Nobody does soba noodles as well as Nagano. If you come to Nagano, it is absolutely against the rules to not try our buckwheat noodles. But with more soba restaurants than one could count, how do you know which one to go to? Well, Kusabue in Komoro City has been around for over 400 years, so that’s a good sign that they know their noodles. They have 6 locations from Nagano City to Saku City, but the main store is in Komoro right next to the famed ‘hole castle’ Kaikoen. (Most castles tend to be perched on the top of a hill. When you see Komoro’s distinctive configuration, you’ll know where it’s nickname comes from.)
Komoro’s Kaikoen is a popular tourist destination in Nagano. And with its location adjacent to the castle, Kusabue makes a great spot for lunch.
I recently made my Kusabue debut. Of course I had heard about the restaurant (they’re especially known for their generous volumes), but this was my first time to put chopsticks to their noodles. So how was it? Now I know why Kusabue is so well-known and well-regarded. There’s something about the flavor, the environment (being made in an area with such clean air and water), the shop’s ambience, and the history that makes Kusabue’s soba stand out. And I should know — I’ve had lots of Nagano soba.
For guests coming from out of the prefecture (or from overseas for that matter) and wanting to try Nagano’s soba, I can confidently say that Kusabue is a duly suitable representative for our famed soba.
Kusabue’s main restaurant faces Kaikoen’s parking lot just to the west of ‘San no Mon’, the castle’s distinctive gate. Just minutes by foot from Komoro Station on the Shinano Railway line. Kusabue’s website is here.
*Hours: 10am-3:30pm or until they sell out. (From 11am in winter.)