The Japanese flowing noodle in summer - Nagashi Somen - Waku Waku

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The Japanese flowing noodle in summer - Nagashi Somen

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The Japanese flowing noodle in summer - Nagashi Somen

Have you tried summer traditional cuisine in Japan? Somen(thin wheat noodle) flows down a bamboo chute, and you need to focus to fish!

Le Honganhh

Le Honganhh

Published on 08 May, 12:00

Nagashi Somen is the way of eating somen where customers have to use chopsticks to grab the noodles flowing along the stream in the bamboo trough. They have to be quick and catch the noodles, if any part got slipped, they won't be reused.

The last bundle of colored noodles marks the end of the round, then customers put down their chopsticks and enjoy mochi for dessert.
Bamboo tubes used to put somen in
Bamboo tubes used to put somen in
As a courtesy, noodles will flow to each table in order, whose turn they grab, to avoid the situation when people sitting at the start of the trough take all and ones sitting behind get none.

Its feature is cold noodles, the clear water keeps the noodles cool all the time, making it exciting when eating. The ingredients are very simple, including somen noodles and tsuyu sauce (with spring onion, ginger or myoga).

Though it may seem like no fuss, the process of making the perfect somen strands is rather complex. That's why this dish has its unique flavor that you can't find in any other noodle dishes!

Noodles with sauce, wasabi and mochi for dessert.
Noodles with sauce, wasabi and mochi for dessert.

After you have caught the noodles from the bamboo trough, dip them in the sauce, slurp in and enjoy them. The flavor of the fresh cold noodles blended with the subtle broth makes it so refreshing!

Eating and enjoying the view
Eating and enjoying the view

When searching for the origin of Nagashi Somen, a Japanese friend told me that nobody knew where and when this dish was invented, yet there were many stories about it.

The most popular was the one about a restaurant owner named Chiho no le lived in the town of Takachiho on Kyushu island, who thought of the idea of dropping the noodles into bamboo troughs and selling them to passers-by.

Coming to Kyoto on a summer day, I decide that I have to try this special noodle dish. After great efforts in asking around as well as searching the internet, I finally found a very famous local restaurant.

Hirobun (ひろ文) could be considered as the only restaurant that served Nagashi Somen in Kyoto. Located by a winding river, very close to the main gate of Kifune Shrine, the restaurant was quite easy to find and is a must-visit when coming to Kyoto.

Inside Hirobun Restaurant
Inside Hirobun Restaurant
You should come early because the restaurant is quite packed and you will have to wait. After lining up and making payment, I was given a number printed on uchiwa fan (a round-shaped fan) and instructed on how to eat the noodles. Each round only had about 10 people being served!

I went looking around while waiting, the place attracted customers not only for the food but also the charming landscape. Customers would eat and watch the view of the mountains and lively waterfalls, making them feel close to nature.

Eating area opposite the waterfall
Eating area opposite the waterfall

As this was my first time, I was quite clumsy in grabbing the noodles, but that was a funny experience for me. I even had to block the stream with my chopsticks and just wait for the bundle to come because I didn't want to waste just one bit. Whenever there was a miss, laughter filled the place which makes the meal so delightful.

When I started to feel full is when the red noodle bundle flowed in front of me, I quickly caught it and put into my bowl, knowing this was the last bit and the meal was about to finish.

Have the chopstick ready in the stream is a good way so that the noodles don't go away
Have the chopstick ready in the stream is a good way so that the noodles don't go away
Colored noodles give sign to the finish of the round
Colored noodles give sign to the finish of the round

Personally, not only did I like the flavor of the noodles but also the matcha mochi, with squishy texture, mildly but not too sweet. Each piece was covered with smooth and fragrance matcha powder, just looking at it made you drool.

Soft, subtle strands of noodles and sauce full of ginger fragrance is a great combination to lure away the heat of summer.

It is undeniable that the view of the beautiful waterfall at the restaurant made people feel that this wasn't just simply eating but enjoying the combination of food and art, a memorable experience for each customer coming here!

The Japanese flowing noodle in summer - Nagashi Somen
  • Address: 87 Kibune-cho, Kurama, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
  • Opening time: From 11 AM to 4 PM
  • Price: ~ ¥1,300/pax
  • How to get here: Catch a bus from Kubuneguchi Station, Eizan Line

Make sure to come and try the unique Nagashi Somen at Hirobun Restaurant at least once when visiting Kyoto! This experience will definitely make your summer more special and memorable!

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Le Honganhh

Le Honganhh

"You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching, love like you’ll never be hurt, sing like there’s nobody listening, and live like it’s heaven on earth."

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