Hello, this is _hiroyuki.ta. This time, I took a motorcycle tour from central Tokyo to Tofu Factory Watanabe¹ in Tokigawa Town, Saitama Prefecture. I enjoyed a 2-hour drive on my favorite Harley-Davidson FLSB Sport Glide. In this article, we will introduce what kind of shop Tofu Kobo Watanabe is, what route we took to get there, what to see, and information about bike parking.
What is Tofu Kobo Watanabe?
Tofu Kobo Watanabe was founded in 1946 as a konjac shop in Myokaku Village, Hiki District, and moved to its current location in 2002, changing its business to a tofu shop. In Tokigawa town, surrounded by greenery and clear streams, we are working on the theme of “making tofu with an understanding of its origins.” The water we use to make our products is clear groundwater pumped up from underground on our premises, and the soybeans we use are from Saitama Prefecture or from contracted local farmers. Natural bittern and homemade soy milk are also special points.
Tofu Kobo Watanabe not only sells tofu and fried tofu, but also soy milk sweets such as okara donuts and soy milk ice cream. There is also a cafe space inside the store, where you can enjoy soy milk soft serve ice cream and soy milk pudding. In addition, there is also an ice confectionery workshop on the premises, which offers shaved ice and popsicles only during the summer.
Tofu Kobo Watanabe is a talented shop that has won gold and silver awards at the National Tofu Fair. In particular,
Shimosato Kinu Tofu'' andShimosato Momen Tofu” are special products that are only produced in the winter, and the texture and flavor of the tofu is enhanced using freezing technology. These products are popular and sell out every year, with reservations required.
Route to Tofu Workshop Watanabe
To reach Tofu Kobo Watanabe from central Tokyo, transfer from the Shuto Expressway’s Inner Loop Line to the Shuto Expressway No. 5 Ikebukuro Line and get off at the Takashimadaira Exit. From there, enter the Tokyo Gaikan Expressway via the Shin-Omiya Bypass. Transfer from the Tokyo Gaikan Expressway to the Kanetsu Expressway and get off at Sakado Nishi Smart IC. From there, use Prefectural Route 171 and Prefectural Route 172 to reach your destination.
This route allows you to avoid traffic jams as there are dedicated bike lanes on the Metropolitan Expressway No. 5 Ikebukuro Line and the Kanetsu Expressway. Also, on the Tokyo Gaikan Expressway and the Kanetsu Expressway, the fares for motorcycles are the same as for light cars, so you can save money. However, the Sakado Nishi Smart IC is for ETC only, so it must be equipped in advance.
Highlights of Tofu Kobo Watanabe
When you arrive at Tofu Kobo Watanabe, the first thing you’ll see is the tofu and sweets sales corner. Here you can purchase various types of tofu, fried tofu, soy milk, yuba, natto, konnyaku, etc. Also popular are soy milk sweets such as okara donuts and soy milk ice cream. I had reserved the Shimotsato silk tofu and the Shimotsato cotton tofu, so I received them. When frozen tofu is thawed, it has a fluffy texture and you can taste the sweetness of the beans. I think I’ll try this at home.
Next, move to the cafe space. The menu here includes soft serve ice cream with soy milk and soy milk pudding. I ordered a soft serve ice cream with soy milk topped with brown sugar syrup and soybean flour. The soft serve ice cream is smooth and creamy, and the brown sugar syrup and soybean flour give it a nice accent. You can also feel the flavor of soy milk. This is great to eat after a bike ride.
Finally, we will go to the ice confectionery workshop. Shaved ice and popsicles are only available here during the summer. I chose matcha milk from the shaved ice. The shaved ice is fluffy and melts in your mouth, and the matcha milk is rich and not too sweet. The ice confectionery workshop also has terrace seating, so you can eat outside in the cool air.
Tofu Kobo Watanabe Motorcycle Parking Lot
Tofu Kobo Watanabe has 3 parking lots. There is a first parking lot in front of the store, a second parking lot behind the fire station opposite our store, and a third parking lot next to the fire station. Motorcycles can be parked in the first parking lot or the second parking lot. I parked in the first parking lot, but there weren’t many empty spaces. The second parking lot was large and seemed empty. However, the parking lot is small, so please be careful not to get in trouble.
Tofu Kobo Watanabe is a shop with the theme of making tofu that allows you to understand its origins. This is a shop where you can enjoy not only tofu and fried tofu, but also soy milk sweets and ice sweets. It’s about a two-hour drive from central Tokyo by motorbike, so you can easily go on a tour. In addition to tofu and sweets, Tokigawa Town also has spots where you can feel nature and history. For example, the Tokigawa Town History and Folklore Museum, located about 10 minutes by car from Tofu Kobo Watanabe, exhibits everyday tools and agricultural tools from the Edo period to the Showa period. Also, at the Tokigawa Town Flower Culture Garden, which is also about a 10-minute drive away, you can see seasonal flowers and plants. Furthermore, at Chichibu-Tama Kai National Park, which is about a 20-minute drive away, you can enjoy natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, and waterfalls.
I didn’t have time this time, so I couldn’t go to these spots, but I would definitely like to visit them next time. Tofu Kobo Watanabe is a recommended touring destination where you can enjoy not only tofu and sweets, but also sightseeing in the surrounding area. Everyone who loves bikes should definitely give it a try.
This is the story of my touring trip to Tofu Factory Watanabe in Saitama Prefecture. Thank you for reading until the end. It was _hiroyuki.ta.
(Saitama Prefecture Tofu Workshop Watanabe is called Saitama Prefecture Tofu Workshop Watanabe in English.)