Honmura An1/5
Photo: Time Out Tokyo
Tokyo Dosanjin2/5
おそばの甲賀 Osoba no Kouga3/5
Honmura An4/5
Sagatani soba5/5

Best soba restaurants in Tokyo

Whether you prefer hot or cold soba, here are the best restaurants to slurp on fantastic buckwheat noodles

By Kaila Imada, Jessica Thompson and Lim Chee Wah
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Soba may look simple but it's actually quite complex. On the surface, you have the cold soba, where you dip the chilled noodles in a separate sauce before eating. Then there's the hot soba, which is served in a warm dashi broth along with a variety of toppings.

Of all the major noodle types in Japan – especially in comparison to ramen and udon – soba is considered the most artisanal of them all. Each soba master has their own skills and secrets, whether it be the sourcing of their buckwheat, their perfected ratio of buckwheat to wheat flour, or their signature kneading and rolling techniques. Some masters are even known for their purist approach as they make the noodles with 100 percent buckwheat; this takes a lot of skills as this flour is notoriously hard to work with.  

Whether you prefer a cheap slurp-and-go meal or a more refined noodle experience at one of the top soba institutions in the city, there's a lot of options out there for every budget. To help you get started with your soba adventure, we've curated a list of our favourite restaurants, featuring both old and new schools of soba.

Before you go: Read our guide on how to go out safely in Tokyo

Dashinsoan
Dashinsoan
Photo: Lim Chee Wah

Dashinsoan

Restaurants Shimokitazawa

Dashinsoan is one of the most beautiful soba restaurants around. Set in a traditional Japanese house on a quiet residential street away from the bustling epicentre of Shimokitazawa, the restaurant is fronted by a small but tranquil Japanese garden. And in one corner of the light-filled open dining area, you’ll find the room where the soba noodles are made fresh each morning, with the large granite grinder used for making fresh buckwheat flour taking pride of place.

We love the yuba (tofu skin) soba, with al dente noodles in a hot dashi broth (¥1,300). Other favourites are the bowl of fragrant mitsuba (Japanese wild parsley) soba for ¥1,300, the duck and green onion soba (¥2,000), and the summer special sudachi (Japanese lime) soba served in a cold broth and topped with a layer of sliced sudachi (¥1,600).

Ryan Soba
Ryan Soba
Photo: Tysons & Company

Ryan

Restaurants Shibuya

For a creative and contemporary take on soba, visit Ryan in Shibuya. The soba menu ranges from plain chilled soba served with a rich dashi-based dipping sauce (¥900) to more complex offerings like soba with anago (saltwater eel) and vegetable tempura for ¥2,100. You’ll also find creative concoctions like soba with crab, salted fish roe and nori crumble or soba topped with fresh shirasu (whitebait), sea urchin and salmon roe. 

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Tamawarai
Tamawarai
Photo: Jessica Thompson

Tamawarai

Restaurants Soba Harajuku

Located in a quiet backstreet of Harajuku, Tamawarai is a one-Michelin-starred soba restaurant, known for its unique noodles of 85:15 ratio (85% buckwheat, 15% wheat flour). 

Try the soba set (hot or cold) with tempura and seafood (¥2,500); the tempura is crisp and light, with not a drop of oil in excess. The soba with tofu is a house favourite: a bowl of chilled soba noodles topped with a cloud of handmade tofu and a mound of bonito flakes. Served alongside the bowl is a small flask of rich soy-based sauce to pour over the noodles.

Kanda Matsuya

Restaurants Awajicho

One of Tokyo’s most venerable noodle joints, this soba shop has been in business since 1884. The restaurant is extremely down-to- earth, and you can tell it’s good just by looking at the queue that forms outside before it even opens. The power-packed yet comforting dashi broth is also available for takeaway.

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Kyorakutei soba
Kyorakutei soba
Photo: Lim Chee Wah

Kyorakutei

Restaurants Japanese Iidabashi

Kyorakutei is a good place to get an education in soba. This old-school restaurant in the backstreets of Kagurazaka features a grinder in its storefront window, where the noodle master makes soba by hand. You’ll also get to compare the two different types of buckwheat noodles: the regular soba, which is made by cutting a small percentage of wheat flour, and the juwari soba that’s a craft by itself as it uses pure 100 percent buckwheat.

Darker in colour compared to the regular soba, the juwari soba at Kyorakutei is one of the best we’ve had. The texture is firm with a bit of give, and it has a beautiful nuttiness that makes it delicious even on its own. The best way to appreciate the texture and flavour is to eat it cold with a side of dipping broth.

Honmura An
Honmura An
Photo: Time Out Tokyo

Honmura An

Restaurants Soba Roppongi

Start slurping at this upscale Roppongi eatery, which has found success in both New York and Tokyo. New York soba fans grieved when owner Koichi Kobari called it quits in the Big Apple to take over his late father’s soba shop in Tokyo. Honmura An’s menu is available in English and features an extensive list of wines from California. Besides their handmade soba, the restaurant also offers tasting menus highlighting the best seasonal produce and ingredients. We are particularly fond of the house special uni soba.

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Tokyo Dosanjin

Restaurants Japanese Ikejiri-Ohashi

Located along the Meguro River, this quaint soba restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner – prepare to stand in line for the former, and ensure you make a reservation for the latter. They’ve got all the classics here, from your tempura and tororo soba to the refreshing sudachi soba that’s always a good option in the warmer months. The soba noodles are made from scratch, and depending on your order, are adjusted for the perfect flavour, texture and consistency.

Osoba no Kouga

Restaurants Japanese Nishi-Azabu

Owner Hiroshi Kouga has been making soba for over 20 years. The restaurant’s small size is deliberate as it enables Kouga to have better control over the quality and consistency of his food, while allowing him to pay more attention to his customers. The buckwheat is brought in from farmer mills in Iruma (Saitama Prefecture), and the restaurant uses a careful ratio of buckwheat to wheat flour to create that ideal texture. Popular items on the menu include the decadent uni soba; their lunch sets are also noteworthy.

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Nagasaka Sarasina

Restaurants Japanese Azabu-Juban

In operation since the 1780s, this widely acclaimed soba shop turns out two types of buckwheat noodles, one using ground buckwheat for a darker colour, and another using the polished buckwheat grain to create a whiter noodle that’s just so silky smooth. If you’re getting seiro or dipping soba, you’ll be given spicy and sweet soba tsuyu separately so you can mix to taste. The shop also offers dried version of their noodles and packaged sauces for you to recreate at home.

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Bookable classes

homemade soba noodle class byfood
Photo: Serkan Toso

Handmade Soba Noodles Cooking Class

Things to do Shinjuku

Ah, the humble soba noodle. This buckwheat favourite is filled with fiber and protein and is an essential in Japanese cooking, both in restaurants and at home. Learn how to make your own soba noodles in this two hour class where you’ll make the noodles from start to finish. 

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