‘Yakushima Soba’ Found on Mysterious Menu at Yakushima Island Airport Souvenir Shop

A bit of an odd start makes for a delicious meal you can only get on this remote island in southern Japan!

Our Japanese-speaking journalist Seiji Nakazawa visited the isolated island of Yakushima in southern Japan lately. Although Seiji doesn’t want to incur the expense of renting a car, he’s done a lot of interesting things on the island, which is known for its Studio Ghibli-inspired beautiful forest, including finding less famous but always easy to – access gems worth visiting and try a new type of sashimi.

Another interesting save that Seiji discovered was Yakushima Airport. Flying directly to Yakushima is much more expensive than taking the ferry, so you might not think to visit, but there’s a certain charm to the airport that makes it a fun place to see.

The airport is only serviced by propeller planes, and the boarding areas almost looked like classrooms to Seiji. They brought back memories of the cram school he attended when he was in middle school. But what was waiting just before the doors is what really caught Seiji’s attention: a souvenir shop that also offers a food menu.

It was a very ordinary souvenir shop, but it offered a huge menu with more than 40 dishes, including teishoku dishes, rice bowls, and noodle dishes. Seiji looked around, but he saw no place to sit and eat. Did they even have a kitchen? Seiji decided to ask the staff what the deal was.

“It’s the airport cafeteria menu” they said. Oh… Seiji remembered seeing a cafeteria right after the souvenir shop at the very end of the airport. Stuck to the wall, among many other signs, was a barely noticeable poster that said “Yakushima Airport Restaurant”. When Seiji saw him again later, he thought he looked very “South Island”.

Seiji bought his meal at the souvenir shop, where, in the standard style of Japanese cafeterias, he was given a ticket that he would take to the cafeteria and exchange for his meal. The interior of the cafeteria was much more spacious than expected. Large bright windows opened onto a view of the trackgiving the space a truly open feeling.

Seiji could see a plane take off just as he entered the room, the whirr of the propellers rumbling through the glass as he flew by. This is definitely a great place for airplane fanatics!

The ticket counter was on the wall opposite the windows facing the runway. Seiji handed in his ticket, and a few minutes later, his food appeared in the same window. It secretly reminded Seiji of the win trading window at a pachiko parlor.

Seiji ordered the Yakushima Soba (1,000 yen [US$6.95]). It’s a little pricey, especially considering it’s just a rural airport, and Seiji would have been a little disappointed if he’d only been given a plain bowl of soba noodles. But what actually appeared in the window…

…Has been a real meal with real Yakushima flair! The dish came with a fried flying fish which still had its pectoral fins intact, which you would probably never see anywhere other than Yakushima. Flying fish is a delicacy here, with more than 30 different species available.

Flying fish was also used as a filling for soba, in the form of fish paste. The whole dish was full of fishy delicacies, in fact, like the broth was mackerel based, which is another Yakushima delicacy. There was a reason why they named this dish “Yakushima Soba”.

When Seiji tasted the broth, he noticed that it had a nice sweet flavor. It was closer to the flavor of the tsuyu broth you would find in Kansai, which usually places more emphasis on the pure, fishy flavor of dashi.

For Seiji, who is originally from Osaka, that certainly wasn’t a bad thing. But maybe because he’s now used to Tokyo-style soba broth, Seiji felt like he missed the richness of soy sauce, so he decided to add some of the Yakushima soy sauce provided on the table.

That completed it! There’s nothing quite like the way dashi and soy sauce combine to create something beautiful. Seiji decided that the original broth would taste good with udon noodles, but the soba tasted better with added soy sauce.

Checking the soy sauce label, it actually seemed to be made in Yakushima, apparently designed to go well with the delicacies of Yakushima.

In the end, Seiji was really, really happy with the value for money he experienced at Restaurant Airport Yakushima. Also, unlike many other restaurants on the island, Yakushima Airport is even open between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. between lunch and dinner.

It’s great to be able to have a hot meal there at any time of the day (between their opening hours of 9 am to 6:30 pm). There were no restaurants like this when Seiji arrived in port, so if you decide to fly to Yakushima instead of sailing, you’ll definitely have somewhere to stop for a bite to eat before you start. your vacation in Yakushima. And if you are looking for a place to eat between hours, you can also stop here and enjoy the charm of its country airport!

Restaurant information
Yakushima Airport / エアポートやくしま
Address: Kagoshima-ken Airport Kumage Yakushima Koseda Yakushima
鹿児島県熊毛郡屋久島町小瀬田 屋久島空港
Open from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Photos © SoraNews24
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