Edo took shape when the Tokugawa Shogunate began in 1603.
When Ieyasu Tokugawa was appointed Shogun and established the Edo Shogunate government in 1603, Edo became the center of politics, economics and culture in Japan. This “Edo Culture” has continued to flourish even after Edo’s name was changed to Tokyo for the present capital of Japan. While Kyoto was well known for the court nobles’ gorgeous and glittering life style, Edo was the place where the “Iki” style has emerged from the common people. “Iki” is an expression of simplicity, sophistication, spontaneity and originality. It is romantic, straightforward, smart, and unselfconscious.
Edo townsmen’s favorite - Edo Soba
In 1700s, Edo became a big city with a population of more than one million people. Food culture also developed including sushi, soba, tempura, dojo loach, tsukudani and so on. These became popular among the common people. After the mid-Edo period, there were soba specialty shops that eventually developed their own style and taste. There were different kinds of taste for soba-jiru (or dipping sauce); sweet, salty or salty-sweet. This was a popular topic for the people of Edo. Each shop had their own original handmade Soba in which the soba chefs’ skills were displayed. Only the soba chefs were able to choose which buckwheat to use and make it into soba noodles. They decided the aroma, flavor and texture. Each shop had skillful soba experts who passed down their skills to their apprentices and this spirit is still present to this day. It is a tradition from the Edo period that a skilled expert makes soba.
“Kyou-Gakusha”, a school to study the way of soba
Techniques to make soba, which have been passed down to generations, are even more sophisticated and specialized than before. In order to deepen the understanding toward soba and raise soba chefs who can develop the soba culture and pass it down to the next generation, Komatsuan has established a school of soba called the “Kyou-Gakusha” in Komagome, Tokyo. This school not only teaches skills and techniques, but it is also a place for students to grow as a person. We teach our students the pride of being a soba chef and also the spirit of hospitality. We also make an effort to nurture inspiration by holding discussions about books that the students read or music that they listened to. We still do not know what kind of new soba culture will be developed, but we will keep challenging to find something new.
Hospitality with Tokyo Soba
While we succeed the tradition of Edo Soba, we also search for a new world of soba without adhering to tradition. For our customers to enjoy soba that is even more delicious, we desire to create a soba culture that can be passed down to the next generation. Our key words are “better taste” and “evolution”. We will challenge to explore new possibilities of soba, develop different side dishes that go together with it, and so on. The phrase “Tokyo Soba” expresses the utmost hospitality that we offer. Please enjoy the collaboration of traditional Edo Soba and today’s soba chef’s expert skills and spirit.
The best way to eat soba is to eat it quickly
When you eat soba, it is important to enjoy its aroma, texture and the way it goes smoothly down the throat. The three conditions for a good soba are “fresh ground”, “fresh made” and “fresh out of the pot”. The soba chef grinds the buckwheat with a millstone, makes it into flour, and then makes it into soba. This is all done in a day. And when the soba comes out from the boiling pot and is served to you, please eat it right away. The aroma and flavor of soba will eventually fade away. Also, please “slurp” the noodles. It is ok to make noise when you eat it. Enjoy the pleasant aftertaste of soba as if you are enjoying the taste of wine by inhaling some air through your mouth. In order to do so, it is important to make noise and “slurp” the noodles. Yes, this is the “Iki” style.