Udon noodles are everywhere I look. TV programs, food magazines, and newspapers are all covering the different types of udon noodles, ways of eating it, and where to go in Tokyo.
My fall back restaurant has always been the chain store Hanamaru. Mainly because it was close to where I was working, it’s cheap, and very good for the price. The menu changes throughout the year offering seasonal specialties. At home we usually have dried udon noodles in our pantry for a last minute meal or a light snack. If we are making a nabe (hot pot) we’ll get some frozen udon noodles to throw in the pot at the end of the meal.
However, now restaurants are making their own udon noodles or serving them as traditionally served in different regions around Japan. Here is a list of ten udon shops worth seeking out in Japan. If the restaurant has a website I’ve included a link. Just click on the restaurant name.
Here are tips to demystifying an udon menu.
1. Sanuki Udon Nenotsu 讃岐饂飩 根の津
Bunkyo-ku, Nezu 1-23-16
Handmade noodles. To try very simple noodles order the kama-age udon.
2. Taniya 谷や
Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Ningyocho 2-15-17
Handmade Sanuki udon noodles at this modern restaurant near the Suitengumae temple.
3. Udon Kokuwagata うどん こくわがた
Bunkyo-ku, Hongo 2-39-7
Tight quarters at this tachigui standing bar with handmade Sanuki udon noodles.
4. Sato Yosuke 佐藤養助
Chuo-ku, Ginza 6-4-17
Inaniwa udon from Akita prefecture are thin noodles. Sato Yosuke is a 7th generation shop in Akita. This Ginza shop has been open since 2006. A modern take on the dish are tsuke-men noodles can be dipped in Italian, French, or Thai curry broths, as well as the traditional soy based broth.
5. Nanakura 七蔵
Minato-ku, Shinbashi 2-20-15, Shinbashi Eki-mae Bldg. 1 Go, 2F
In the basement of a building in front of Shinbashi station, this popular 30-year old shop usually has a line of customers at lunch time for the Inaniwa udon. A popular dish is cold noodles served with a hot sesame dipping broth made from katsuobushi broth with minced duck and seasonal ingredients.
6. Fuji Yoshida Udon Marunaga 富士吉田うどん まるなが
Shingawa-ku, Ebara 1-22-4
Fuji Yoshida udon noodles are thick and known for having a dense texture.
7. Misonikomin 味噌煮込罠
Bunkyo-ku, Hongo 3-31-15
Nagoya udon is famous for using the very hearty Hatcho miso in the broth.
8. Kushi Katsu Kasu Udon Tanaka 串カツかすうどん田中
Meguro-ku, Kami-Meguro 2-21-4
Osaka udon is the speciality of this shop with very simple settings.
9. Koko Nagasaki ここ長崎
Toshima-ku, Sugamo 3-38-4
Nagasaki udon are thin and light.
10. Sawanoi 澤乃井
Shibuya-ku, Shibuya 1-8-5, Ogawa Bldg. 1F
Miyazaki Kama-age udon noodles are the specialty of this shop.