Flanked by the Seto Inland Sea, Sea of Japan and Hibikinada Sea, it comes as no surprise that Shimonoseki, the westernmost edge of Yamaguchi Prefecture, is home to many marine delicacies. The city lands the most anglerfish in Japan, prides itself on its creamy sea urchin, and is renowned for its fugu pufferfish.
One of the city’s most popular local dishes, however, involves no seafood.
Kawara Soba, a bed of green-tea infused buckwheat noodles, topped with shredded beef, ribbons of egg omelet, green onions, chili and lemon, is a hearty dish, perfect for chilly seasons. First conceived in Kawatana Onsen, a hot-spring town with over 800 years of history, it also has an unusual background.
Inspired by tales of soldiers’ meals during the late 19th-century Satsuma Rebellion, Kawara Soba is served on a baking hot traditional kawara roof tile. Legend has it that during the civil war, soldiers used such ceramic tiles to cook meat and wild plants as they patiently laid siege to Kumamoto Castle.
For Kawara Soba, the hot tile gives the fragrant tea noodles a crispy texture, while slices of lemon add a refreshingly sweet zing to the warming dish. Visit Kawatana Onsento try this unique noodle dish in its birthplace. The cold winter months are the perfect time to enjoy the town's hot springs and the steaming, hot noodles.
Kawatana Onsen is 50 minutes by Sanden bus from JR Shimonoseki Station. Alternatively, 5 minutes by taxi from JR Kawatana Onsen Station.
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