Mizusawa Udon

水沢うどん 水沢うどん4人前

Blessed with well-drained farmland and plentiful year-round sun, Gunma Prefecture has long been a center of wheat production in Japan. One of the nation’s major producers, Gunma Prefecture has a so-called “grain culture” that incorporates wheat into various local delicacies, including thick udon wheat noodles, baked manju stuffed buns, and more recently, pasta and yakisoba (fried soba noodles).

During the Edo Period (1603-1868), hand-cut udon was consumed throughout the prefecture, and each region developed its own unique variation. One of these was Mizusawa udon, which is praised as one of Japan’s three top varieties of udon, alongside Akita Prefecture’s Inaniwa udon and Kagawa Prefecture’s Sanuki udon.

Mizusawa udon‘s origin can be traced back about 400 years, when hand-cut udon was given to visitors of Mizusawa Temple in Gunma’s Shibukawa City. Since the temple was located only about three kilometers from Ikaho Onsen, a hot spring district popular since the eighth century, Mizusawa udon developed with a major tourist trade in mind as well.

Today, there are 13 Mizusawa udon shops in the Mizusawa Temple area. The noodles are made using only spring water from Mount Haruna. The dough, composed of wheat and salt, is then kneaded over two days using a secret technique. The Mizusawa Udon Trademark-Designated Store Association protects the Mizusawa brand by recognizing only noodles that adhere to this traditional methodology.

Mizusawa udon noodles are characterized by their slight thickness, smoothness, firmness, and almost translucent white color. These unique noodle goes well with a variety of soup flavors, so visitors enjoy comparing the unique taste at each shop. 

Blessed with rich local water and boasting a long history, Mizusawa udon is definitely worth a taste!

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