Much like the wine regions in France, many of the prefectures in Japan have their own type of regional udon, differing in thickness, shape, and preparation. There are three ultra famous udon types in Japan:
1. Inaniwa Udon from northwest Akita: thin, chewy, and smooth. Inaniwa udon take up to four days to make and used to only be eaten by the Imperial family.
2. Sanuki Udon from Kagawa, Shikoku, the smallest island in Japan: square cut, firm, and supple.
3. Kishimen Udon from Nagoya, the fourth largest city in Japan: thin and flat.
There are many more udon types, but perhaps the most well known both in Japan and abroad, thanks to food tourism, is sanuki. Kagawa is said to have the highest udon consumption rate in Japan – they even refer to themselves as the udon prefecture.
As a noodle lover, it just didn’t feel right that Mike and I have never been to Kagawa. So, with empty bellies and open hearts, we boarded the Shinkansen towards the land of broth and udon.
We arrived in Takamatsu, the capital city on the Island of Shikoku. It’s pretty small as cities go and we chose it more as a home base, rather than a city that we really wanted to explore. Nonetheless, that first night we managed to have a disappointing mediocre bowl of udon as well as their city specialty: chicken baked on the bone. Neither were anything to write home about. I was still a bit jet lagged (okay, majorly jet lagged) so we called it an early night so we could go udon trekking bright and early the next day.