Savor Tradition with Post-Drinks Soba in Pontocho
Kawamichiya Ginka are a soba noodle restaurant that have been around since 1902.
The character “分” (meaning “divide”) on the store’s small noren traditional store-front curtain, signifies the fact that this restaurant is a branch of the famous “Sou-Honke Kawamichiya” soba restaurant, who are known for their famous Kyoto buckwheat cookies, the “Soba Houru.”
A long time ago, the three daughters of the Kawamichiya restaurant took on chefs as sons-in-law, and from the eldest, were given the store names “Kinka,” Ginka,” and “Douka.” One of those chefs was the third owner of Kawamichiya Ginka, Mr. Ueda’s grandfather.
Ueda has a strong connection with the original store through his experiences of going to Kawamichiya to learn the trade when he was around 18 and helping out at their festival stall at Yoshida Shrine.
It has been 47 years since the store established itself in Kyoto’s famous street of old bars and restaurants, Pontocho. Ever since then the store has opened at 5 PM to Midnight to meet the demands of the lively nightlife area.
If you take a look at the Japanese fans and Senjafuda stickers that are plastered around the restaurant, you can see that many Geisha stop by here after work too.
Two of the most unique things about Ginka is the umami of their dashi stock and the chewiness of their soba noodles.
While it may be a given for warm soba noodles, their dashi stock is used as the base for the dipping sauce of their cold soba noodles as well. In combination with the gentle flavors of their dashi stock, their chewy soba noodles, which use Japanese yams in conjunction with a ratio of 20% wheat to 80% buckwheat flour, allow you to savor the flavors of Kyoto traditions in food form.
In Japan it’s common for people to have a bowl of ramen or even ochazuke (tea poured over rice) after drinking; however, as you’re in Kyoto, why not give the quietly tasteful and very Kyoto-esque post-drinks soba a try after drinking at Ginka or other Pontocho establishments.