American Noodle King David Lang at Azumaya Soba Shop in Morioka, Japan|
|tea service at Azumaya Soba Shop in Morioka, Japan|
More things to do in Japan.
Great ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world.
images ©2020 Carole Terwilliger Meyers