Kagawa prefecture products

Sanuki Udon Noodles

Sanuki udon photo

Kagawa Prefecture is synonymous with “Sanuki Udon noodles”. There are so many ways to eat them, but firm, chewy noodles always play the leading role.
One of the appeals of Sanuki Udon noodles is the variety of ways they can be served. Savor the flavor of the noodles themselves with <i>kijoyu udon</i> (udon noodles served with soy sauce), or enjoy the smooth, mild flavor of <i>kamatama udon</i> (udon noodles topped with a raw egg).
With over 600 udon noodles shops engaged in fierce competition, we invite you to fully enjoy the ever-evolving taste of Sanuki Udon noodles.

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  • Kagawa Prefecture and Udon Noodles

    It can be said that Kagawa Prefecture is synonymous with Sanuki Udon noodles. Sanuki Udon noodles, which have been long loved by local residents, have enjoyed numerous booms in popularity, and “udon tours” bringing people from all over the country to Kagawa have become well established. Rows of tourists lined up to eat udon during the holidays has become a characteristic scene of Kagawa. One reason why udon noodles have become so rooted in the local culture could be that Kagawa’s climate and soil are suited to wheat cultivation. Salt and soy sauce production has also flourished in the region since long ago, and Kagawa is one of the top producers of iriko dried sardines, which are used to make <i>dashi</i> (broth) for udon noodles. The fact that there are over 600 udon noodle shops in the prefecture shows the close link between udon noodles and the daily lives of Kagawa’s residents. Also, whether they’re boiled, fresh or dried, Kagawa is the number one producer of udon noodles in Japan. Kagawa’s residents are also the top consumers of udon noodles in Japan, placing far ahead of the competition.

  • “Land of Udon” The History of Kagawa

    Although there are various theories regarding the history of udon noodles, there is little that can be known for certain. It is said that udon was first introduced to Kagawa when Chisen Daitoku learned of “udon’s ancestor” from his uncle and teacher, the Buddhist monk, Kobo Daishi (Kukai). Chisen Daitoku served udon to his parents in his hometown of Ryonancho Takinomiya in Kagawa, but at that time, udon was more similar to dangojiru (flour dumplings in soup) than the noodles we know today. Udon noodle shops were spotted in screen paintings from the early Edo period (1603-1867), leading people to believe that sale of udon noodles began around that time.
    In Kagawa, it has become customary to make udon noodles on sacred holidays, such as New Year’s, during festivals, or when entertaining guests.
    Small udon noodle factories developed during the Showa period (1926-1945), and eventually chairs were arranged to seat customers. From there, the number of udon noodle shops steadily increased.
    Around 1960, the name “Sanuki Udon noodles” became commonly used. During the 80s and 90s, Kagawa Prefecture began to be known as the “Land of Udon” throughout Japan.

  • Secret to Sanuki Udon’s Chewy Texture

    essential to a bowl of Sanuki Udon. The secret to achieving this texture lies in how udon noodles are made. In the Sanuki region, the ratio of water to salt used to make udon noodles is called dosan kanroku jogo hai. Traditionally, the ratio of water to salt is 3:1 in the summer, 6:1 in the winter, and 5:1 in the spring and fall. Salt is dissolved into water at the correct ratio, and then mixed into flour to create the dough for udon noodles. This technique continues to be practiced even today; udon manufacturers pay attention to the slightest differences in temperature, humidity and weather, utilizing their sense as craftspeople to create udon noodles. In addition to being strict about salt content, there is also the traditional ashifumi technique, which involves wrapping the handcrafted dough in a reed mat and stepping on it. This technique is the secret to producing the firm, chewy texture said to be essential to Sanuki Udon noodles.

  • Noodles Play the Leading Role in a Bowl of Sanuki Udon

    In Kagawa, the broth eaten with udon noodles is always called dashi. For example, there is kakedashi (mildly flavored broth generously poured over noodles), bukkakedashi (strongly flavored broth lightly poured over noodles), tsukedashi (concentrated broth used for dipping noodles), and so on. The noodles, however, definitely play the leading role. The real pleasure of Sanuki Udon is savoring the unique taste of the noodles offered at different shops, while dashi is thought of as an accompaniment. Many different ways of eating Sanuki Udon noodles have developed from this concept. For example, there’s kijoyu udon (noodles flavored only with soy sauce), or kamatama udon (boiled noodles topped with an egg and soy sauce). In Kagawa, there are many ways to eat kake udon (noodles topped with broth). For example, cold noodles eaten with hot broth, called hiya-atsu, allows you to enjoy the subtle flavor of the noodles. There is also atsu-atsu (hot noodles with hot broth), atsu-hiya (hot noodles with cold broth), and hiya-hiya (cold noodles with cold broth).

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A comedian who lives in Kagawa, “Tsuyoshi Kaji” reports on local products

Watch the video "The 27th New Year Udon"

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