2017 . 08 . 19

Senjojiki, A Cirque Above The Clouds

location: Nagano, Japan

I often wonder why I travel. Or why it captivates me so much. Or why I always long for it, just like a child trapped in a tower without a door and desires for the outer world as she is gazing outside the window. Although I am a self-proclaimed obsessive planner, there are times when my trip is slipping away from my control-freak hand, and falls off from what I expect it to be. It leaves me perplexed and to some extreme, disappointed, but oddly enough, it also rewards me with a content heart, despite of all the flaws, and most importantly, a new pair of eyes to see things, differently. Would that be the reason why?

I could tell you this because that’s how my recent trip went. Summer in Japan is celebrated with an invitation to visit the mountains that this country dedicates a national holiday for it and literally calls it the ‘Mountain Day’. Everybody is aiming for the highlands, and with the clear blue sky and cool weather on top, who could resist? So I decided to join the crowd and planned a trip. I should’ve understood better that when everyone thought of the same (just like how the Japanese society operates), a plan for a hike would be a struggle. And it really was. I had to change my destination twice because the ticket was sold out in a blink. But maybe I shouldn’t keep on ranting about it because it actually led me to discover this beauty I never knew it existed.

After a five hour bus ride, a forty-five minute roll through the mountain’s winding road, a cone of ice cream in between, and another ten minute ropeway ride above the misty alps, we were faced with a cirque lied under one of the Kiso mountains, the Hoken peak. People named it ‘Senjojiki’, which means ‘it spreads around the size of 1,000 tatami mats’. It often makes me smile in admiration how the Japanese still use the size of a tatami mat to measure a space, and here we are talking about a landscape. The Kiso mountains, or the Japanese Central Alps, are stretched gracefully from the north to south, right at the center of Japan’s main island, Honshu, carving a stunning landscape of the Nagano prefecture.

As we got off from the ropeway car, my eyes quickly searching for the whole scene of the view. It was cloudy and the thick fog were blocking our sights, we even couldn’t tell which way led to the entrance track. I spotted a small wooden shrine on our left, and thought maybe that would be the direction. Then off we went to that side.

It was a rocky track down the hill, and we could barely see anything but the green leading rope and tall bushes fencing our way. I started slowly, making sure I got a good grip with my boots and gradually adjusting with the path. I secretly prayed for the thick fog to go away, I didn’t survive the long bus ride for this, God. Then just after I finished murmuring, suddenly the skies went a little brighter. I looked up, and the fog cleared up, I saw the peaks! They lined up boldly, scratching the gray skies with their claws. I didn’t expect prayers are answered this fast, but I was just too excited to think more about it. I whispered ‘thank You’, and ecstatically looked behind to find Eka’s and Tia’s faces to share my joy. They nodded anxiously and I turned my head forward again. The fog passed me, blowing the breeze toward my face as if it welcomed me to another realm. I guess indeed it did.

I was stunned before what I saw. A vast green carpet scrolled down from those mighty peaks, wide and boundless, and the only edge my eyes could catch was the clouds. It was a surreal view, and for a moment, I forgot that I lived in Japan. A nature scenery I would recognize more if it were somewhere in the Scottish Highlands or Switzerland. But it was there. And I wasn’t hallucinating.

I continued my trek but I couldn’t stop looking around. On the left were the mountains, and on my right was the cirque. A cirque is actually a half-open plateau with a curve on one side, formed by a slow glacial erosion during the ice age. I had never seen a cirque before, or even heard about it. Actually, I didn’t really care how they called it. To me it was all ‘splendid’, ‘beautiful’, ‘otherworldly’, and other things that were made of a divine imagination. I arrived at the junction. One to the top to reach the mountains, and the other one down the valley where the lake was.

We didn’t have much time, thanks to the summer holiday traffic jam. The bus ride was supposed to be one hour faster, but because it was the last day of the Japanese official summer holiday (when even the mad workaholic Japanese took their day off), so the road was packed and we were behind our schedule. I had it all pictured perfectly in my mind to take the climb and stand on one of the mountains, but it slipped away. We got not time for that. So I glanced upon the path to the top bitterly and dragged my feet down. I took the path leading to the lake.

We were skipping down the track when suddenly we passed two old ladies carefully made their way downward. They noticed we were passing so they smiled and let us go first. I smiled back and I was in awe. This hiking track wasn’t difficult, but it must be pretty challenging for them at their age, and yet, there were they. It was a brief minute but seeing their zealous souls sparked a bright inspiration to me. I paused from my hike for a while and admired them from the back. I want to be like them. I want to grow old venturing the places I never saw, never heard of. I turned my head around to check how far I had gone. Suddenly it was hard to breathe. I am here. I am in the place I have never seen, I have never heard of. The cirque. This place.

The fog had cleared up. The skies were blue. Thin mists were lingering around the peaks. Tiny yellow flower spread over the green field. It was out of this world. I was dreaming. No, I wasn’t. Wait, actually, I wasn’t sure.

My friends were far ahead of me. I paced up to catch them. We sneaked through some bushes and arrived at the lake. There were some wooden benches in front of it, at the edge of the cliff overlooking the Nagano city. The mountains on our right side were glowing with the sun light stroking through the clouds. A beautiful komorebi. I walked around the lake when the thick fog came back. It made a dreamlike floating reflection on the lake. An art of the nature.

The mountains were hiding again, and there was nothing we could do with it practically. So we sat down to catch our breath, and wait. I sat and I thought about all I had seen along the way. They were like little pieces of a dreamy scene I always played in my head coming together. Then the fog decided to leave and it danced away like curtains opening, presenting us the most astonishing scene before our eyes. It was everything. The field, the mountains, the blue skies, the lake, the mist. All in one scene. It was everything I had come for.

Starring upon them from the lowest level was truly a belittling moment, a humbling one. The Universe had been too generous and kind to us, that it let us taste this glimpse of Its greatness. I was awestruck, I ran out of words.

We checked our time. We had to catch the last ropeway ride so we could make it to Komagane station, where our bus would be waiting to take us back to Tokyo. I underestimated the timing and suggested my friends to buy some hotdogs first. What a foolish advice from the girl who thought she was the expert of planning. It was a long queue for the ropeway ride and we got the last turn that it would be impossible to be at Komagane station on time. I was ready to cry imagining we couldn’t get home, but thankfully the cunning part of me stopped it from happening. I told Eka and Tia to beg to the ropeway staff using our limited Japanese, letting us cut the line and stuffing us into the packed car that soon leaving. He didn’t say much, but he told us to wait and come back again when it was almost five o’clock. So we did. Those three stranded girls approaching him, begging for his mercy. He caught our eyes and waved his hand, signaling us to follow him. I thought he would take us to the end of the line so we could queue for the next car, but he led us further through the staff’s room, and when he opened the door, it was a shortcut to the ropeway. He made a hand gesture showing us that we need to get into the car soon because it was leaving. We were surprised, confused by his extreme kindness and grateful. We bowed the 90 degree bow to him, and running inside. He was our angel that afternoon, and we cried our happy tears while the ropeway sliding us down, ready to get us home.

We caught the bus on time, hopped on just before it closed its door. I sat next to a middle-aged lady, she was leaning her head on the bus window. I gazed outside, observing the twisty mountain road, the cliffs, and the amazing skill of the bus driver. The road to home never felt this good. I closed my eyes, digesting everything that just happened in less than twelve hours that day.

The tiring long ride, the frustrating traffic, the messed up schedule, the thick fog, the fact that we almost couldn’t get home. But also those mighty peaks, the skies that cleared up, the flower that bloomed, the komorebi, the brave old ladies, the breathtaking scene, the kindness of a stranger we perhaps didn’t deserve, and a home we could get back to. All of these things, and not just one of them, are the reasons why I travel. Seeing not only such a beautiful view, but also meeting such beautiful souls. Aiming for the hike up, but also willing to take the path down.

I guess I am no longer that child longing to see the world she has always imagined of. I am this grown-up, longing for the world to teach her how to see things –far or near, beautiful or ugly, high or low, exciting or disappointing. All with the eyes of wonder, all with her heart on her sleeve. Only by then, wherever she goes, whatever she faces, travel, will always be the air she breathes, and the dream she never lacks of.



The nearest city around Senjojiki Cirque is Komagane in the Nagano prefecture. There is a local bus that goes from Komagane station to Shirabidaira station, where the ropeway is, and it takes around 45 minutes. From there it’s only another ten minutes away by the ropeway ride. Visit this site for more information: https://www.chuo-alps.com/lang/en/

From Tokyo                                                                                                            

The easiest and cheapest way is by purchasing the all-in bus ticket that includes the bus ride from Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal to Komagane Station, the local bus ticket to Shirabidaira, and the ropeway fee, all for a round trip. However, this ticket can only be purchased at Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal, and it costs 10,000 yen per person. Ask for the ‘Komagatake Senjojiki Curl Ticket’, and determine what time you want to depart. The earliest bus leaves Shinjuku at 6.45 AM, and it returns from Komagane station at 7.00 PM the latest. For more information, visit: https://highway-buses.jp/ticket/senjojiki.php

From Nagoya and Osaka                                                                                                      

It takes approximately 3 hours and a half from Nagoya station using a regular train (Chuo line, not shinkansen) to reach Komagane. You can also opt for a an express bus ride from Meitetsu Bus Center in Nagoya, and it’ll save an hour of the journey. From Osaka you can only take a bus ride, which will be longer than if you depart from Nagoya. Go to Hankyu Highway Bus Terminal in Umeda, and ask for Komagane destination. The total trip is 4 hours and a half to reach Komagane. For more information, visit: https://www.chuo-alps.com/lang/en/getting-here/getting-here-from-major-cities-in-japan/


  1. It’s possible to make this trip a one-day trip, however, you must be very careful regarding your time management (don’t repeat the over confident mistake that I did), and include the possibility of getting stuck in a traffic jam if you’re traveling during the holiday season. Although they will tell you the last ropeway car will leave Senjojiki highland by 5 PM, you will still need to take a number and queue for your turn, which during a holiday season it will range up to 45 minutes waiting time. Don’t forget to calculate that waiting time and add it to your overall schedule, including the time you’ll need to get back from Shirabidaira station to Komagane station, which will be another 45 minutes ride, and depends on the bus time schedule. The local bus departs every 30 minutes, so make sure you can get on the one that fits your schedule. If you decide to stay overnight, there is a hotel up in the cirque area, which will allow you to hike early in the dawn to catch the beautiful sunrise. Some hikers also prefer to camp on one of the mountains, but you need to check on the season as well for that. Otherwise, there are plenty of lodging places just 30 minutes down the Shirabidaira station that you will pass by when you’re on the local bus ride.
  2. The cirque is gorgeous in every season, but I prefer when they are green and flowery. If you are like me, then the best months to visit will be around middle of July to early September, when summer is at its peak and the rainy season has passed. I think only during this season when the snow has melted away that you can see the whole cirque contrasting the blue sky in the background. Visit this site to see this beauty in other seasons: https://www.chuo-alps.com/lang/en/experience-the-central-alps-senjojiki-cirque/
  3. Hiking in Senjojiki doesn’t require you to be a professional hiker. The track is relatively easy, although it’s rocky. Wear a pair of light sport shoes and you’ll be fine. However, if you plan to hike the mountainous hills, then I suggest you dress more appropriately, or at least wear your hiking boots because some trails are quite tricky upwards. Also, don’t forget to check the weather and temperature at least one week before you’re going, just so you can be prepared for any worst case scenario up there.
2017 . 08 . 11

Tokyo Eatery: Regendo, Story of A Thoughtful Meal

location: Tokyo, Japan

My years in Japan has been a constant love-and-hate relationship. Although I inherit the similar East Asian look and was raised by some same parts of its peculiar culture, it doesn’t necessarily make my life easier here. There are days I desperately struggle to make sense of its people’s behavior (example: when a Japanese friend invited me to her house but every time I asked “when”, she would always make sure it wouldn’t happen –turned out it was just another culture of Japanese ‘tatemae’; yup, she never meant it, duh!), and there are times when I wish I were surviving somewhere else, other place more effortlessly to comprehend. Yet life is mysteriously forgiving at some point. There are moments, out of nowhere, that it grants me a sweet reward, or better, an unexpected reminder, that I am such a lucky girl to be able to live in this country.

No, it’s not in a form of a grand trip with a 5-star ryokan stay, although I won’t refuse that if offered. To me, it always comes in a subtle glimpse of minutes, and often, it’s nowhere far or extravagant from my ordinary routine. This time, it came through the afternoon sunlight penetrating the wooden window – komorebi, the Japanese beautifully call it; and a nutritious meal served thoughtfully in front of me.

                                                                                                                                          I slid the old wooden door and stepped carefully inside the kominka –traditional Japanese home, and soon one of the lady staffs warmly greeted me and Dragana. She asked if we were there for a lunch meal or just for an afternoon delight (they serve both). There are two types of meals we can order. A vegetarian sushi plate (they use fruits too as the toppings!) or a set of seasonal musubi (rice balls). We came too late that day and apparently they ran out of the sushi plate already, which also actually made in limited number, so we took the musubi set for lunch. She asked us to wait while the table was being prepared.

This place is actually a restored cultural house from the early Showa era. It was the ruins of the Iwami Ginzan silver mine more than 20 years ago, that they rebuilt, revived, and later placed it in western Tokyo suburb area of Nishi Ogikubo. I took the privilege of waiting for my table to admire every stroke and curve this place displayed. It was the determined hands of the Iwami carpenters who traveled all the way here to fix the broken and resurrect its buried beauty that had come back to life again.

She called my name gently and immediately guided us to our table. It was a counter table with an organized spread of rectangle framed broad windows that soon I realized, with the sun on its way setting and brimming its golden ray, it was just the perfect spot to devour in both the meal and the day. I sat down, and quickly my eyes couldn’t take off observing the space. Behind our seats was the area with unpolished dark gray walls and intense shadow. The only light was from the small opening of the kitchen and that broad windows at our counter table. It was something unforgiveable perhaps, if it was seen through the Western principle of radiant beauty. But precisely that contrast was what built the notion of Eastern beauty. Desolateness, hidden beauty, the ephemeral. It was whispered loudly in its interior that wasn’t decorated by any adds-on but the transience sunlight, framed in wooden lines and paper surface. In my admiration I examined this place with awe, overwhelmed by the richness of its simplicity, and humbled by the reconstituted history it contained.

She came back with a tray full of small plates and elements. I took a moment to stare at it. It was a course of two freshly-made brown rice musubi, a slice of grilled swordfish with mashed pumpkin, a cut of kuro goma konnyaku (black sesame jelly), raw Japanese shallots, a small portion of ratatouille, pickles, and a bowl of hot miso soup. It was also a display of the ceramic plates, the lacquer bowl, the wooden chopsticks, which all of their color and texture created together a harmony, a poetry of cuisine to be looked at. Junichiro Tanizaki even went further in his Praise of Shadow by stating that Japanese food is a cuisine to be meditated upon. “A kind of silent music evoked by the combination of lacquer ware and the light of a candle flickering in the dark”, as he described it. It wasn’t the light of a candle for me, it was even better I think. The komorebi danced its way through the window, drawing its shadow and beam upon my meal.

I clasped my hands together and murmured “itadakimasu” (I humbly receive). As I enjoyed my first bite of the warm musubi, I was thinking about those Iwami carpenters who built this place, restoring its hidden beauty; the ceramic and wood craftsmen of our tableware and those friendly ladies with their apron in the kitchen, serving us generously. I thought about their hands that sculpted all these pieces together, harmonizing the walls, the sunlight, the shadow, the chopsticks, the musubi. So much stories intertwined together, and presented in this mundane experience of eating. I understood it more then, why I should receive all of these humbly, and not uttering “itadakimasu” absentmindedly. It is an act of respect, appreciation and gratitude for this full life – a simple routine like eating, that involves so many stories and determined passion; and for those people who refuse to take it for granted, and decided to live it out mindfully and thoughtfully, so we could understand the beauty of living.

Tanizaki was right. What is there not to meditate upon? Nothing. Everything is worth the thought. Including the rare thought how lucky girl I am to live in this country.


Tokyo, Suginami-ku, Shoan 3-38-20
(5 minutes walk from Nishi Ogikubo station)


Vegetarian sushi plate 1,500 yen + tax
Musubi plate 1,500 yen + tax
Desserts & drinks from 400-800 yen

Mon-Fri 11:00-19:00, closed every Tuesday
Lunch from 11:00-14:30 (last order)
Tea & dessert from 11:00-18:00 (last order)
*They have a small zakka shop inside too, business hours following the aforementioned.

2017 . 07 . 30

Tokyo’s Neighbour Trip: Gunma

location: Gunma, Japan

Living in Tokyo surely has its many perks, but this biggest city in the world can be depressing as hell, too. With its constantly moving people, rushing trains and convenience stores that never sleep, I often find it hard to recognize the halcyon Japan I met through Ozu’s eyes or Natsume Soseki’s words, here in Tokyo. Sometimes even almost impossible, that I keep dreaming of leaving for its rural areas to see again the Japan that once captivated my heart.

Then on one weekend, I did so.

Interestingly enough though, there are vast reaches of Japan’s countryside around Tokyo that seem immune to modernization and quench my thirst for such stillness, when the capital city is too suffocating to be lived one more day. Some of them are counted as alternative tourist destinations, which definitely are not my preference in the quest of quietude, but then, there are also some hidden deep in the mountains and exist whether any tourist find them or not, timelessly, as if they are present in their own world. Among the latters, I chose Gunma.

This prefecture is located right in the heart of the Japanese islands, at the center of the Honshu island. Three-hour drive from Tokyo got us to Minakami, a mountainous town known best for its hot springs abound. Along the way we found ourselves surrounded by mountain’s lush vegetation, moving from one tunnel to another, crossing red iron bridges where a steamy stream ran underneath. Even the road already tasted calming, and I felt like I could go on like this without a pause, but eventually my fiancé was fed up of driving. So we settled ourselves for a night in Takaragawa Onsen, an old ryokan established in 1940 by the river of Takara. Upon arrival we were offered a wide array of yukata choices to wear during our stay, something that perhaps we can’t find in other typical ryokan as it is usually handed to us more as a “uniform” rather than freedom.

We dumped our weekender bags in the room, changed into the delicate yukata wear and immediately aimed for the rotenburo, the outdoor bath. It was cloudy outside, and breezy wind gently whispered around, made me completely forget we were in the midst of Japanese torturing summer season. Out from the ryokan building, hanging there an old wooden bridge connecting us to the other side of the river, where the rotenburo laid. We crossed, and past it was another adventure before the dip. It always amazed me how the Japanese build something, which was made obvious through the architecture of the rotenburo. They were literally built around, and following the sloping texture of the riverside that your eyes couldn’t tell which ones were its end and from where the river began. It was perhaps the best physical translation of what a man-made harmony is, an ally to the nature instead of against it.

We made our venture through the stoned pathway and mossy forest, where the end of it was a junction to choose among the total four baths. There were three mixed baths, and one dedicated exclusively for women. I took the privilege of being a female and chose the women-only bath as my first try. We were required to wash ourselves clean before we soaked in, and could opt to wear the special bathing cloth or take the liberating decision for a skinny dipping, in a much civilised connotation, of course. Yet undoubtedly, I preferred the latter. Carefully I stepped down into the bath. The water was boiling than warm, but quickly my body adjusted to the heavenly feel, and so did my eyes to the hazy steam. I crept to the edge of the bath, where beneath was the river. In that end I could barely move. My body was suddenly paralysed by the sight, the sound, the grandness that overwhelmed me. I desired nothing but silence.

It was a foreign momentum for me. Yet I kept reminding myself that this was exactly what I longed for three hours ago before we arrived. All I could hear was the gentle noise of the rushing stream below, and yet when I looked up, it was the sound of stillness, of the misty forests, perhaps haunted, but the tranquility couldn’t be more inviting. At some point I felt I was transported to somewhere out of this world, then I realized my feet were grounded solidly on the granite bath floor. I thought I came in this realm of silence to hear myself thinking more clearly. I never saw it coming that what I heard instead was myself thinking about nothing.

The night fell faster and the morning rose earlier. A countryside’s luxury. I woke up at dawn when the local wildlife quietly awoken and went my way straight to the rotenburo, again. Nobody else was there but the shy morning dews, and the sun was just about to show itself. This time I went nuts. I tried all four of the rotenburo and anxiously looked around while dipping, making sure I didn’t miss a scene. It was still overwhelmingly hard for me to understand how such a place existed, frozen in time, untouched and undisturbed by the fast-pacing world around it. My soliloquy was suddenly stopped by the sound of dripping rain and the sight of a cute couple making their way down the rotenburo in Japanese transparent umbrellas. I knew it was time for me to go. I took a last glance over before I wrapped my towel around, and stepped back to reality. In this poetic moment, I was present, I was there, and yet, I had already been dreaming of going here again.

The rotenburo are best during the autumn season, and perhaps in winter as well. Yet if you’re visiting in summer like me, the perk is you’ll have the chance to see the blooming lavender field in the town of Numata, just an hour away from the ryokan. There are not many lavender fields across Japan, and the famous one resides far in northest island of Hokkaido, so this could be a good shot, too. We drove another 30-minute away to Shibukawa town and arrived at a large private farm, where they had flocks of cows, rabbits, goats, horses and sheep nestled in a vast green field like those in the New Zealand. It has a unique-looking contemporary art museum too, just across the field, but we didn’t have the time to pay a visit.

Click any image to enter the slideshow


Takaragawa Onsen is accessible by train from Tokyo using the JR line, which is fully covered by the Japan Railway Pass. From Tokyo station, get on board with JR Takasaki line towards Takasaki station for approximately 100 min. journey, and from there change to JR Joetsu line to Minakami station for another 60 min. journey. From the Minakami station, they can arrange a pick-up for you at a designated time, but a prior reservation is required when you make the booking. If you don’t fancy an overnight stay, this place also offers a daytrip option, where you just come for the dip and leave.

Takaragawa Onsen
(Ph.) 0278-75-2611
For more information, visit their English website here:

Tambara Lavender Park also operates as a ski resort during the winter time, which can be another option to complete the trip plan. It’s about 2 hour and 30 minutes from Tokyo using the Joetsu shinkansen, and you can ride the famous Japanese old locomotive too along the way!

Tambara Lavender Park
〒378-0071 群馬県沼田市玉原高原
(Ph.) 0278-23-9311
For more information, visit their English website here:

Access to Ikaho Green Bokujo is similar to how you reach Takaragawa Onsen, except that you have to get off from the Joetsu line in Shibukawa station instead of Minakami. From Shibukawa, take the Ikaho Onsen bus and get off at “Green Bokujo Mae”, it’s around 15 min. journey.

Ikaho Green Bokujo
〒377-0027 群馬県渋川市金井2844-1
For more information, visit their English website here:

2017 . 07 . 08

Summer Eats: Cold Soumen with Lemon

location: Tokyo, Japan

This was my second Saturday under the July bright sun. I woke up squinting my eyes from the blazing morning light through my window. I knew it was only getting even more burning from here. My bedroom tasted humid and sweaty, and every breath I breathed in felt suffocating. I got up reluctantly, headed to the sink outside to brush my teeth and immediately dumped my swimsuit inside my bag. I picked a striped linen shirt on my hanger and put on my beach hat, only to rush out and meet Dragana downstairs. We marched to the public pool in the neighborhood while unstoppably whining about the impossible heat along the way. Then we dipped. We dipped and wetted our hair, dancing underwater for an hour and a half. In time like this, it felt as if we were diving in a bowl of mint water. Which was quite a heavenly feeling.

On the way back we stopped by at the local grocery store, and got ourselves some mushrooms, peaches and spring onion for our lunch. Couldn’t bear the thought of having cold soumen (thin white noodles made of wheat flour) to quench our droughty throats, we decided to make one. It’s a simple, quick and easy meal to have during the summer days.

A common dish you’d likely to find in this season in Japan, actually. In fact, it’s a part of typical Japanese summer festival, which is known as the “nagashi soumen”, or “the flowing noodles”. They are served in a long flume of bamboo, swimming in cold iced water, and to eat it you would have to catch them with the chopsticks as they are passing through the stream in front of you. Once you hold them fast, dip them in the broth soy sauce called “tsuyu”, and slurp them passionately as the Japanese do. The light texture and chill savor of soumen combined with the tasty tsuyu’s flavor is addictive if not because of its intoxicating effect to distract the boiling mind for a while.

We obviously don’t have quite a fancy bamboo to flow our soumen, but we came with a better touch to compensate: sliced lemon. This spontaneous sprinkle initially just to use what we had left turned out to be the illuminating taste and perfected our very own soumen recipe. The unexpected delight that is better than imagined. I guess then, again, cooking with mindfulness and ease is what is essential to have a truly enjoyable time over a cherished meal. In between the fervent air and our noisy slurps, we embraced our dillydally summer weekend and collected simple, imperfect happiness like this and smiled gratefully upon it. Otherwise, how should we endure this unforgiving scorching season?


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2-3

A pack of uncooked soumen (which you can easily get from any Japanese supermarket or convenient store)
Tsuyu sauce (usually sold in 1 liter bottle size and available in any Japanese supermarket or convenient store)
1 stick of spring onion, thinly sliced
A pack of shiitake mushrooms, washed and sliced according to preference
2 packs of Japanese tofu, diced
1 lemon, thinly sliced

1. Boil the washed and sliced mushrooms in a medium pot for 5 minutes. Drain them but keep the water to make the sauce.
2. Bring another pot of water to the boil. Put in all the soumen bundles once the water is boiling, and let it sit for 2 minutes. Drain the water, and rinse the soumen with cold water while trying to separate them with your hand if it’s too sticky.
3. Pour the mushroom water into a serving bowl, half the portion of the bowl, and mix with 3 – 4 tablespoon of tsuyu sauce. You can add or lessen the tsuyu according to your taste.
4. Serve the soumen on a separate plate. Put 3 – 4 sliced lemon on top of it, also the tofu and mushrooms, and sprinkle the spring onion to finalize. You may mix the spring onion in the sauce as well!