Sato Yosuke Udon Workshop
Make your own noodles at Japan’s top udon shop!
Inaniwa Town in rural Akita Prefecture may look like any other Japanese countryside town, but it’s the birthplace of Inaniwa udon noodles — one of Japan’s top udon types. Why not try this unique way of experiencing the culture by actually making this Japanese food staple while in the area?
Inaniwa udon is handmade every step of the way and has a much smoother and more chewy texture than ramen or soba (buckwheet) noodles. This dried type of udon is also slightly thinner than your typical udon and has the color of cream. One of the most prestigious restaurants serving authentic Inaniwa udon is Sato Yosuke. At the flagship store in Akita, you can make your own udon noodles at a workshop and observe the manufacturing process that produces these top-quality noodles at the store factory.
Udon making workshop
For ¥1,000, you will get to work with an udon professional and try your hand at stretching, weaving and even hanging udon noodles to dry during an hour-long workshop. The workshop is held mainly in Japanese but with gesture and demonstration, it is not difficult to follow the instructions. Plus, you even get to keep some noodles that you made.
The process of making udon noodles from scratch usually takes at least three days. The workshop at Sato Yosuke however, only covers the second day of procedures and will deliver the noodles to your house shortly after they are ready.
Touring around the udon factory
Besides making your own noodles, you can discover how professional craftsmen knead, twist, press, stretch and select udon noodles. The factory tour is free and takes about 15 minutes. Along the way you will see various udon-making tools and kneaded udon dough for visitors to experience the texture. It is impressive how much care is put into ensuring each udon noodle shares identical thickness and quality.
Don’t leave Sato Yosuke without trying their signature noodles. They have a diverse menu, but most people go for the plain, cold udon set in order to savor the original taste of the noodles. But if you’re down for something new, try their green curry udon! There is also a children’s menu.
Both the factory and restaurant can get quite crowded when the weather is warmer or when children are on holidays. Therefore, if you can, arrange your visit to Sato Yosuke during off season and on weekdays. Otherwise, don’t be surprised if you have to wait two hours to get in the restaurant!