Learn How to Make Udon and Tempura From Scratch With a Hands-On Experience in Hino, Tokyo
Many visitors cite the food as one of their deciding factors when asked why they chose to come to Japan. With all of the incredible flavors and textures that Japanese food is known for, it’s easy to see why! Rather than simply enjoying these culinary experiences while on vacation, Voyagin’s Udon and Tempura Making Experience in Hino City teaches intrepid travelers how to recreate these classic Japanese comfort foods at home. Read on to learn more about this fun and tasty cultural experience!
Jan 16 2020 (Sep 09 2020)
A Quick Introduction to Hino, Tokyo
At just 30 minutes by train from downtown Tokyo, a visit to Hino City makes a perfect day trip to experience some of Japan’s more traditional aspects. As the home of Japan’s last group of samurai, the Shinsengumi, Hino takes a great deal of pride in its rich cultural history. As you explore the city’s traditional Japanese architecture and ancient shrines, it’s easy to get a sense of what life was like in Japan in the past.
Teuchi Udon Dontaku
Visitors taking part in Voyagin’s Udon and Tempura Making activity can experience this traditional culture with all of their senses. At Teuchi Udon Dontaku, an authentic handmade udon shop, guests work side by side with a skilled staff member to create perfectly chewy udon noodles and crunchy tempura from scratch.
What Are Udon Noodles and Tempura?
Unfamiliar with udon noodles? They are thick, chewy noodles made of wheat flour. In Japan, they are considered a classic, up there with ramen noodles and soba noodles. Udon noodles are served both hot and cold, and you can enjoy them cooked in all kinds of ways, including pan fried and boiled. Their thickness and incredible absorbency makes them a great flavor delivery vehicle, so they're often paired with seasonings, sauces, and soups that pack a punch.
Udon and tempura are often seen served together, either side by side on a tray or with the tempura placed on top of the udon noodles. Tempura refers to battered and deep-fried meats, seafood, and vegetables. The batter is incredibly light, giving the dish a fluffy yet crispy texture that beautifully soaks up whatever sauce or broth it is dipped into. Though it is widely considered a quintessential Japanese food, this light and crispy dish was actually brought to Japan by Portuguese merchants in the 16th century.
Udon & Tempura Making Experience
Guests start their culinary experience at Teuchi Udon Dontaku by donning traditional Japanese clothing. After snapping some memorable vacation photos in your new outfit, it’s time to get to work! Beginning with udon, the instructor will demonstrate each step of the process as you follow along. Visitors of all ages will enjoy mixing and kneading the dough by hand and cutting out perfectly sized noodles. In just under 20 minutes, you will have a freshly prepared batch of udon noodles ready to be cooked!
Next, you will learn how to make tempura. As your instructor will demonstrate, the secret to its famed texture is in the whisking. Good tempura batter should have plenty of bubbles to make it fluffy and airy yet crunchy at the same time.
The best part of this roughly two-hour experience comes at the end, when you can sit back and enjoy your homemade udon and tempura. Knowing that you prepared it all from scratch will make for a truly delicious and unforgettable lunch. To truly immerse yourself in the Japanese culinary experience, Teuchi Udon Dontaku also offers sake tasting with your meal. It costs extra, so be sure to ask your host about it on the day of your tour!
Bonus: Walking Tour of Hino City
For an even more in-depth experience, Voyagin also offers an additional walking tour alongside the udon and tempura making activity. This 1.5 hour tour meets at Hino Station with an English-speaking guide and begins with a visit to nearby Hosenji Temple. Built in the early 1300s, this nearly 700-year-old temple offers visitors an incredible glimpse into Japan’s history.
From here, the tour will make its way to a local grocery store to gather the necessary ingredients to make tempura. Those who have never experienced Japanese cooking before may be surprised to find shelf after shelf of unfamiliar ingredients. Thankfully, your guide's explanations will make it much easier to find what you need to recreate these recipes in your own home.
Before making your way back to Teuchi Udon Dontaku, the tour will make one more stop at Hino-shuku Honjin. This beautifully preserved building once served as an inn for Japanese nobility who were traveling through Hino. At one point, it also contained a dojo where the legendary Shinsengumi samurai trained in the art of sword fighting.
Learn How to Make Udon Noodles and Tempura From Scratch!
With the Udon and Tempura Making Experience from Voyagin, you can return home with something far better than your average souvenir. With the recipes you'll learn from Teuchi Udon Dontaku, you'll be ready to amaze your friends and family with your newfound Japanese cooking skills. Book your tour today to take part in this incredible experience!
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.