Shojiya-The Art of Making Soba

Chef Shoji is a master of his craft

By Alena Eckelmann    - 1 min read

Watching Shoji, the chef at Shojiya, made me realize that making soba is an art that involves passion for this Japanese buckwheat noodle, mastership of the ingredients and tools, plus a good portion of muscle power. This young soba chef trained at a well-known Tokyo soba restaurant and their overseas branch in New York before returning to the family business in Yamagata. His father, the 4th generation soba master runs the main family restaurant while the son, the 5th generation soba master, runs a branch. Of course he speaks English well and he is able to explain all you want to know about soba. Freshly made right in front of your eyes and according to the family recipe, soba at Shojiya is the ultimate soba experience in Yamagata City, and I dare say, well beyond.

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Alena Eckelmann

Alena Eckelmann @alena.eckelmann

Born East of the Wall and South of Berlin, I am celebrating my 15th year anniversary in Japan in May 2020, the country that I call home now. I lived in crazy Tokyo for 6 years and since 2011 I call the beautiful Kii Peninsula (Kumano, Koyasan and Yoshinoyama) my home.I have been a JapanTravel Partner since the conception of the platform in 2011! In Tokyo I worked in market research at AIP Corporation and in business education at JMEC. For the last 10 years I have been a guide for foreign visitors at Venture Japan, on top of being a Freelance Writer and a Business Researcher. Apart from work, I trained at the Yoshinkan Aikido Dojo and at the Oedo Sukeroku Taiko Dojo for several years each, and I ran the 1st Tokyo Marathon and enjoyed cycling around Tokyo. During the last 10 years I am working with local authorities to improve their hospitality to foreign visitors and I have participated in many monitors as a media representative. My current interest is in Japanese nature and spirituality. I love spending time in the forest and mountains, and I love visiting temples and shrines. I am a licensed guide for the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails and for Koyasan, the Buddhist monastery, in addition to being a practitioner and licensed guide for Forest Therapy (Shinrin Therapy). As a guide for walking tours, I have taken visitors to walk the Kumano Kodo trails, the Nakasendo trail and the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage trail. Being grounded during this COVID-19 crisis, I enjoy gardening, baking bread in my new Japanese bread-maker and going for walks around 'my' village. Take care, keep well, stay safe!

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