Tofu Specialty Shop Hirakawaya’s New Restaurant in Takeo Onsen

unless otherwise noted all photos by Ben Richards courtesy Keiji Ashizawa Architects

Hirakawaya is a tofu restaurant that has been serving a local specialty for over 60 years. Known as onsen tofu, the dish (as the name implies) is cooked and served in pristine, mineral-rich water sourced from onsen, or natural hot springs. Their new, stylish space located in front of the historical tower gate of Takeo Onsen is a perfect place to enjoy this staple from Saga prefecture.


Hirakawaya had been operating in the nearby town of Nareshino. “But when they came across this specific site in Takeo Onsen where they were born and raised, they decided to open a new restaurant,” explains architect Keiji Ashizawa, who designed the new space.

The interior consists of a retail store that promotes tofu culture, as well as a cozy restaurant where visitors can sit down to enjoy the cuisine. White hues and soft curves define the space are are inspired by the silky texture of onsen tofu. Both the cuisine and the interiors are mild and light but savory at the same time.

A foot bath with hot spring water is located in the courtyard

Every detail is thoughtfully planned. The pendant lighting above the tables use local washi paper to diffuse the light and softly illuminate the cuisine. The gorgeous furniture is also made by a local brand. And tying together their cuisine with onsen culture is an ashiyu foot bath where travelers can rest their tired feet.

If you’re travelling through Saga prefecture, definitely stop by Hirakawa: a feast for both the eyes and belly.

Hirakawaya Takeo Onsen
7411 Takeocho Oaza Takeo, Takeo, Saga 843-0022, Japan (Google Map)
Hours: 9:00-18:00(restaurant seating is 16:30-18:00)

photos courtesy Hirakawa on Instagram

The custom-made pendant lamps above the tables use washi shades crafted by Nao Washi, a Saga-based Japanese paper manufacturer.

All of the furniture is made by local brand Ariake


1 Comment

  1. Beautiful structure and environment for savoring Tofu. Too bad for me since I have a severe allergy to soy and its derivatives. I can enjoy the company of my friends who love tofu cuisine. It’s a limitation I’ve learned to survive with.

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