In the countryside of Southeast Nara there is a straw-thatched roof cafe known as Yamaga, located in an idyllic setting.
The reason I came here wasn't all that interesting. It's pretty close to my hometown, and I had heard that this place was known for selling really good kuzukiri (translucent, sliced arrowroot, aka kuzu starch noodles).
As you can tell from the pictures, it was a very lovely atmosphere so I was really excited to go in.
There was even this lovely cliff view. Usually you want to see the view from a cliff. In this case, we had a nice view of a cliff. Looks good, right?
Everything on the outside was very beautiful, so I was excited to see the inside. I was very disappointed, though, when I opened the door and walked in. It was unbelievably messy, as though the Yamaga was out of business. It turned out that the mess was caused by the owner's lacquer work. It seemed as though the cafe wasn't his number one priority.
After a rather long wait, he served me some handmade kuzukiri.
Ta-dah! Here it is. It looks a lot like slimy slices of squid sashimi in water, doesn't it? Actually, it wasn't as chewy as squid, but it did have a pretty boring taste, as its appearance may suggest. To make it more interesting, you dip it in brown sugar syrup when you eat it. I already knew that kuzukuri had a boring taste. That applies to all kuzukiri. But, since I heard so many good things about this place, I suppose I expected it to be more flavorful and different from the kuzukiri experiences of my past. Needless to say, it left a bit to be desired given the price, which was 1,200 yen.
Overall, though, I enjoyed the scenery and the design of the earthenware, but wasn't a huge fan of the kuzukiri. I'd much rather have squid sashimi instead.
It was shocking to see how messy the place was. I liked the scenery outside, but the food was just okay, and the price was a bit expensive. I don’t really recommend this place.