A side trip for Udon!
Shibukawa Travel Blog› entry 4 of 15 › view all entries
I saw a Japanese movie about a town that boomed due to the udon crazed. So when planning for our onsen weekend, my friend, Mami suggested to visit Ikaho Onsen as one of the towns we should check out for their hot springs... One of the attractions? It is only 15 minutes away from the town of Mizusawa in Shibukawa City, Kitagunama District - a town well-known for their udon street and one of the top three best udon in Japan! ... And I was hooked! An street of just udon restaurants? Awesome!
....... And yeah. I am such a foodie!
After checking in, we were hungry. It was past 1pm and we have been itching to check out this udon street we've heard and read about.
The hotel called a taxi for us since we missed the bus that goes there - taxi ride: $25. Not bad. Taxis are really expensive in Japan so $25 really isn't that bad.
We were dropped off at the very beginning of the udon street, as per the driver. But we only saw one restaurant! He said, we have to walk up the street to see more. Skeptical but curious, we walked to the direction he pointed.
Because it was a Sunday and after the lunch crowd, the area was pretty quiet. We chose the restaurant, Osawaya, my friend read about and off we go. In a street lined with udon restaurants, Osawaya stands out!
The restaurant itself is massive! The front area is a large parking lot. From there, we entered through the spacious lobby that it felt like a museum.. They have a mini shop area to buy their udon and other products there. But before entering, we removed our shoes and place them at the shoe cabinest lined on the side of the wall on the main lobby/entrance.
The restaurant separates into two wings: the traditional seating and the western seating. The traditional seating area is a dining room where the tables are low and you seat on a heated floor with cushions. The western seating dining room consists of the usual tables and chairs. My friends and I chose the traditional seating area. We like the traditional style best!
We were guided to our table - sat down on the floor with the cushions and looked at the menu. The lunch crowd was gone so the area was only half full. There were groups of families several tables away. Our table was a long table and on the far end, a group of 4 people just received their order. We found ourselves looking at what they order to determine what we should get. They recommended their popular udon dishes. So hald of us ordered a similar styles.
Niji and I ordered a set: udon in a hot broth and dipping sauce with the specialty mushrooms in the area - maitake - in tempura style. It was delicious! Meanwhile, Mami and Hanano ordered the cold udon served in a basket, with a dipping sauce on the side. I've never had udon served that way but it tatsted great as well! Although I like the maitake tempura, I loved it in the udon soup we had in Kusatsu. Each set meal with tea was no more than 1,200yen (~$12). The service was prompt and accomodating with our questions regarding udon (thank goodness for my Japanese friends who translated) and the restaurant itself is gorgeous and empeccably clean!
Satisfied and eager to go an onsen, we left the udon street via taxi and returned to Ikaho.