Translated by Lester Somera
[Kagawa] Sample The True Taste Of Sanuki Udon At Wara-ya
Written by Ai Yoneda
Kagawa is best known for udon noodles! It has a vast number of udon restaurants, but today we'll introduce you to one of the best: Zaigo Udon Wara-ya.
The most well-known product from Kagawa Prefecture 香川県 is definitely udon noodles! With the most udon restaurants per 100,000 people in all of Japan (according to a 2014 survey), Kagawa can definitely be called the nation’s number one udon prefecture. “Sanuki udon” got its moniker from Kagawa’s former name, and their noodles are known for their firmness and springiness.
Kagawa boats many udon restaurants, but today we will introduce you to one in particular: Zaigo Udon Wara-ya, where you can eat hearty udon from a tub.
Wara-ya is located in Takamatsu City 高松市 in Kagawa. This quiet restaurant is found a short distance up a mountain, a five-minute walk from Yashima Station on the Kotohira Dentetsu Line. The proprietor, whose wish is “for customers to be able to eat genuine sanuki udon while experiencing the elegance of Japan,” dismantled an Edo era kominka (古民家), a traditional Japanese building, from Tokushima then relocated and reconstructed the building in Kagawa. Its grass-thatched roof, made with the kayabuki (※1) techniques, truly give visitors the vibe of ancient Japan.
※1…Kayabuki (茅葺き) is a way to fashion pampas grass into roofs for buildings, without using a single nail.
The storefront features a waterwheel in the garden, constructed entirely of wood, with no metal parts. The sound of splashing water echoes beautifully around the quiet mountain surroundings.
This is the spacious restaurant interior. The tables and chairs are all made from wood, and you feel the characteristic warmth of the traditional Japanese house.
If you look up at the ceiling, you can get a good look at the kayabuki roof’s interior.
There is also a traditional Japanese tatami room in the back of the shop, where you have to remove your shoes to enter. The hanging scrolls and vase make it feel as though you’re stepping into a completely separate house.
This is the udon noodles you’ve been impatiently waiting for! The photo shows the family udon, meant for four or five people (2,370 yen). The menu also has udon tubs for one person.
When talking about udon, most people think of the noodles being served with hot soup and various other ingredients, but at Wara-ya, kama-age (※2) udon is the main dish offered.
※2…Kama-age refers to udon served in a dish along with the water in which the noodles were boiled.
The dipping soup is contained in a narrow-necked bottle, and you pour it from this bottle. It is quite hot, so grip the orange rope and tip the bottle to pour.
You can add as much green onion and ginger as you like. At Zaigo Udon Wara-ya, you are meant to grate the ginger yourself, using the grater provided. Freshly-grated ginger smells amazing, so if you’ve never tried it, by all means sample it for yourself.
Once you’re ready, dip the noodles in the soup and dig in!
The noodles are springy, and the rich aroma of bonito wafts from the savory soup. The additional kick from the condiments refreshes the palate, and you’ll keep eating steadily.
If you want to sample Kagawa’s famous udon, how about stopping by Wara-ya?
Zaigo Udon Wara-ya
Address: Kagawa-ken, Takamatsu-shi, Yashima, Nakamachi 91
(Dec-Feb) 10:00 - 18:30
(Mar-Nov) 10:00 - 19:00
(Weekends, holidays and the New Year) 9:00 - 19:00
Fixed holidays: None
Credit cards accepted: No
Foreign language support: No
Foreign language menus: No
Access and closest station: Five minutes’ walk from Kotoden Yashima Station (琴電屋島駅) on the Kotohira Dentetsu Shido Line (琴平電鉄志度線)
Price range: 999 yen -
Official website: Wara-ya (Japanese only)