Long ago, there was a way of life that coexisted in cooperation with nature, deeply familiar with the peak season for each ingredient, and tied to the 5 senses. This integration of the seasons, nature and cooking is what produced the variety, ingenuity and unique flavors of Japanese food culture.
Though once forgotten and faded from memory, today a new trend of rediscovery and renewed appreciation for this style is currently blossoming around the country.
This peacefully valley township, heavily influenced by Kyoto’s culture, has a long history of bountiful and fertile soil due to its basin-specific temperature differentials and deep fogs. This rich soil has produced top-quality ingredients since ancient times.
Today, amidst the same rich soil, farmers, producers cooks and craftsmen are still drawn to the area, and express themselves with wonderful dishes and products in harmony with the nature that surrounds them.
A well-known buckwheat noodle shop nestled in the back of the Maruyama Settlement. Using seasonal, local ingredients to craft lively buckwheat soba ‘kaiseki’ (coursed meals), this is one of the most highly regarded places in Japan, holding a Michelin star. The shop’s owner, Mr. Matsuda, is an expert on various types and varieties of buckwheat, as well as the methods to process and cook them. He is renowned for bringing the maximum aromas, tastes and textures of his ingredients.
154 Maruyama, Tambasasayama-shi, Hyogo
Tel: 079-552-7755 | Closed Tues/Weds
Lunch: 11:30-2:00pm | From ￥7,000
Dinner: 6:00 pm to Close | From ￥9,800
Head chef Mr. Muraki, who honed his skills at the prestigious Kobe French restaurant “Jean Moulin,” and Arima Onsen’s “Gossho Bessho” opened this spot in Tamba-Sasayama to capitalize on freshness and abundance of ingredients in this region to create something he calls “Satoyama French” cuisine. Chef Muraki, who grows much of his produce himself, is fond of hand-selecting a huge variety of vegetables of all types for his menus. His dishes clearly express the sincerity and care that he puts into each dish, from the field to the plate.
Hiwa no Kura
42Maruyama, TambaSasayama-shi, Hyogo
Tel: 079-552-5560 | Closed Wednesday
Lunch: 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm | From ￥5,800
Dinner: 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm | From ￥8,000
Enjoy a creative banquet style meal that weaves the richness and feelings of seasonal ingredients at this Japanese restaurant. Chef Washio trained in the exiting creative food establishments in the newer areas of northern Osaka for more than 25 years. He and his team produce dish after dish of carefully crafted, perfectly finished dishes that are served with the absolute finest hospitality, including a light lunch.
Zendokoro Tannan Saryo
4-92 Ajimashin, Tambasasayama-shi, Hyogo
Closed for Lunch on Wednesday and the 4th Thursday of every month.
Lunch: 11:30 – 2:00pm (Last Order: 1:30 pm) | From ￥1,100/￥2,700/￥3,700)
Dinner: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm (Last Order: 9:00 pm) | From ￥4,000/￥5,500/￥8,500)
Chef Kitasato is a person who values the connections people make through food. Using local ingredients, he crafts “simple but delicious” rustic Italian-inspired foods. His menu is highly seasonal, and constantly changing, alongside an extensive wine list. This is the kind of place you’ll want to visit time and again.
1-10 Nikaimachi, Tambasasayama-shi, Hyogo
Lunch: 11:30 to 4:00 pm
(Last Food Order: 2:30pm / Last Drink Order 3:30 pm) | From ￥1,500
Dinner: 5:30 pm to 10:00
(Last Food Order: 10:00 pm / Last Drink Order: 10 pm) | From ￥3,000
※On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, Last Food Order at 9:00 pm.
Gather round the hearth under the thatched roof and taste the traditional local specialty “Botan Nabe” the same way it was prepared and served long, long ago. With a miso broth chock-full of vegetables and stewed boar, Mr. Iwamoto, the owner and head chef, is a connoisseur of ingredients. Using only female wild boar under 3 years of age, he captures an incredible overlapping of umami flavors in each delightful bite. Depending on the season, you’ll find river fish, vegetables both domestic and wild, matsutake mushrooms and other luxurious ingredients to enjoy.
Tambasasayama Hearth: Restaurant IWAYA
1-495 Hiuchiwa, Tambasasayama-shi, Hyogo
Closed Thursdays from April to September / Open Every Day October – March (Excluding New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day)
Hours of Operation: 11:00 am to 9:00 pm (Last Order: 10:00 pm) | From ￥3,900 (Botan Nabe: From ￥5,400)
※The Potato Hotpot is a Seasonal Dish from at or around Nov. 20th to March 20th (Serves minimum of 2).
Enjoy authentic French cuisine in the peacefulness of the countryside. Chef Horimo trained in France before working at the Ritz-Carlton “La Baie” in Osaka. Returning to the vegetables and herbs of his upbringing in the countryside, he now grows much of his own vegetables and herbs for use at his own restaurant. Enjoy a savory menu that features the freshest local meats prepared in the delicious Satoyama “Slow Food” style.
299 Kodachi, Tambasasayama-shi, Hyogo
Operating hours are subject to change, please check prior to visiting.
Lunch: 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm | From ￥4,000 /￥6,000
Dinner: 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm | From ￥4,000 /￥6,000
This restaurant is located in a beautifully renovated 150-year-old town official’s residence off the old main road. Sasarai features handcrafted local dishes using organic vegetables that clearly reflect their maker’s personality. These crisp refreshing foods will rejuvenate the body and permeate the soul. Head chef Mr. Fujioka is also a pastry maker. We recommend his “Tambaji Pudding,” available to take home with you as a souvenir.
Satoyama Shunsai Cuisine: Sasarai
397 Hioki, Tambasasayama-shi, Hyogo
Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays (Open Holidays)
Lunch: 12:00 pm | From ￥3,500 / ￥5,000 / ￥7,500
Dinner: 6:00 pm (Four or More) | From ￥5,000 / ￥7,500
Shop & Cafe: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
A native of Tambasasayama, Mr. Maegawa had trained in Osaka and Kyoto before returning to his hometown to open a restaurant of his own. Fresh seasonal vegetables, game and wild fish are the staples of his menu. His dishes are traditional and simple, such as the black bean miso with dried rice. These often come served in the clay pots made in nearby traditional kilns fired specifically for this kind of food.
Yamasato Cuisine: Maegawa
(Sawashiro Ridge) 1 Nishi-machi, Tambasasayama-shi, Hyogo
Hours of Operation May Vary, Please Check in Advance
Lunch 11:00 am – 2:00 pm (Last Order: 1:30) | From ￥3,000 / ￥4,200
Dinner: 6:00 pm to Close | From ￥３,800
Wrapped in the bounty of nature, we are certain Tamba-Sasayama will engage and thrill all five of your senses. From this idea comes the phrase “Terroir et Nature” in French, which our Chef Isshii, a master of ‘Kansai French’ has adopted as our theme. This involves dishes that make the most of local flavors using the freshest and most seasonal ingredients combined with traditional French culinary techniques.
Sasayama castle town Hotel NIPPONIA
ONAE Ridge 25 Nishimachi, Tambasasayama-shi, Hyogo
Hours of Operation May Vary, Please Check in Advance
Lunch: 11:30 am – 3:00 pm (Last Order: 2:00 pm) | From ￥2,800 / ￥4,500
Dinner: 5:30 pm to 10:00 om (Last Order: 8:00 pm) | From ￥5,000 / ￥8,000
Roasted Black Soybeans / Mebuki Farm
Tamba Black Soybeans have been cultivated in this area for roughly the past thousand years or so, and many historical records exist of the area’s beans being presented to the shogunate and the imperial courts as a treasured delicacy. Local varieties take lots of time and work, as the Tamba varieties are said to be late producers, meaning they are left to mature in the soil roughly a month longer than other similar varietals. This can produce some exceptionally large black soybeans, which have a deep, rich flavor, and can be processed as either green or black soybeans, both of which are quite popular.
Boiled Chestnut Skin Astringent / Gojusha Yamayu
If you speak of chestnuts in Japan, you might as well be talking about Tamba chestnuts, such is the degree of their notoriety and reputation that throughout the country. They are considered an emblematic product of the region and a prized delicacy throughout Japan. Fragrant and sweet, the secret to their exceptional flavor is this growing region with its wide range of temperatures and sweet, pure groundwater. They are large, as chestnuts go, but retain a delicate, mellow flavor.
Tambasasayama Fresh Toro-ro / Kannan Isamu Shoten Co., Ltd.
It’s said that the mountain yam was brought from China during the Jomon period. Cultivation in Japan is said to have begun in the early Edo period. This region’s yams are known for being easy to grate, as well as a higher nutritional content than some other varieties. Despite their strange outer appearance, the inner flesh is a pure white that is fine, dense and resistant to discoloration、making it an easy one to enjoy regularly.
Makerel Sushi / Box Sushi Sawatou
Long ago, Tambasasayama was a key stop on the connecting routes between Kyoto and the Sea of Japan. The amount of seafood (particularly mackerel) was such that this was known as the “Mackerel Road” for a long time. Kyoto, being landlocked, could not rely readily on fresh fish before the times of refrigeration, and so the fish was treated with salt to preserve it. This led to the popularization of mackerel sushi, as it is particularly well suited to preservation this way. Over the years it became an integral part of culture and festivals, and is now firmly rooted in the food culture of the area.
“Syugetsu” Cold Process Fresh Entree Sake / Kariba Syuzo Brewery
Tambasasayama is home to a venerable sake brewery known as Tamba Tohji with a history that goes back more than 300 years. A combination of pure groundwater, clean air, excellent rice, and the powers of natural fermentation using Koji and heirloom yeast strains is brought together under the expertise of Tamba Tori’s master brewers for a delicious sake. Rather than produce an extravagant, luxurious drink, their mission is to constantly strive to make the best quality sake for everyday use.
Suwamidori / Suwaen Co., Ltd.
Tamba’s tea has a long history, going all the way back to the Heian Period, where it was offered as tribute to the Imperial Court as an example of the best in the land. Due to its unique basin climate, the phenomenon of “Tamba Fog” tends to block out early morning sunlight, and this additional shade adds to the depth and sweetness of the tea leaves. This climate, combined with the techniques passed on by generations of growers, produces a tea of exceptional aroma and taste that is prized by tea lovers and connoisseurs.
Enjoy flavors unique to the area, filled with history and atmosphere, all while supporting a vital local economy.
Take a journey to the past: In each local community in Japan, there is a ‘road’ that can connect you to long ago. We call this a “Kaido” －a “highway”－and it is filled with people, things and interactions that will transport you to another time and place.
Reach out and touch the climate and the land that gives rise to the food culture at the heart of this highway. Head out to find the dish that will move you.