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For a place that evinces such effusive praise (“one of the best soba shops in the world,” says at least one connoisseur), Take-yabu has a remarkably undemonstrative presence. In fact it manages to be so self-effacing, few people realize it’s there at all.

The only indication that it is a restaurant, rather than, say, a design studio or an exclusive hair salon, is the short brown noren stretched across its door, which is marked off from the street by a striking ironwork railing. That plus the name, spelled out on the door in barely discernible gold hiragana.

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