Takachiyo - Wildlife Resaurant

Along the Shou river and within the various Gasshou-style villages in southern Toyama prefecture, there is a restaurant that stands alone on the side of the road with a bear of its sign. Underneath, there's another sign that says くま丼, or Kuma-don, or a Bear Bowl, which would be a bowl of rice with bear meat. Nearly 6 years ago, I saw this sign as teachers and I were going exploring on our way to Kanazawa.


This is Takachiyo, a restaurant that serves dishes made from the meat of local wildlife.

While the sign is very noticeable, its location is very out-of-the-way. It's about halfway between Takayama and Toyama along the highway, but it's about 10 minutes away from the highway exit. Most people from Takayama don't take the highway when going to Toyama because Route 41 has no tolls and takes the same amount of time. Route 41 goes a completely different direction through the mountains, so it never connects to the highway.

Here's the location: https://goo.gl/maps/rMrJCJTr8JSQVviW9

Today, I went to Kanazawa, so on my return trip, I finally had the opportunity to visit the restaurant again.


Besides bear meat, the hunter that owns the restaurant, also traps deer and boar from the surrounding mountains. All of his dishes are prepared using local ingredients, including mountain vegetables, rice, and noodles. Soba noodles are hand-made from buckwheat grown by local people.

The menu mentions that killing animals for money is evil. However, we all live by consuming plants and animals. We must give thanks to them before each meal (and live together with them, in nature). This is the basic explanation of "Ittedakimasu," which is the 'grace' we all say before we eat.


Five years ago, on my first visit to Takachiyo, I ordered their signature dish, the くま丼. The bear meat was alright. It was tough and had a full taste, like beef. But, it also had a stringy-ness to it. Added with onions, eggs, and served on rice, it tasted delicious.

I went with some friends, and they ordered other dishes. One of my friends got some deer nabe. Nabe is a bit bowl of boiling broth with lots of vegetables and meat. It's similar to stew, but stew's main base is meat. Nabe's main base are the vegetables. Nabe is very weak in comparison.

The deer meat was alright. Japanese wild animals are much smaller compared with their American counterparts. They don't have gigantic bodies or gigantic muscles. As such, it didn't taste like venison I've had in the past. Again, more stringy.


For my meal today, I ordered a Boar Bowl and Boar Udon. Boar was the one animal I hadn't tried last time, so I wanted to complete the triangle. The boar meat in both dishes was rough, like a flank steak. The meat itself had a dry texture, even though it was submerged in the Udon broth.

Overall, I would say that if you planned on going here to try exotic meats, you may leave disappointed. However, you would not be disappointed with the actual meals. While the meats themselves were just okay, the rice bowls and udon tasted excellent. Very good. Just good enough that I would recommend going out of the way to try and visit at least once.

There are plenty more things available on the menu than what I've ordered so far. He had English menus available to take, so I scanned it. Also, I still had a Japanese menu from the first time I visited.


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