Photo By: Cara Lam
Region
Tohoku
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Akita
Population
1,189,215

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.

Photo by: Cara Lam In the udon-making process.

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.

Photo by: Cara Lam Drying the long udon.

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.

Photo by: Cara Lam Caption: You’ll first have to register at the main building before moving on to the factory.

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!

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Things To Know

Reservation

A reservation is needed for the udon-making workshop; please call at 0183-43-2911 or email ys@sato-yoske.co.jp.

Hours and fees

Be mindful that in addition to the ¥1,000 workshop fees, you will also need to pay for the shipping fees (ranging from ¥750 to ¥1,720 depending on your domestic location).  The factory is usually open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for visitors to observe. The souvenir shop is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you want to dine at Sato Yosuke, the restaurant is generally open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The flagship store opens every day except New Year holidays from end of December to beginning of January.

How To Get There

Address

Inaniwa-73 Inaniwachō, Yuzawa-shi, Akita-ken 012-0107, Japan

By train

Sato Yosuke has stores all over Japan, but the flagship store is located among rice paddies in rural Akita so a car is definitely needed.

By car: Once you get off at the Higashine exit on the Tohoku Chuo Expressway, follow signs for national route 287, then 13. Exit route 13 at Sukawa exit toward national route 51. After about 6 kilometers, merge with route 307 for 8 kilometers and you’ll arrive at the flagship store.  

By taxi: The flagship store is a 20-minute ride from JR Yuzawa Station. The 14-kilometer ride costs about ¥5,300.

Where To Stay

Akita_Kamihata-onsen_Sawarabi
  • Yokote-Shi, Akita 019-0705
  • 6.3/10
  • 5.9 km
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Yuzawa Royal hotel
  • Tamachi 2-2-38 Yuzawa-Shi, Akita 012-0844
  • 7/10
  • 9.9 km
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Yuzawa Grand Hotel
  • Zaimokucho 1-1-1 Yuzawa-Shi, Akita 012-0845
  • 7.3/10
  • 10.1 km
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Hostel&Bar CAMOSIBA
  • Akebonochō Jūmonjimachi 7 Yokote-Shi, Akita 019-0525
  • 8.4/10
  • 13.7 km
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