Snapshots from Japan | Kinubiki Noodles in Moto-Hakone

Hakone is one of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations, famous for its onsen (hot spring) resorts and natural beauty, not least the views of Lake Ashinoko and Mount Fuji. This mountainous town sits within the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park; only 50 miles or so from central Tokyo the area is visited by national and international tourists alike.

There are many small towns – villages really – within Hakone, high up in the mountains and serviced by one of the stations of the Hakone Tozan railway line between Odawara and Gora. We stayed in an elegant, high-end ryokan in Miyanoshita but there are many other places to stay such as Hakone-Yumoto, Tonosawa and Gora. The Tozan railway journey between Hakone-Yumoto and Gora is particularly scenic.

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The pirate ship tourist boats

Alternatively, you can stay down by the lake. Moto-Hakone sits on the southern edge of Lake Ashinoko, from where you can catch tourist boats and ferries to Hakone-machi (fairly close by) or to Togendai and Kojiri at the lake’s northern end.

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On our free day in Hakone we took the Tozan line from Miyanoshita to Gora, then the steep little funicular from Gora to Sounzan. Usually we’d have taken the ropeway from there but part of it was not operation because of volcanic activity in the area, so we took a bus down to Owakudani where we were able to use the ropeway for the rest of the journey down to the lake. There we boarded one of the pirate ships and crossed over to Moto-Hakone for a little light sightseeing. Later, we hopped on a local bus back to our base in Miyanoshita.

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Hopping aboard the local bus in Moto-Hakone

The main attraction of Moto-Hakone, other than the lake views themselves, is Hakone Shrine which sits in the forest just at the outskirts of the small urban area and port. The stone steps up the main shrine and down to the torii gate that sits out on the water are very steep, making access difficult for those with limited mobility.

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Hakone Shrine

After our walk in the forest, we picked our lunch spot Kinubiki-no-Sato based on its menu – I’d never encountered their kinubiki noodles before and wanted to try them.

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Kinubiki noodles in broth

The restaurant specialises in noodles and offers three types – udon (wheat noodles), soba (buckwheat noodles) and the special kinubuki (noodles made from wheat mixed with sesame). You can have these with various combinations of other items such as tempura, and as with soba, they can be served hot or cold.

My best guess is that the name of the noodles refers to their beautiful silkiness, but I can’t find much reference to them at all, so I think they may be a dish created and named by this restaurant.

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Katsudon with small bowl of kinubiki

Pete ordered kinubiki in broth. I went for katsudon (breaded and fried pork and egg over rice with onions and a savoury sauce mixed through) with a small side of kinubiki. We both enjoyed the kinubiki noodles though we didn’t feel the taste of sesame came through much at all. Their texture, and the two broths they were served in, were simple and delicious.

Have you come across kinubiki noodles before? Was it at the same little restaurant in Moto-Hakone or somewhere else? What did you think?

You may like to check out my other posts about my travels to Japan. For those who enjoy walking, you may enjoy hiking the Yoshido trail up Mount Fuji.Save

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20 Comments to "Snapshots from Japan | Kinubiki Noodles in Moto-Hakone"

  1. Lisa | Garlic + Zest

    I’ve never been to Japan or any Asian country before – but I really need to make it a priority! This looks like an amazing trip – and who doesn’t love this kind of food?!!


    It’s truly a wonderful country to visit. Natural beauty, history, culture, fantastic food and the most friendly and welcoming people.

  2. Brian Jones

    What a great collection of pictures, I love Japanese food… As far as I am concerned they present food better than every other nationality and pair that presentation with the most wonderful clean flavours.


    Yes, there’s a beauty in the presentation, whether it’s something simple and inexpensive, or at the higher end, intricate and detailed, it’s always beautiful.

  3. Urvashi Roe

    Hakone is one of my most favourite places in Japan. I remember that boat trip well and a little pottery place at the end where Tony and I sat and got creative for a while drinking some lovely matcha. I may well have had these noodles but I don’t remember them at all. HOw luscious they look.

  4. Emma @ Supper in the Suburbs

    I loved watching your adventures across Japan on instagram and so happy to be reliving all your foodie experiences now 🙂 I’d also never heard of kinubiki noodles! But sesame is one of my absolute favourite flavours so I just know I’d love these! Can you take me on your next trip? 😛


    Thank you Emma, I loved sharing live via instagram! I can’t find anything on kinubiki noodles on google, so wonder if this name is given by this particular restaurant. I want to find out if there’s another name for them but I’m coming up blank!

  5. Camilla

    Japan is an amazing country and I’m seriously in the mood for noodles now and have not come across these ones before!


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