An experience – Eating soba noodles at Mishima Station in Japan

soba train station mishima japan
The chef at work. He was super quick with the cooking.

We arrived at Mishima Station after a bus ride from Kawaguchiko Station. The plan was to take the Shinkansen to our next destination, Kyoto. We were looking for lunch options near the station, but did not find a suitable restaurant. Hence we decided to head up to the platform to wait for the train. And that’s how we ended up eating soba noodles at Mishima Station in Japan.

Eating soba noodles at Mishima Station in Japan

soba train station mishima japan
The standing soba shop.

Similar to most noodle shops in Japan, the shop came with a vending machine. Simply indicate the type of noodles you would like, pop in the money and the machine will produce a ticket, which you then handover to the chef.

soba train station mishima japan
We couldn’t read the Japanese words and relied on pictures instead.

Our bowls of noodles arrived pretty quickly. We think it’s because the chef was observing us as we indicated our noodle preference via the vending machine. Once we pressed the button, he immediately started cooking. I ordered a bowl of soba with beancurd skin and fish cake. It was a simple, clean tasting bowl of noodles, with a sweet and savory broth.

 soba noodles at Mishima Station in Japan
My favourite – soba with beancurd skin and plenty of Japanese leek. The medium bowl cost ¥420/ SGD5.18/ USD3.80.

S ordered the sakura shrimp tempura. I avoided that as I like fried items to be plated separately from the bowl of soup. We also had a sakura prawn tempura with ramen in Ginza earlier. The portion was generous.

 soba noodles at Mishima Station in Japan
Soba with sakura shrimp tempura. The medium bowl cost ¥520/ SGD6.40/ USD4.70.

When we were there, several Japanese businessmen entered the shop, quickly slurped up their noodles and left. I was the last one standing (no pun intended), gingerly scooping the noodles into a spoon, while letting them cool at the same time.

soba train station mishima japan
The standing soba shop.

I thought the soba noodles were hearty and made for a great meal. They were not delicate with layers of flavour, but made for a good, straightforward meal, especially when one is pressed for time and is about to catch the train shortly.

soba train station mishima japan
Vending machine filled with drinks. Best to have after a bowl of soba?

Saying Goodbye…

Apart from the delectable bowl of soba noodles, I really liked how the train station was designed. The architecture probably goes back into the 90s. It was clean and nostalgic at the same time.

mishimi railway station Japan
The floor of the Mishima Railway Station was so clean that it reflected light.
soba train station mishima japan
The volley of goodbyes which lasted for 3 minutes.

I then observed an interesting phenomenon. Two young girls were accompanied by two people, who I thought were their elderly grandparents. They were waiting for a train bound for Tokyo. Just below the train station, a middle-aged couple had parked their car. They had come to send the family off. The kids bidded goodbye to the couple. It could be their aunt or uncle. But the farewell didn’t last for seconds. It went on for a good 3 minutes, with the middle-aged couple and children waving constantly, and the children articulating what appears to be goodbye in Japanese at the top of their lungs.

mishima railway station Japan
A liberating goodbye. One girl is still at it.

They soon got tired and stopped. But one girl continued waving from the rail of the platform. I might have gotten a little annoyed if this was to happen in Singapore, but it was quite heart-warming to see them doing it. In a country that values manners and order, the endless volleys of goodbyes was quite refreshing, and liberating for me.

mishima shinkasen japan
The station was super clean, and a tad nostalgic.

The Travelling Squid’s Take

The Mishima train station was fun to be in. Unlike the major train stations in Tokyo, walking slowly across the platform was not a crime. No one politely grunts, to inform you that you’re in the way. Here, children can bid their endless goodbyes to their friends and relatives who have come to send them off. They can be spotted, and not lost in the crowd. It is fine to shout goodbye from the carpark, just below the train station. There is no judgement. It feels like you can almost be yourself. It is a town that perhaps Goro from Solitary Gourmet (Kodoku no Gurume) might like.

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