Todd Wojnowski

Honke Yamabiko Restaurant - Nikko

Noodle restaurant with great traditional decorations

Todd Wojnowski
Todd Wojnowski   - 3 min read

When planning your trip to Nikko, food likely isn't very high on your list of priorities. The region is famous for its breath-taking shrines and temples from long ago, and its quaint mountain town feeling, but does not share in the world-class delicacies you can find in many parts of Japan. That's exactly what makes Honke Yamabiko such a good choice. In an area more focused on the seeing rather than on the eating, this restaurant offers great food (especially noodles!) in a beautiful building right in the center of Nikko's biggest tourist area.

A combination restaurant and gift shop, Honke Yamabiko is well suited for any occasion. There is a small, cafe-style seating area perfect for casual lunches. There are some traditional Japanese-style tables that require you to sit on the floor, on tatami mats, that really is a nice atmosphere and brings you closer to the traditional Japanese atmosphere. There is also a large banquet room fit for large gatherings and parties. No matter where you sit, you can enjoy the lush, beautiful decor. The restaurant is richly decorated in the styles of traditional Japan. Wood carvings, paintings, masks and tapestries hang on the walls, and are a nice contrast to the modern and comfortable eating areas.

Best of all is the restaurant's location. It's tucked in between two of the major shrines of the famous UNESCO Shrines and temples of Nikko, likely the reason you would be visiting the area. Just a minute's walk from Futara-san Shrines and the Toshogu Shrine, visiting Honke Yamabiko restaurant allows you to continue shrine-hopping without having to re-enter modern society. The restaurant is just short of the main, busy streets, which is nice both in that you can get back to sightseeing in a hurry (there's lots to see in Nikko!) and also that you can remain immersed in the wondrous beauty of eras past, which is why you're visiting the area in the first place.

As for the food, Honke Yamabiko is tasty and not so expensive. Like many restaurants in the area, it features many dishes made with yuba, a food made from the film that appears on the top of soy milk when it's heated. Yuba is Nikko's famous food, and is served in a variety of ways with a variety of other foods. It's absolutely delicious. Honke Yamabiko, primarily a noodle restaurant, has a fantastic yuba udon seat meal, which came with delicious sides. There are also ramen, soba, and tofu dishes. The restaurant offers a variety of food and drink options, including alcohol.

On your way out, be sure to check out the gift shop for some traditional and Nikko-centric goods and souvenirs.

Honke Yamabiko is located off of Route 120, the central road through Nikko. It is within easy walking distance of any bus stops that bring you to the UNESCO World Heritage temples and shrines.

Todd Wojnowski

Todd Wojnowski @todd.wojnowski

I am an avid backpacker, writer, marathon runner, hiker, eater of spicy foods, watcher of B-movies, and user of the Harvard comma. I'm originally from Buffalo, New York, and arrived in Japan in 2008.