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Inakatei: Century-old noodle shop maintains its proud traditions

by

Special To The Japan Times

Inakatei does not look its age. First opened in 1910, or Meiji 43, it’s been serving noodles for more than a century. A makeover a few years back gave it a modern Japanese touch: wood finishing and furnishings abound, while the communal table near the open kitchen is filled with vases of flowers all year round. There’s a mix of Western-style table seating and floor seating.

Inakatei is located at the western end of Sanjo Arcade, a long and wide shopping street that’s rather quickly gentrifying: kissaten (traditional coffee shops) as well as fruit and vegetable sellers are giving way to lackluster cafes and pop-up shops. Thankfully, the fifth-generation owners of Inakatei do not appear to be going anywhere.

The noodles are made, rolled and cut at the back of the restaurant following a recipe it has been using for years. The menu is spread over a few pages, but in the main it’s a mixture of soba (buckwheat noodles), udon (wheat noodles) and tempura. If you’re looking to fill up, try the set menus such as curry udon or kitsune udon, which come with rice and you can choose between udon and soba.

However, if you’re looking to go beyond the usual servings of zaru soba and tempura udon, try the specials. The tsuke soba is a combination of a cold rich dipping broth served with a plate of cold soba noodles. More satisfying is another cold dish, hiyashi tantanmen, which are chilled udon noodles served in a spicy broth that is as filling as it is welcome against the summer heat.

Noodle dishes from ¥580; Japanese and English menu