Soba noodles at Katase, Azumino-Ikeda in Japan’s Nagano region

One of the specialities of the mountainous Nagano prefecture (also known as Shinshu) is Soba noodles. These are made from buckwheat, and there are few things that beat a really good Soba meal, especially at lunchtime. And it’s almost always a very affordable eat.

On my last trip, a few weeks ago, we had one memorable meal at restaurant Katase, in Azumino-Ikeda. Out of the window, we could see the Japanese Alps.

Normally, soba noodles come cold. There’s a dipping sauce with daishi in it, and this time we had them with tempura.

When you finish the noodles, you get a pot with the liquid that the noodles were boiled in, and you add it to the rest of your dipping sauce to make a deliciously savoury hot soup.