Picture the scene. You’ve been travelling around Nagano prefecture and you’re in a random countryside station called Shiojiri. You’re starving, you’ve just had a long train ride and you need some filling grub to keep you going.

Then out of the corner of your eye you notice something promising. A sign reading ‘soba’. Delicious, hot buckwheat noodles will give you the energy you need to continue. You greedily start to walk faster, picturing them swimming in a hearty broth.

Only to be met with this.

To paraphrase Zoolander, ‘what is this? A soba restaurant for sticks?’

This is surely the narrowest entrance to a restaurant in the whole of Japan.

A photo of this soba restaurant’s entrance went viral on Japanese Twitter after being posted by the official account of electronics company Sharp.

Many commenters lamented that at their size, they probably couldn’t actually fit through the door, and looking at the photos, even a smaller framed person would have to do a bit of maneuvering to wriggle through.

Those who barely get through the door may also be wary of eating too much, since they might not actually be able to get back out again.

All jokes aside though, these kind of eccentricities are a definite charm of small businesses in the Japanese countryside. They become local legends and offer unique sights and experiences for visitors. Perhaps this restaurant has been operating for years while the station built up around it, making their entrance smaller and smaller. Or maybe the owner is just an entrepreneur who saw potential in a tiny space. Either way the dedication is admirable, and we hope the strangely narrow entrance hasn’t caused the business to suffer too much.

By - Jess.