Hello ! Welcome to our blog 🙂
Here’s Saki, from Local Travel Partners !
Do you know “tororojiru” ? It is a traditional Japanese sticky soup, made from grating yam.
The most famous place in Shizuoka to have tororo would be without doubt the “Chojiya“ restaurant.
Established in the first year of Keichô era during the fierce Sengoku period (1596), it has been standing for more than 400 years ! At a time when the town of Sunpu -the actual Shizuoka city- was burning out and when Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI was passing through Utsunoya Pass with his troops to conquer the Odawara Castle, the first generation of Chojiya Heikichi opened a shop here in the Mariko district of Shizuoka city. While being notorious for its tororojiru now, it was first a tea shop.
Growing with the history of the Tôkaidô road, Chojiya has welcomed many travelers.
It is also well-known for being represented on one of the ukiyo-e artist, Hiroshige UTAGAWA work. In his remarkable series of the “Fifty-three stations of the Tôkaidô road”, it is on the twentieth station : Mariko-shuku 鞠子宿.
“Mariko‘s Tororojiru” was highly appreciated among all Tôkaidô specialties by the travelers of the Edo period !
Speaking of Mariko-shuku, tororojiru would come to mind.
Speaking of tororojiru, Chojiya comes to mind.
This ukiyo-e depicts 2 travelers eating tororo at the wayside of the Chojiya, while another man departs from it.
On our visit, we were lead to the ⌈Hiroshige room⌋. Utagawa HIROSHIGE‘s ukiyo-e “Fifty three stations of the Tôkaidô road” are displayed in order in the hall.
Binoculars were at our disposal on the table in order for us to have a look at the ukiyo-e from our seat ! You can also move freely from one to another in the big hall.
We were honored to be served by the Fourteenth generation of Chojiya himself. He told us how to enjoy the yam soup at its best, the same way travelers did in the old days.
Here is the “Mariko set” meal we ordered. The rice is mixed with barley and is served in a wooden bucket called ohitsu (at the top left of the picture). Ohitsu keeps the perfect moisture as well as the rice flavor. It is served with miso soup, condiments and pickles.
Now let’s tall about the tororojiru ! As I said earlier, it is grated yam soup. Chojiya uses wild yam, which are grown with extreme care in a a chemical free soil by organic farmers of Shizuoka. As those care and the preparation in the kitchen will bring to us customers this traditional taste of the tororojiru.
Tororojiru is poured on top of the rice, and mixed ! All left is to enjoy it !
There is also a dish with deep-fried grated yam. There are three types with shiitake mushroom, dried laver nori and folded baby sardines.
I really enjoyed all of them !
A sashimi set meal without tororo is also on the menu for those who prefer fresh sashimi 🙂
In the precincts of Chojiya, there is a small museum. Tools of travelers actually used during the Edo period are exposed.
A statue of Jippensha Ikku can be found. He was a local writer. He used tororojiru in his masterpiece “Tôkai dôchû hizakurige“, published in 1802.
There are also special exhibitions and events.
Have you noticed the kayabuki roof ? This quaint thatched roof has been changed last year in February 2018 after 40 years. The fund for the reconstruction has been gathered trough crowdfunding on the internet. Many people were concerned to preserve the old house.
Near the entrance, this is a room named after Matsuo Bashô, a famous Japanese haiku poet of the early Edo period. He wrote one haiku about the tororojiru of Mariko‘s rest station, which had an impact of the travelers of that time.
from an inn in Mariko
fresh plum blossoms
The grated yam soup was loved by three of the greatest artists in the Edo period. It has been appreciated for generations since and will probably be for a long time. Don’t you want to give it a try it yourself ?
The place is really worth a visit, I could feel from the Fourteenth of Chojiya and the people around him the importance of keeping this treasure in History.
A word from the Fourteenth generation of Chojija, Hiroyuki SHIBAYAMA 柴山広行:
You may not be very familiar with he taste of tororojiru but at Chojiya, we will make you feel like you’ve slipped into time in the world of the ukiyo-e ! You will be able to experience “Japan” as you cannot in a big city.
Please come and have fun in the Tôkaidô as well !
♦〈Access to Chojiya〉♦
- About 15 minutes by car or taxi from the JR Shizuoka Station.
- About 30 minutes by bus from the JR Shizuoka Station to “Mariko-bashi iriguchi”.
You can visit the Chojiya restaurant for a lunch break during your stay in Shizuoka. We can include it on our bike tour or on our taxi tour ! It is popular on our bike tour in Mochimune. Have a look also !
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interested ! 🙂