On the outskirts of Sendai, there is a place called “Mt. Officially, the temple is called “Seiho-ji Temple of Joge,” but the approach to the temple is lined with restaurants and souvenir shops, as it is visited by about one million tourists and worshippers every year.
The road leading to the temple is narrow, making it a bit of a hassle to drive through. The reason why a million people come to this mountainous area is not only to worship Amida Nyorai, but also for the “triangular fried tofu” that is the local specialty.
In fact, I came here myself this time to eat fried bean curd. I was so satisfied that I left without visiting Seiho-ji Temple.That is how famous this area is for fried bean curd.
I first became aware of fried bean curd in this area because it appeared in the manga “Moteki” by Mitsuro Kubo. Although it was just a stop for the main characters on their trip, the fact that the fried bean curd was so delicious left a strong impression on me.
I had always wanted to go there someday, but never got around to it, so it was with great emotion that I finally made it this time.
There are several shops selling fried bean curd on the way to the temple, but the most famous and largest shop specializing in fried bean curd is “Joge Tofu Shop”.I decided to have some fried tofu here.
Upon entering the shop, one is surprised to see that there are three cash registers to take orders. It looks like the cash register of a hamburger shop, although they only sell fried tofu and soy milk.I have never seen such a sight. That’s how wealthy the place is.
Abura-age is 150 yen each. Soy milk is 130 yen.
In the manga “Moteki”, fried tofu was introduced as “the best fried tofu in Japan”.
However, knowing in advance that the food is “delicious” raises the bar for the eater. If the food is not 1.3 times as good as expected, the impression is likely to be, “Well, this is as good as it gets.
But my fears were unfounded. When I tried it, it was twice as good as I thought it would be. Is that possible? Can something taste even better than it does when you know it tastes good?
Nowadays, traveling is becoming more and more like “prior information matching,” where people go to restaurants that are supposed to have good food and places that are supposed to be scenic. I am not really surprised or excited about this, but I was surprised. It’s amazing.
It is delicious without any seasoning, but I think this restaurant’s fried bean curd is better with shichimi (seven-spice red pepper paste) on the table. I used to think it was wrong to season fried tofu, but not this fried tofu. The generous amount of shichimi pepper and soy sauce enhances the flavor of the abura-age.
My wife and I ate two more pieces of fried bean curd, and my two-year-old son ate one by himself. He was so disgusted that he asked for a second helping. That’s how good it was.
Why it tastes so good is a mystery. Probably because you can eat fried tofu right after it is fried. The kitchen is constantly frying fried tofu because customers come to this restaurant all the time. Freshly fried tofu is always good.
There are probably many tofu shops all over Japan, and there must be many other products that have the same or even greater potential than this Joge of fried bean curd. However, there are few places where tourists can casually walk in, place a quick order, and get freshly fried tofu that tastes amazing.
I was surprised.I would like to visit Sendai again for the Joge Tofu store. I would like to visit Sendai again for the Joge Tofu store. I would like to have a Zunda shake at the train station, then rent a car and go to Joge.
A side note:
Actually, I was curious about the “Joge Hot Springs” a little further into the mountains from Mt. It is a secluded mental hospital for hot spring treatment, not open to the public.
The water was almost the same temperature as the human body, and soaking convalescent patients in the bathtub for 10 hours a day was said to calm their spirits. Patients who became violent would be chained up.
I was very curious about this hot spring because the building is old and very fine, it is not open to the public, and there are several writings and blogs about this hot spring, including one by Yoshiharu Tsuge.
It is not a place to visit just for the heck of it, so you should not even “just take a look at the exterior of the building. But in the meantime, a part of the building was damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, and it seems that the business was closed down. Now, the tasteful wooden building is said to be in ruins.
This time, I thought I could at least go as far as the fork in the road leading to the Jyoge Hot Springs, but I decided against it. I felt uncomfortable. Even though the business is now closed, I still felt that it was not a place to go just for the sake of curiosity.