Quick, Reasonable and Tasty are the keywords for authentic Sanuki Udon!
Sanuki（讃岐）is the old name of Kagawa Prefecture, and Kagawa prefecture is very famous for Sanuki Udon in Japan.
Sanuki udon is the soul food for the people in “Sanuki”.
It’s like beer for germans, fish and chips for brits, humus for Israelis and curry for Indians!
For example, Kagawa prefecture has the highest number of udon restaurants per capita in Japan out of 47 prefectures.
There is even lots of “Udon Tourists” coming from different cities like Osaka, Kobe by car and sometimes as far as Tokyo just to try different kinds of Sanuki Udon.
When you are in Kagawa or Takamatsu, you have to try Sanuki udon because this is our speciality and must-have food in our everyday’s life.
Therefore, below I’m going to introduce 5 must-try Sanuki udon restaurants in Takamatsu below;
they are all accessible within 20 mins by walk or 10 mins by bus from Takamatsu Station.
So let’s dive in!
Located right at the Takamatsu station,
it’s the go-to restaurant for those who are from Takamatsu but live somewhere else now.
When you come back to Takamatsu Station and get off the train, the first thing you do is head to “Renrakusen”, the stand-up udon restaurant and enjoy a bowl of Sanuki udon.
On the inside, there are no seats, but the inside there are seats.
This is Kakiage(mixed vegetable & seafood tempura) udon with grated daikon(white radish) , chopped spring onions and a drizzle of lemon to give an accent and refreshing feel to it.
This is “Ebi Ten Bukkake Udon”, it comes with a shrimp tempura, chopped spring onion and grated radish on top of silky sanuki udon and thick bukkake soup.
To cut the corner of placing & taking an order, this restaurant has a ticket machine to order, so choose whatever you like to eat!
How to get there :
The restaurant is located inside Takamatsu Station but there is also an entrance from the outside. So there’s no need to buy a ticket and go inside the station.
Opening Hours: 7:00 am – 9:00 pm
“Ippuku” Machinaka Ten（一福 まちなか店）
The chef＆owner of “Ippuku: used to be a primary school teacher before opening the restaurant.
But he fell in love with Sanuki udon as he visited many fantastic Sanuki udon restaurants.
Then he started his apprenticeship/training at a legendary udon restaurant called “Nakamura Udon” in Marugame city and honed his skills to make an authentic sanuki udon for two and half years.
The owner opened his first restaurant in 2011.
Now he owns 2 udon restaurants in Takamatsu, one in Tokyo and also one in Osaka after 7 years of his udon journey as of 2018.
The characteristic of “Ippuku” is that they make thin, chewy and elastic udon, which goes perfect with light & clear taste of dashi soup.
It’s “Zaru” Udon: Zaru means bamboo matt that udon noodle lie on.
I took squid legs tempura (Geso Ten) and burdock root tempura(ゴボウ天) for toppings.
Add toppings the way you like, I love chopped spring onions.
Dip udon noodle in the soup and then eat!
There is a topping section at the end of the checkout counter. Lemon slices, wakame seaweed, chopped spring onions, grated ginger, grated radish and deep fried flour(tenkasu（天かす）)
Take whatever you like for topping but common sense is required.
How to get there :
The restaurant is located nearly in the middle of an arcade called “Marugamemachi sohutengai” or 丸亀町商店街 in Japanese.
If you walk to Ippuku from Takamatsu station, it would take 10-15 minutes and you will find many shops along the way in the arcade. It would be also a great opportunity to hunt for souvenirs for your family or friends while getting to “Ippuku”
Opening Hours: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Matsushita Seimen sho（松下製麺所）
Seimensho in Japanese means “noodle making factory/shop”
So this factory/shop is basically there to make noodles for restaurants or supermarkets. However, you can also eat at this noodle making factory.
Not only do they make noodle for udon restaurants but also noodle for Ramen restaurants too.
So if you like, you can order udon noodle and ramen noodle… then mix them together in a bowl… add some toppings and make your own bowl of noodles.
How to get there :
It’s about a 10 minutes walk from Ritsurin Garden. So you come here first and eat as much as you want.
Udon noodle is made of wheat, so it’s basically bunch of carbs in udon. You can walk to Ritsurin garden to burn carbs. It’s a perfect exercise and distance to walk.
Opening Hours: 7:30 am – 5:30 pm or while noodle lasts – closed on Sunday. You are advised to go early before noodle stock runs out for the day!
This nationally popular self-service sanuki udon restaurant opened in 1968 and it’s been attracting udon lovers for half a century!
As you can see in the image above, you might have to wait in line for quite a long time to get in depending on what time you go there,
Your wait will be worth it once you put the udon into your mouth.
In the bowl above is hanjuku tamago (deep fried soft boiled egg), chikuwa no tenpura (deep fried fish paste) and a slice of lemon…
You can also add free toppings like chopped spring onion, grated radish and tenkasu(deep-fried flour).
What’s different from other udon restaurants is that they deep-fry your tempura the moment you order, so you always get super fresh tempura!
It’s always like this with Tempura: “The fresher tempura is, the more delicious it is!”
The order system might be very tricky if you haven’t been at Sanuki udon self-service restaurant, even for Japanese from different cities like me in the past.
I’d recommend you to ask the staff how to order, it’s a great way of interacting with locals to enjoy your travel in a different country.
How to get there :
It’s located between Ritsurin Garden and Takamatsu Station. You can rent a bike at Takamatsu Station and it takes about 10-15 minutes by bike. Or you can walk from either Ritsurin Park or Takamatsu Station to Chikusei（竹青） restaurant within 20 minutes.
Opening Hours: 11:00 am – 2:30 pm – closed on Monday.
Lastly, “Uehara Udon” is on the other side of Ritsurin Park. If you go to Ritsurin park, you can also pop into this restaurant!
A variety of tempuras and they are usually so reasonable – around 100 yen per tempura to go with Udon.
Kake Udon – it’s the most popular udon for locals because it’s cheap, fast and tasty.
Kake udon consists of plain udon noodle and clear iriko (dried sardines) dashi soup.
How to get there:
Located only 5 mins from Ritsurin Park, it’s a perfect place to come and enjoy another self service udon restaurant after you enjoyed Ritsurin park.
Opening Hours: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm – closed on Sunday.
Udon would never break the bank.
As I said at the beginning, Udon is very very reasonable.
It wouldn’t go over 1000 yen even if you order a large portion of udon and add 2-3 extra toppings.
If you are in Kagawa or Takamatsu, I’d love to recommend you to try Sanuki Udon even if it’s not one of the 5 must-try restaurants because you will see the huge – positive difference between Sanuki udon and other non-sanuki udon you have somewhere else in Japan or outside Japan.
Sanuki Udon for your family at home?
Most of the restaurants sell their udon for souvenirs, so you can buy sanuki udon for souvenirs, take them back home and cook in your home for your family or friends.
Do you want to know about something in Takamatsu,Shikoku and Setouchi but you can’t find right information?
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