An Udon Battleground! 10 Recommended Sanuki Udon Places in Kagawa Prefecture, Shikoku
Udon, which refers to a dish with thick, white noodles, is eaten all over Japan. However, Kagawa Prefecture in the Shikoku region is famous for serving especially delicious udon. Called “Sanuki udon”, it is a food eaten by the masses, and is not only popular with locals, but also with tourists. Among the close to 700 udon restaurants in the area, here are 10 that are particularly recommended!
Feb 05 2018 (Sep 09 2020)
1. Yamagoe Udon [Takinomiya]
Yamagoe Udon is a restaurant whose menu offering began with Kamatama udon. Kamatama udon is udon mixed together with a raw egg, along with soy sauce or tsuyu (dipping broth) added to flavor it. It’s an item than can be said to be a staple for udon restaurants.
Here, tsuyu is used when eating Kamagata udon. It has a nice aroma, and will make you want to eat it all up! By itself, the egg has a slightly slimy texture, but if you want it to be even stickier, you can try the “Kamatama Yama”, which has tororo imo (sticky, grated Japanese yam).
When you receive your udon, head out to the courtyard. Yamagoe Udon has a spacious courtyard where you can eat your udon! There are plenty of spots in the shade, so you don’t have to worry even if it rains.
2. Tanikawa Beikokuten [Kotohira]
Located in the mountains, Tanikawa Beikokuten is a small udon shop with about 20 seats. Even so, it’s so popular that there’s always a line, even on weekdays! The udon menu is simple, only offering a choice of large or small, hot or cold udon. Green chili peppers are available on the table and people like to use these as toppings, but they’re quite spicy, so be careful not to use too much!
The noodles are carefully made by hand, and have a simple taste that allow you to experience the flavor of the wheat. They’re proud of how smoothly it can be slurped. Even the large udon comes served in fairly small quantities, so it’s perfect for anyone who wants to walk around while eating.
This restaurant is pretty popular, so you must be prepared to wait in line, but the surrounding mountains and the nearby flowing river mean that you can enjoy some beautiful scenery while you wait. It’s a little inconvenient to get to, but it’s an udon restaurant that you should definitely try!
3. Waraya [Yashima]
At Waraya, you can eat udon made from top-class wheat. The noodles are boiled after they take your order, so you can always enjoy them freshly made. They’re also particular about where their condiments, such as spring onions and ginger, are sourced from.
The portion of udon that’s served is enough for a single person, so if you go with family or friends, be sure to order their extra-large size that can be divided between 4 – 5 people. Share their udon with everyone!
Waraya’s shop is a repurposed private house from the Edo period (1603 – 1868). Enjoy unique elements that you can no longer see in modern architecture, such as the straw-thatched roof and exposed wooden ceiling. Shikoku Village (Shikoku Mura), where you can find a collection of old Japanese houses, lies nearby, so anyone interested in Japanese history or culture should pay a visit.
4. Udon Baka Ichidai [Kawara-machi]
Most udon restaurants open around lunch time, but Udon Baka Ichidai starts operating from 6:00 am! Their most popular dish, the “Kama Butter Udon”, has a creamy taste that’s similar to carbonara.
Of course, they have udon with regular flavors as well. Their noodles have a springy texture, with only a slight bit of stickiness. From the moment that you put some in your mouth, you can savor its amazing texture! Add seasonings like ginger or lemon to enjoy the change in flavor.
This restaurant also has a fried foods menu, with many options like tempura and croquettes. Most of these cost 100 yen, and the more expensive items are a mere 130 yen, so you can order what you like without worrying about your wallet!
5. Yamadaya Sanuki Main Branch [Yakuri]
Yamadaya is a popular Sanuki udon restaurant that’s located in the shopping mall of Tokyo Skytree. Starting with toppings like spring onions, lemon, and sesame seeds, this restaurant also serves udon with Japanese plums (ume) or meat. They have an extensive menu, including an option to make your meal a set with tempura or sushi.
One of their appeals is their menu that changes with the seasons. In the summer, there’s cold udon, and in the winter, there’s Shippoku udon. A regional dish from Kagawa Prefecture, Shippoku udon refers to warm udon with chicken, carrots, Japanese radish, and other ingredients added. It warms your body to the core.
At Yamadaya, you can gaze out at their beautiful traditional Japanese garden as you eat. Together with the Japanese-style interior that will remind you of history, it definitely has the atmosphere of a high-class restaurant. However, the udon is moderately priced at 1,000 yen or below, so there’s no need to feel anxious.
6. Moriya [Takamatsu]
The cross-section of Moriya’s udon is not quite a square. Rather, it has a shape that’s a bit warped towards the four corners. It’s shaped this way to give it even more of a springy texture. Their signature dish is the “Kakiage Udon” (udon with fritters). Their large kakiage come in two varieties: one with shrimp, and another with octopus inside.
Moriya’s menu items are all hearty and satisfying. For those who like meat, the “Tori Kara Oroshi Udon” (udon with deep-fried chicken and grated vegetables) that has plenty of chicken is recommended for you. Whether you put mayonnaise on the deep-fried chicken or you decide to pour the udon broth on top, it’s still incredibly delicious!
The inside of the shop is spacious with a high ceiling, and there are tatami seats or table seats available. It stays open from lunch through dinner, and you can get there in 10 minutes by taxi from the airport, making it an incredibly accessible restaurant.
7. Goda Udon [Toyohama]
Goda Udon is an udon restaurant that is popular with the locals of the area. Their signature dish is the “Kake Udon” that gives you two choices of tsuyu: iriko (made with small dried sardines) and katsuo (made with skipjack tuna). Both of them use seafood-based dashi (broth).
Iriko is a standard tsuyu for Sanuki udon, and it has a mellow flavor. On the other hand, the flavor of katsuo packs a bit of a punch! The serving size is fairly small, so why not get both and compare?
The dark brown exterior is the restaurant’s trademark. Their sign doesn’t stand out too much, so be sure not to go past them! The interior has a cafe-like atmosphere, so you can enjoy udon a little more stylishly.
8. Okasen [Utazu]
Okasen’s udon is recognizable for being thin yet strong. The dish that you have to try here is the famous “Hiyaten Oroshi”. The two giant pieces of shrimp tempura that come with it are crisp and light.
Their Hiyaten Oroshi is quite voluminous. For those who don’t eat much or who want to take their food with them, the mini size with small shrimp tempura is recommended. It’s meant for children, but it can also be ordered by adults. It even comes with a cute snack!
They have a side menu with lots of options like onigiri (rice balls) and oden (various ingredients simmered in a broth). The oden, which has ingredients such as minced fish and skewered vegetables, has a nice, mellow flavor. You can take what you like and the bill will be calculated afterward.
9. Hinode Seimenjo [Sakaide]
Hinode Seimenjo is a well-established noodle-making restaurant that was established in 1930. Since it is a cafeteria, it’s only open for 1 hour, making it quite a unique restaurant. You can eat udon at a surprisingly cheap price of 100 yen per bowl.
When you order their udon, you'll be given just the noodles. Add the broth and condiments, which you can find on top of your table, to your udon prior to eating it. Even the spring onions need to be cut using scissors! It may sound like a lot, but it also means that you can customize your toppings exactly to your liking.
This large blue sign is their trademark. Their business hours are short, so there is a line even during weekdays, but you can eat if you line up by 12:30 pm.
10. Kamakiri [Kanonji]
The udon that’s served at this restaurant is so cute that you might unconsciously start gushing over it. Contrary to its appearance, however, the flavor is the real deal. The carefully chosen soup stock helps to bring out the mellow flavor of the thick, chewy noodles.
You can also enjoy keema curry udon, salsa udon, and other unique, limited-time flavors. If you get tired of the same old udon flavors while on your udon journey, then you can make a switch with this unique menu!
The inside of this restaurant is so stylish that you wouldn’t think that it was an udon restaurant! From the chopstick holders to the condiment containers, everything at Kamakiri is so cute that you’ll want to take a photo.
Made with just wheat, water, and salt, udon is such a simple dish that it can't be tampered with. The udon restaurants introduced here are particular about their udon-making techniques and ingredients, which are necessary for obtaining profound flavors. If you eat udon in Kagawa Prefecture, then your image of udon just might change for the better!
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.