Yuba — Nikko's Local Delicacy

Why are so many shop signs and windows in Nikko emblazoned with the word yuba? Hungry visitors to Nikko may find themselves asking this question while searching for a tasty, local meal. Yuba, made from soy, is considered synonymous with the city and its surrounding area. Its versatility means it can be enjoyed in a variety of styles that appeal to nearly every palate.


What is yuba?

Yuba is the “skin” that forms on top of soy milk when it is boiled. It is then lifted off and used in a number of local dishes, from stews and ramen to seafood dishes and onigiri rice balls. The main allure of yuba is in its versatility. Its soft and spongy texture adds bounce to many dishes and just like its counterpart in tofu, it can assimilate to match the flavor of whatever it is eaten with. Yuba can also be eaten on its own with just a dash of soy sauce.

Beyond its subtle taste and popularity as a gift, yuba is a prominent local staple because of its importance in Nikko’s history. The beautiful World Heritage temples and shrines that draw visitors to Nikko have been home to many monks and priests over hundreds of years. These devout ascetics must adhere to strict vegetarian diets, so naturally yuba was a perfect match for them.


Where can I eat yuba?

Yuba dishes are plentiful in the shops and eateries around Nikko. Most restaurants advertise some preparation of yuba, and dishes run the gamut from a topping for simple soba noodles to high-end kaiseki cuisine at specialist restaurants and ryokan. If you’re not ready to commit an entire meal centering on yuba, there are many street vendors and stalls that sell it in snack form.

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