Good eats in this part of the countryside aren’t hard to come by.

Our Japanese-language reporter and soba noodle connoisseur Seiji Nakazawa found himself in Pippu, a village on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, during his search for a cave that supposedly leads to hell.

▼ It’s difficult to get around without a car, but it’s a great place to see sweeping landscapes and open skies.

Pippu also has a ski slope that’s bustling in wintertime, but besides that, it’s decidedly in the Japanese countryside.

▼ At least the openness makes it easy to spot restaurants!

Seiji worked up an appetite during his adventure, so he decided to visit Kamifusen, a family restaurant near Pippu Station.

It had pretty standard fare for a Japanese “family restaurant” (as such casual eateries are called here): donburi rice bowls, omelet rice, Hamburg steak…

▼ …and wanko soba? (middle row, far right)

Soba connoisseur Seiji was intrigued by the wanko soba on the menu. Most family restaurants didn’t serve the bite-sized dishes, so he knew he had to order it. He realized it may have been due to Pippu’s close proximity to Horokanai, an area known for growing good soba.

▼ No hesitation here.

Many places with wanko soba offer free refills of the noodles, but when Seiji confirmed with staff, he found that was not the case with Kamifusen. No free refills on food is pretty standard for family restaurants, though.

▼ Left to right, top row: Maguro (tuna), tororo (grated Japanese yam), mountain vegetables
Bottom row: nameko mushrooms, nori (seaweed).

The wanko soba set had five bowls of soba noodles, some green onions to use as toppings if desired, and some extra soba water (i.e. the water that the noodles were cooked in) to enjoy as a warming broth after the meal. Seiji was especially pleased with the soba water, an essential for a soba gourmet, which was served in a red teapot-like container.

▼ Time for the taste test.

Seiji first sampled the tsuyu dipping sauce, which had a hearty bonito taste and a slight sweetness. The soba noodles had a chewy texture. Combined with the tsuyu, it was a delicious and refreshing meal.

So if you, too, work up an appetite after skiing or searching for that gateway to hell, consider stopping by Kamifusen for some hearty eats to replenish and recharge. The soba is Seiji-approved!

Restaurant information
Kamifusen / 紙風船
Address: Hokkaido, Kamikawa-gun, Pippu-cho, Kisen 4 gou
Open: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Closed Wednesdays

Photos ©SoraNews24
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