Nagano is a northern prefecture in Japan that is often visited by people in winter for its many snowboarding and ski resorts. It is a prefecture of gorgeous natural beauty, with mountains that boast lovely views in autumn, and soba noodles are especially delicious and fresh-tasting here.
Lake Suwa, locally called “Suwako,” is located near the towns of Okaya, Kamisuwa, Shimosuwa, and Chino. The lake is a beautiful landmark of this region and people flock to it for various events, including the Lake Suwa Fireworks Festival in August and the Suwako Half Marathon in October. Several decades ago, it used to freeze in the winter, but because of global warming, that no longer happens.
Lake Suwa is a lovely place to visit for long walks, fresh air, and to explore this area by car. If your stomach is rumbling along the way, consider visiting these four restaurants to recharge your batteries.
This cozy little establishment near Kami-Suwa Station is perfect for lunch. Buckwheat noodles are a food of Nagano and have to be tried at least once while you’re there. This Japanese restaurant serves crunchy tempura and deliciously fresh soba noodles, one of my favorite meals and especially tasty here. The restaurant is located just a few steps from the shore of Lake Suwa as well as the Suwa City Museum of Art.
Grilled unagi or eel is also a local delicacy in Nagano Prefecture, and this restaurant in Okaya is a great place to try it! Ouna is a popular unagi store that has grilled eel on a stick and the classic “unagi-don,” which is eel on top of rice. This restaurant serves authentic local eel so it can get expensive, but if you fancy a treat, this is a great choice. Give this friendly restaurant a try when you’re exploring the Silk Museum or arcade in the little town of Okaya.
To this day, Mentobi Roppo remains one of my favorite ramen restaurants of all time! It sells mountainous, rich bowls of noodles with generous amounts of toppings. This is perfect after a long hike or when you have nothing planned for the rest of the day because after a bowl of Taiwan maze soba or pork special, you won’t be able to move. This restaurant is a gem in the small town of Chino and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for amazing ramen.
This restaurant with a nice view of the lake is good for lunch when you’re wandering around the lake from Okaya or Shimosuwa. It is cozy and friendly and sells tasty Western dishes at reasonable prices. Go for lunch to get the best value for money.
The Lake Suwa area is quiet and full of nature, which is perfect if you are looking to escape the city for a few days. Be sure to try the delicious local food while you are out hiking and exploring! These four restaurants are highly recommended and are sure to make your trip extra special.