Thursday, August 6, 2015

田村屋 (Tamuraya in Sano, Tochigi)

田村屋

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I can't believe this was my first time to Sano City!

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A quick breakdown. Sano is a city in Tochigi Prefecture, less than 100 kilometers from Tokyo. It feels like your typical countryside big city, except it has a secret; some of Japan's best natural spring water. You can guess where this is going. This water is used to make some great ramen! Much like Kitakata, the end result is a simple, but amazing bowl.

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Another big part of Sano ramen are the noodles. They are often made in the traditional 青竹打ち - aotakeuchi - method.



An image is worth a lot. Taken from the official Sano ramen homepage. This method of kneading dough is very labor intensive. A dying art for sure.

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First thing I did was hop into the tourist info center and ask for a ramen map. The map is inundated with shops, and the lady behind the counter simply pointed me to the closest random shop. I didn't want to get into too much detail with her, so I rephrased.

"Where is the nearest shop with a long line?"

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This just happened to be Tamuraya.

The line stretched out the door, and I could imagine it being doubled if it weren't for the heat wave that hit Japan the day before. The thermometer on my motorcycle read 39 degrees.

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Nothing like a hot bowl on a hot day.

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Right off the bat, you notice the noodles. A bit rougher than what you get from a machine, with a heavy bite. The soup also came off a bit rougher than the recent wave of refined shoyu ramen in Tokyo.

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The chashumen is my recommendation. The soup and those thick slabs of pork melt together nicely.

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This is one of those classic bowls that I could never tire of. Rustic and pure, it's just great ramen.

Once the weather cools down a bit (the following day was over 40 in this area), I'll try and make it up there for a proper ramen crawl.

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The shop's gyoza is very much stamina-style, meaning garlic and nira. Since you can order a set of just three, you might as well try them.

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Map of 302 Narabuchichō, Sano-shi, Tochigi-ken 327-0842

栃木県佐野市奈良渕町302
Tochigi-ken, Sano-shi, Narabuchicho 302
Closest station: Sano

Open 11:00-14:00, 17:00-20:00
Closed Wednesdays