In a country where people live the longest in the world it is no surprise that that country should have some of the oldest companies in the world. There are thousands of companies in Japan that are more than hundred years old. Some are even more than thousand years old. What is their secret? I have no clue but perhaps being in a stable industry is one aspect. Maybe not getting carried away by irrational exuberance and flavour of the month but evolving slowly as required is another.
In April 2012 I was taken one such company in Kyoto by Matsumiya sensei who herself is famous tea personality of Japan. Founded in 1465, Honke Owariya 本家尾張屋 a soba noodle restaurant that originally started out as a confectionary shop. This deceptively simple restaurant has been patronised by the Imperial family over the centuries. During the Edo period this restaurant served noodles in the Imperial Palace. Even today the Imperial family visits this restaurant when they come to Kyoto.
And the food? Delicious soba with season's first bamboo shoots. And some famous tea from Kyoto of course! Amazingly simple but exquisitely delicious. You can't go wrong after having had 547 years or more to perfect your skills!
Images: Outside entrance to Owariya at 322 Kurumaya Cho, Nijo, Kyoto (top) The inner entrance (middle). Inside and the simple soba noodles that it is famous for.