What do you know about Somen? And how is it different from Nagashi somen? Well, Somen is a type of thin noodles made from wheat flour. It is not more than 1.3mm of diameter in width. The name is different, depending on the area. In Japan, it is somen. In Korea, it is Somyeon. In China, it is sùmiàn. Somen is different from Hiyamugi which shares the similar form and made from wheat flour. Whereas somen are made thin through stretching the dough, Hiyamugi is made thin by slicing the dough with a knife. After being stretched, the noodles will be air dried and they are ready for consumption.
Somen is the type of dish consumed in hot summer weather. When this kind of thin noodle is served hot (or warm) during winter seasons, it is called Nyumen. In Japan, it comes with Tsuyu or a dipping sauce with light flavours, containing ginger and onion. It is believed to cool you off during the hot summer time.
Somen and Nagashi Somen
So, what’s the difference between somen and Nagashi somen? Somen is the type of noodles while Nagashi somen is the serving method. The term Nagashi somen means the flowing noodles. A bamboo will be cut in a half and then Somen will be placed in it along with ice-cold, clear, and clean water. When the somen passes you, you need to use your chopsticks to pluck the noodles out. After that, you can use Tsuyu for dipping.
Nagashi somen is special because it takes some skills to catch the noodles – you need to be both fast and precise. But then again, it can create a unique and fun way to enjoy your meal – especially if this is your first time enjoying the somen. In some luxurious and exclusive restaurants, they are serving somen in real water streams so you enjoy your meal in the garden. Of course, it is a beautiful and also natural garden with Somen running in the streams.
Where to Enjoy Nagashi Somen?
If you come to Tokyo, there are some areas where you can enjoy this water-stream somen. But there are also some areas around Tokyo with their speciality style serving the somen.
1. Funayado, Tokyo Chofu
This restaurant is only open in summers and it generally happens in a banquet hall. If you want to come here, you need to book first because customers will be admitted based on their reservation only. It is ¥1,600 for adults and ¥900 for kids – and it includes chilled tomatoes and tempura. You have 90 minutes to enjoy your meal – and catch as many flowing noodles as possible. The opening hour is pretty short from 11 AM to 16.30 PM. It is located on Kikunadai 182-0007 2-4-2 in Chofu-shi. This one is easy to reach because it isn’t far from Tokyo. You can take Keio Line and get off at Shibasaki Station. From there, you can walk for 5 minutes and find the restaurant.
2. Chaya Kado, Kanagawa Kitakamakura
The shop operates as a soba store where they serve Nagashi somen only in summers. The price is different, depending on the accompaniment. For instance, only Nagashi somen is ¥1,280 while the one with Tororo is ¥1,380. Nagashi somen with tempura is around ¥1,880 while a complete somen with Tororo and tempura is ¥2,180.
The shop is located in 247–0062 Kanagawa, Kitakamakura with easy access to the bus and train. If you take the train, stop at Kitakamakura Station and continue on foot. It takes you 12 minutes to reach the shop. If you take the bus, get off at the bus stop and walk for around 3 minutes.
3. Chosei Kan, Saitama Nagaoka
If you want to consume the somen while enjoying the beautiful view, come to this place. The signature style of enjoying the somen is that you will do it while soaking in the gorgeous view. It is ¥1,000 and ¥500 for toddlers above 3 years old. You won’t be able to book by phone – you need to go directly to the shop and register. The place is located on 369-1305 Saitama Prefecture, Nagami-Cho 449 Nagami, Chichibu-gun. It is close to Nagaoka Station, and it takes only 5 minutes on foot. Be sure to check their official website before coming to the shop.
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Curious about the unique way of enjoying Somen? Why not planning a trip there for your next holiday? Don’t forget to arrange you’re itinerary and book your flights with Airpaz.