Shinjuku is full of all kinds of restaurants and bars, but none can compare when it comes to soba (buckwheat noodles) spots! From old restaurants founded more than 60 years ago to soba bars popular among women, self-service chains, and famous restaurants visited by tourists from all over the world - there are so many unique places to try! Use this list as a reference the next time you feel like taking a break in Shinjuku after some shopping.
1. Soba Gensai
Soba Gensai is one of the restaurants located around West Exit of Shinjuku Station. With its traditional Japanese-style interior, this restaurant is suitable for various scenarios, from the solo passerby to groups of friends eating together. Nihachi Soba, their special handmade noodles made with flour from Hokkaido, are so thin and smooth that everybody loves them! Order a [Seiro] or [Tororo Soba] to enjoy the aroma and flavor of true soba! You can pay an additional fee to have a large serving of soba, or pick a set meal from their rich menu, like the [Ebi Tempura Soba]. Whether you're in the mood for something light or you want a heartier meal, you'll find the perfect option to match your mood. Plus, if you want a drink to go with your soba, you may as well complete your meal with sake (Japanese alcohol), shochu (another type of Japanese alcohol), or any other local liquor.
2. Naze Soba ni Rayu wo Ireru no ka
"Why do you add chili oil to soba?" is the meaning of this unique restaurant name. They offer [Gyu Soba] (soba noodles topped with beef in a cold soup), as well as [Tori Soba] (soba noodles topped with chicken in a hot soup). Their soba's appeal is their thick and chewy texture. Their original tsuyu (soup) seasoned with chili oil is spicy and tangy, creating a flavor way different from any other you've ever tried! The plain [Gyu Soba] or [Tori Soba] topped with just welsh onions and nori (dried seaweed) is fulfilling enough, but if you want more, you can add extra toppings like grated Japanese yam, meat, or chikuwa tempura (surimi)! Soba servings are available in small, medium, and large sizes, and they all have the same price! There are raw eggs and tempura flakes (tenkasu) on the table that you're welcome to add to your liking. There is also self-service soba tea and broth. This location comes highly recommended for when you want a filling meal.
Naze Soba ni Rayu wo Ireru no ka
3. Udon Shin
Udon Shin offers premium udon made with carefully selected flour. They only prepare as much as they need for that day. Their freshly cut and boiled udon noodles are so smooth that they feel like silk on your tongue! You can have simple [Zaru Udon] that's beautifully served in a basket, but a recommended topping would be [Ago Chikuwa Tempura] or [Yasai Tempura]! Another popular order is [Kake Udon], which is complemented with kitsune (deep-fried tofu), natto (fermented soybeans), or grated Japanese yam. Countless are the fans of artisanal udon noodles, and many come to Shinjuku just to eat at this place. You may also try the chef's recommended [Kamatama], which is udon with butter, pepper, and meat in a kettle pot.
This small udon restaurant with just 8 counter seats called "Kameya" is located on the corner of the shopping street at West Exit of Shinjuku Station, which is known as "Omoide Yokocho". It is not unusual to see a long queue outside this restaurant, including foreign tourists! The most ordered dish is [Ganso Tentama Soba]. Topped with a big freshly fried kakiage (vegetable fritter), a hot spring egg, and welsh onions, these soba noodles soaked in a dense tsuyu (broth) are just delicious! Many order them together with the [Jumbo Gomoku Inari]. You can have both soba and udon noodles in many different styles: from kake (a type of broth) to tanuki (with tenkasu), topped with classic ingredients like grated Japanese tororo kombu (shaved dried kombu), and kitsune. Thanks to their quick service and late hours, this restaurant is ideal for anyone in need of a fast meal or something to fill their stomach with after drinking.
5. Tsurutontan Shinjuku Branch
Tsurutontan Shinjuku Branch looks like a red and black themed bar. The chef makes the thick and soft udon with his own hands out of a dough made from a well-balanced combination of wheat, water, and salt. The result is a product that's both delicious and pleasant to eat! The Kansai-style dashi (broth) is light and slightly sweet. Have a taste of classics like [Kombu no O-udon] or [Curry no O-udon], which is served in a bowl as big as your head, or try their [Oban Kitsune no O-udon] that's topped with a fritter the size of your palm. Lesser-known yet delicious options are their creative udon dishes like [Carbonara no O-udon]. Plus, you get to choose how many bunches of udon you want (1 - 3) with no price variation! It's also a great spot to have dinner while listening to live music.
Tsurutontan Shinjuku Branch
6. Teuchi Soba Daian
Teuchi Soba Daian has a warm, Japanese-style design, and nice Bossa nova tunes playing in the background. The relaxing atmosphere inside reaches both the counter, which is built all around the kitchen, and the private rooms that are surrounded by bamboo screens. Their soba noodles, handmade from premium, stone-milled Japanese whole-wheat flour, are unique for being coarsely ground and having a chewy texture. Apart from their standard dishes like [Seiro] and [Zaru Soba], the most recommended dish for soba fanatics would be [Soba-gaki]! The super soft texture and the flavorful soba noodles have earned these noodles tons of fans. Their ?-la-carte menu also offers tempting dishes like the [Soba-gaki Renkon] made with black shichimi (7 spices) and the [Daian Tokusei! O-inari-san] made with soba instead of vinegar rice.
Teuchi Soba Daian
[Day] 11:30 am - 2:30 pm (L.O. 2:00 pm) Tuesday - Friday
12:00 pm - 3:00 pm (L.O. 2:30 pm) Saturday, Sunday, National Holidays
[Night] 5:00 pm - 11:30 pm (L.O. 10:30 pm) Monday - Saturday
4:30 pm - 10:30 pm (L.O. 9:30 pm) Sunday, National Holidays
Closed: None (except for the beginning and end of the year and Obon)
Access: 1 minute walk from Shinjuku Station
Address: 2F, Daian Bldg., 3-36-6, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo (Map)
Source: Hitosara (Japanese)
At Yanbaru, you can have Okinawan-style soba dishes made with flat, curly noodles, which are typical of Okinawa, and bonito dashi. The basic Okinawan soba noodles are called [Yanbaru Soba]. With their strongly flavored triple-slice meat topping, it is the restaurant's most popular dish! Their menu also offers other variations like [Yasai Soba] (vegetable soba), [Rafute Soba] (soba topped with a giant pork rib), and [Soki Soba] (soba with delicious cartilage). You can even have them in larger portions for an additional fee! Other than Okinawan soba, they also have interesting lunch options like [Goya Teishoku] and their famous [Pork Tamago Teishoku]. This place is perfect even for women willing to enjoy a [Rafute] or [Mozuku no Tempura] while sipping Orion Beer.
8. Sangoku Ichi Higashi-guchi Branch
Sangoku Ichi Higashi-guchi Branch is a Kansai-style udon restaurant in Shinjuku that has been operating for more than 60 years. The space is divided into 2 floors - smoking and non-smoking floors - and there are both table seats and tatami rooms with sunken kotatsu (Japanese-style heated table). Apart from the classic [Tempura Udon] and [Tanuki Udon], they also offer original udon dishes like [Carbonara Udon] and [Suratan Udon]. The most popular among aficionados is the [Ganso Salad Udon], where udon noodles are topped with lots of vegetables, such as tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, onions, and asparagus. It may sound like a summer dish with the refreshing Kansai-style dashi and mayonnaise, but it's actually rather popular in winter too! Their rich menu, which includes donburi (rice bowl with toppings), snacks, grilled and fried dishes, makes this location suitable for groups of friends.
Sangoku Ichi Higashi-guchi Branch
9. Kitamae Soba Takadaya Shinjuku Minami-guchi Branch
Kitamae Soba Takadaya Shinjuku Minami-guchi Branch's main feature is its simple and calm atmosphere where you get to taste their Takadaya Original Goma Soba - tasty handmade noodles mixed with black sesame. [Seiro Soba], [Oebi no Tempura Seiro], and [Akita-kensan Hinai Jidori Soba] are just a few of the recommended soba dishes you can have for lunch! Additionally, there is also a rich ?-la-carte menu with fish or meat dishes made from premium ingredients acquired from all over the country, such as the [Hakodate-san Katsu Ika no Okizuke] and the [Hinai Jidori no Kiritampo Nabe]. You can even have soba paired with sake to finish off a meal. The restaurant offers private rooms for both small and large groups. There are up to 36 seats, so there’s space for any occasion, from small gatherings to parties.
Kitamae Soba Takadaya Shinjuku Minami-guchi Branch
[Monday - Friday] 5:00 pm - 11:30 pm (L.O.)
[Saturday] 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O.)
[Sunday and National Holidays] 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm (L.O.)
Average price: 3,001 JPY - 3,500 JPY
Access: 1 minute walk from Shinjuku Station
Address: B1F, Koshin Bldg., 1-18-5, Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo (Map)
Source: Hitosara (Japanese)
10. Omuraan Main Branch
Omuraan Main Branch is an old restaurant founded 67 years ago. It specializes in soba made by grinding large, premium buckwheat seeds from Hokkaido in a low-speed stone mortar. To enhance their unique texture, the binding agent is limited to 20%, and the dough is hand-kneaded with delicious water strained through a special filter. Classic dishes like [Mori], [Zaru], [Tanuki], [Kitsune], and [Tsukimi] are obviously must-eats, but there are also worthy set meals like the [Tamago-toji Tendon] and [Katsudon Set]. Their most popular dish is [Kamo Seiro], which is made with duck meat straight from Iwate. This dish truly brings out the umami (Japanese savory taste) of the high-quality duck meat. Plus, daily special lunch sets, such as [Yakitori-don to Seiro Soba] or [Kaisen Chirashi-don Soba], are highly recommended if you want a hearty meal.
Omuraan Main Branch
11. Torasoba Shinjuku Kabuki-cho Branch
At first glance, Torasoba Shinjuku Kabuki-cho Branch looks like a stand-up restaurant, but it's actually possible to have a seat inside as well. The counter in this spacious and clean restaurant has a ladies-only corner, which makes it the perfect option for women who prefer to eat in private. It offers all kinds of dishes: hot or cold soba or udon, shrimp tempura, croquettes, meat, and yamakake (grated yam), to name a few. The frequently ordered [Kakiage Soba] consists of delicious soba served in a slightly sweet tsuyu and topped with kakiage, welsh onions, and spinach. Their [Tentama Soba] is topped with a big onion kakiage, welsh onions, raw egg, and spinach. You can also order the [Tanuki to Curry Set] if you are extremely hungry!
Torasoba Shinjuku Kabuki-cho Branch
Average Price: 501 JPY - 1,000 JPY
Access: 3-minute walk from Seibu Shinjuku Station,
4-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Shinjuku Station,
5-minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station
Address: 1F, Shinjuku Pick Peck Bldg., 1-17-13, Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo (Map)
Source: Hitosara (Japanese)
12. Hanamaru Udon Shinjuku Higashi-guchi Moa-gai Branch
Order traditional Sanuki udon at the self-service restaurant, Hanamaru Udon Shinjuku Higashi-guchi Moa-gai Branch. You'll get special chewy noodles freshly made with high-quality flour and no additives. The fresh noodles are made in their own factory, and then delivered to the restaurant at a controlled temperature. Their dried sea slug dashi is made in small quantities in order to maintain their flavor. Apart from the simple [Bukkake Udon], [Kamaage], and [Zaru], you will also find classics like [Kitsune Udon] and [Tsukimi Udon] on their menu. [Shoga Tamago Ankake] and [Oroshi Shoyu] are definitely must-trys. You can also have mini-sized donburi dishes or tempura - just pick anything you like! In addition, you can have udon in small, medium, or large sizes, according to your appetite.
Hanamaru Udon Shinjuku Higashi-guchi Moa-gai Branch
13. Uta Andon Shinjuku Branch
Located on the 8th floor of Isetan Kaikan, Uta Andon Shinjuku Branch is spacious, with table seats allowing you to eat your meal in silence and relax in the Shinjuku area. As soon as you take your seat, you are even offered some tea and rice crackers! You can then enjoy some homemade soba or udon noodles in healthy Kansai-style dashi. The lunch options are countless. Popular options include [Maitake Oroshi Udon] and [Matsusaka Gyu Curry Udon], or you may simply order a set meal. Choose your favorite udon or soba to go with the small donburi, side dish, and pickle set! Customers of all generations love the flexibility of their menu. The wait staff are great, and they have tatami room seats too, making it the right place for both small groups and parties.
Uta Andon Shinjuku Branch
Sarashina feels just like an old-school soba restaurant. There are the usual [Mori], [Zaru], and [Tempura Soba], as well as a variety of udon and donburi options to choose from. Many businessmen from the neighborhood come here during their lunch breaks to have the set meal, which is a combination of a donburi and soba dish of their choice! Even when crowded, their service is very fast, and the quality to price ratio is excellent, hence the large number of regulars. They offer 3 types of noodles: soba, udon, and kishimen (flat noodles). You may request for a medium or large size by paying an additional fee. By "large", they actually mean double the regular size! Keep this eatery in mind for those times when you're so hungry, you could eat an elephant! Their [Katsudon Set] with [Zaru] or [Tanuki] soba is also very popular for being quite filling. Other recommendations are [Niku Nanban] and [Tori Nanban]. So much umami!
[Saturday] 11:00 am - 8:00 pm
[National Holidays] 11:00 am - around 2:00 pm
Closed: Sunday (Also closed on New Year's Day, Golden Week, and Obon)
Access: 3-minute walk from Shinjuku-sanchome Station, 7-minute walk from Shinjuku-gyoemmae Station
Address: 2-16-11, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo (Map)
Source: Hitosara (Japanese)
15. Iwamoto Q
Iwamoto Q is a nice stand-up soba restaurant that offers freshly boiled and freshly fried dishes. Since first opening their doors, they have been refining their delicious soba tsuyu! Even now, they continue to devote themselves to improving their service and quality. For example, they strive to talk as little as possible in order to speed up their orders. Their soba noodles, freshly prepared, cut, and then boiled, are particularly appreciated for their chewiness and robust flavor. Extras like kakiage or tempura are fried as soon as you order them, so that you can eat them while they’re still piping hot. Apart from the basic [Mori], [Kake], or [Hiya] soba, you may also have set meals like [Tendon], [Niku Tendon], or [Kakiage-don]. You can also have a small donburi, or a large or special-sized soba serving, for an additional fee. They also offer a raw egg or 1 cup of tempura flakes for free!
Try tsukesoba (dipping noodles) at Joka. The restaurant’s design is simple, bright, and suitable for solo diners. Soba noodles are served in cold or hot tsuyu, available in the classic style or in its variations: [Goma Tsuyu] and [Shoga Tsuyu]. Joka’s soba noodles have a unique thickness, deep color, and chewy texture. The [Mori Soba], topped with a bunch of roasted sesame and nori, is highly appreciated for its hot, spicy tsuyu, seasoned with chili oil. [Gyu Soba] topped with beef ribs, [Tori Soba] with chicken leg meat, [Tantan Soba], and [Nitamago Soba] are just a few of their one-of-a-kind tsukesoba dishes. For an additional fee, you may have your soba serving increased to 350g, or you can order a 150g half serving if you prefer a lighter meal.
Located in a neighborhood with numerous electronic stores and restaurants, Watanabe is an old-style, tranquil restaurant. In addition to classics like cold or hot soba, they have many fine ?-la-carte dishes that are enjoyed by many for not only lunch or dinner, but also as a snack or with wine. These soba noodles, made from buckwheat flour from Hokkaido, are loved by Watanabe fans for their thin, smooth texture and great flavor! You can regulate the quantity of your [Seiro] soba by ordering 1 layer if you want to keep it light, or upping it to 2 if you want to eat a little more, and so on. Their [Soba Zanmai], made with different spices, and their [Ume Zenmi Soba] basket, topped with plum pulp and tofu, are also popular. Their signature snacks, such as the [Uzura no Tamago no Misozuke] or [Kamo no Aiyaki], come highly recommended. Enjoy these snacks with sake, and then have some soba to finish up!
18. Kirimugiya Jinroku
Kirimugiya Jinroku is a very cozy place with a lovely wooden interior. Their original, freshly kneaded, freshly cut, chewy, and smooth udon, made with premium flour, is a pleasure to eat. The dashi, carefully prepared from a variety of seafood and seaweed (such as top-quality kombu from Hokkaido and dried sea slugs from Setouchi), soy sauce, and additive-free mirin, offers you a supreme flavor! Their most popular dish is the [Oyako-ten Bukkake Udon]. Thanks to this dish, you get to enjoy Daisen chicken and soft-boiled red egg tempura together with udon. From 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm, you can enlarge your serving to 1.5kg of noodles for an additional 200 JPY, so don't miss it if you want to binge! The menu also offers many premium sake (Japanese alcohol) from all over Japan, all types of tempura, and various snacks.
[Sunday, National Holidays] Opens at 11:30 am
[Friday, Saturday] 11:30 am - 4:00 pm, 5:30 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:00 pm)
Closed: Obon, Beginning and end of the year
Average Price: [Dinner] 1,000 JPY - 1,999 JPY / [Lunch] Up to 999 JPY
Access: 2-minute walk from Shinjuku-gyoemmae Station, 8-minute walk from Shinjuku-sanchome Station
Address: 1F, Land Den, 1-17-1, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo (Map)
Source: Hitosara (Japanese)