A short walk from Fukuhara station lies the Izumo Shrine complex, which houses the well-named restaurant Priere (prayer). This laid-back eatery offers high quality soba, udon, and tempura meal sets with quite a lot of volume; the broth for the noodles is a flavorful combination of chicken, pork, and onion shoots, and the tempura is perfectly cooked to give flavor without grease.
The menu also offers desserts and a wide selection of cold and hot beverages, including fresh, pure apple juice directly from Akita Prefecture (the owner’s parental home). Of special note is the large collection of herbal teas on offer, which are not bagged teas but free leaves that are served in a special decanter for ease of brewing. In addition to the normal mint and chamomile they also have blends targeted for different effects, such as a mix of rose, lemon grass, and marrow for aiding digestion and some lemon grass and lavender for tired eyes.
The restaurant itself has a small patio for those who would prefer to dine outdoors when the weather permits, and the interior is lit mainly by natural light to give a relaxing effect. The windows look out onto the lush greenery of a Japanese mountain forest all year round and the seating arrangements are plain but spacious. Music box versions of various popular songs (Unchained Melody, My Heart Will Go On, etc) play over the speakers to add to the soothing ambience, and the staff is extremely courteous and friendly.
Because it is connected directly to the gift shop (where the entrance lies) there is also a selection of beautifully crafted glass pieces on display for purchase. Some of these pieces were imported directly from the famous glass houses in Venice, with their long-protected secret filigree technique being used to full effect. Others were handmade by the shrine’s head priest in the adjoining glass-blowing workshop, and still others were donated by a friend of said head priest. All in all it gives the sense of being inside a small art gallery just to peruse the works on display. Whether you are just in the area or stopping by to visit the shrine, Priere offers a nice place to fuel up before moving on.