Fujiyoshida City, Yamanashi: The best place to enjoy both Mt. Fuji and udon!
Looking to enjoy beautiful scenery and delicious food all in one place? Head to Fujiyoshida City in Yamanashi Prefecture! Only a 2-hour train ride from Shinjuku, you can take in the breathtaking, close-up view of Mt. Fuji, explore Sengen Shrine, and eat your fill of tasty Yoshida Udon. Yoshida Udon, selected as one of the top 100 regional cuisines by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, is a local specialty served at over 60 udon shops in and around Fujiyoshida City alone! It’s certainly unique, but it's loved by locals and visitors alike!
【Characteristics of Yoshida Udon】
Yoshida Udon is made with water from Mt. Fuji. The noodles’ most distinctive characteristic is their firm but springy texture, which releases flavour little by little as you chew. As for the ingredients, a miso and shoyu soup base with boiled cabbage and salty-sweet horsemeat is typical. A regular-sized bowl at most shops will cost you less than 500 yen. We urge you to try the Niku Udon, the one made with horsemeat, if you get the chance!
Help yourself to a variety of free toppings! (See above photo) The crunchy bits of tempura and suridane, a ground mixture of spices, including sesame seeds, pepper, chili pepper, and Chinese chili oil, are popular choices.
Address:1936-6 Araya, Fujiyoshida City, Yamanashi
Business hours:10:00-17:00(10:00-18:00 from July-Sept.)
Closed:Open every day
【The Roots of Yoshida Udon】
In the 1930s, Fujiyoshida City prospered on the silk industry. It became custom for the men to make udon for lunch for the women who worked in the spinning rooms, to keep productivity levels high, and for the women who dealt with the silk, so their hands would stay smooth and not damage the fabric. This was the birth of Yoshida Udon.
The men kneaded the dough with all their might and added salt to give the women stamina; their method resulted in firm, springy, thick noodles. To this day, udon is still usually made by men, and their largest customer base is local salarymen. Most have a favourite shop they patronize for lunch almost daily!
Photo of Miura Udon
Left: Regular Wakame Udon (350 yen) Right: Large Niku Udon (650 yen)
Address:1-22-5 Shimoyoshida, Fujiyoshida City, Yamanashi
Closed:Wednesday (Open if it falls on a holiday)
Chilled udon is another option, but for first timers we suggest sticking with the hot variety as the firm noodles, which become even firmer when cold, take some getting used to. Make sure you come early, however, as most shops are only open for lunch, closing when they run out of noodles. They're generally open for about 2 hours.
Photo: Interior of Kitchen Kurau
While their menu focuses on udon, they offer other meal sets as well. You can order udon even at night when the shop reopens as an izakaya.
Address:5-21-5 Shimoyoshida, Fujiyoshida City, Yamanashi
Business hours:11:00-14:00, 18:00-23:00 (Izakaya hours)
Closed:Tuesday (Open if it falls on a holiday)
Keep your eyes peeled! Many of these udon shops operate out of a section of the owner's house, and many do not have signs outside. Your best bet is to do some research beforehand or ask the locals!
This site was created by local high school students. Although only in Japanese, you can find a great deal of photos, as well as detailed maps.