Gourmet Day at Beautiful Odai Town

Gourmet Day at Beautiful Odai Town

Our day was going to be a little different from what we have been experiencing lately, we were going to have a gourmet day in a beautiful town, Odaicho. I had thought that Odaicho is surrounded by rivers and mountains and that summer activities were the only ones available, but I was told that there are many delicious activities in winter as well!We even prepared our stomachs for today by not eating too much during breakfast.

Written by Isis Akemi Muto.

I have a confession to make. Until a couple of years ago, I was not a fan of the countryside, which is crazy, right?! Especially for someone living in Japan. 70% of Japan’s territory is mountainous. So, when my husband and I decided to travel, my mission was to fall in love with the countryside, and I did! Being in the nature has been healing and, it will sound a little cliché, but it has changed me from the inside out. 

While in the car, on our way to our first destination, I looked like a happy child looking out the car window, amazed by the view and the only word that would come out of my mouth was “WOW!”. 
The beauty of Odai’s nature was amazing. It had snowed a couple of days before our trip, so the remaining snow gave the nature a special touch and made it even more beautiful.

The nature itself had already made this trip worthwhile. Now I know the reason the Miya River was considered for many years the most beautiful river in Japan! The emerald color was just so magnificent! 

We got to our first destination, a secluded place almost at the end of the road, called Yamagara. Yamagara is a camp style inn on the banks of the Miya River. A great place for nature lovers to stay. Here, we would’ve had the option to either rent the room or camp outside on their huge deck, but instead, we went to check their new attraction, the indoor bouldering area. I’m biased to give an opinion about bouldering since in the past I had practiced rock climbing a little before coming to Japan and I loved it (well, I still do!)

This new area was great. It can be used even if it’s raining or during winter when it’s freezing cold outside. Groups of friends or families can stay there, have fun climbing the walls, get warm near the fire pit and then have a great night sleeping in the huge tent, and all can be done in just one place.

We went to the main area of Yamagara camp inn to prepare our first meal at Odai town, smoked food. At Yamagara, they have a wood smoker. I think in the western style, people would prefer to smoke meat, but today, we chose lighter food such as bacon, eggs and even chips for our breakfast .

As we were waiting for the food to get smoked, we roasted our own coffee, and in less than an hour, our coffee was ready. When I was little, my mom grew a coffee plant and I remember that it used to take days for the coffee to be ready to be consumed. It amazes me how easy and practical things are these days.

And it was time to eat our smoked food. We had a great morning at Yamagara, eating, drinking and chatting with the staff who by the way, told us great stories about Odai town. The food and drink that we made with our own hands in nature was exceptional.Moreover, it was a wonderful place where you can easily do it and spend a relaxing time.We said goodbye because we had places to go but we plan to come back again when it gets warmer to do some exciting outdoor activities.

Yamagara  Camp style inn
Kawasemi  Camp style Bouldering Soko(Bouldering Warehouse)
Tel : 070-1849-9842(8:00-17:00)

We headed to our 2nd destination, Yamazato Minpaku Mikuri. 
I instantly fell in love with this place. Let me tell you the reasons. The place is secluded with a great view of the mountains. The area is huge and if you walk some steps down the hill, you will find a river with clear pristine water. 
I’m sure you’ll love it too. And what about the couple who runs Yamazato Minpaku Mikuri? Such a kind lovely couple. 

Minpaku means private stay accomodation, so you can spend a couple of days here at their fully furnished house or even camp in their huge camping area but today, we didn’t come to spend the night. We came to make our own lunch, Soba! Soba is a Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour and water. When the weather is warmer, people usually have the experience of making soba outdoors, however, today the weather didn’t help much so we made it indoors. 

As you can see in the pictures, we let our son Yuji make the soba. The whole process seems easy but in fact, there are many steps which cannot be skipped but with the guidance of Mr. Nakae, owner of Minpaku Mikuri, Yuji was able to do it. He mixed the buckwheat flour with water to make the dough. At the beginning, I wondered if the amount of buckwheat flour was enough to make soba for the 3 of us, and Mr. Nakae assured us that it was. 

To stretch the dough, Yuji used a rolling pin, and as he was stretching it, I then realized that the dough was indeed enough for the 3 of us. It was fun to watch and to learn the whole process.

The next step was to cut the dough. To cut it, Yuji used a special huge knife.
The dough must be cut evenly into strips which was not easy, but Mr. Nakae taught Yuji how to use huge knife to cut well,and Yuji did a great job. 
And there it is, our son proudly showing the soba he made and Mr. Nakae showing the giant knife in the background.

The final step was to cook the soba. Once it was finished,  Miharu-san(Mrs. Nakae) prepared the soba so beautifully. She made us 3 types of soba, the cold types, “kake soba” and “zaru soba”, and the hot type of “kake soba”. 

Tourist attractions covered by this article