Kawadoko river dining is another simple yet effective old-fashioned method of keeping cool. Somen are very thin, white noodles made from wheat flour usually served cold and accompanied by tsuyu or a dipping sauce made from soysauce and dashi. Nagashi somen as a way of dining originated in the southern town of Takachiho in 1959 at a restaurant called House of Chiho. This unique, spectacular dining experience is called nagashi somen, or flowing noodles, and is a popular summer treat all across Japan. Nagashi Somen or “flowing noodles” is a traditional treat to cope with Japan’s sultry summers. Nagashi Somen in Tokyo. As the air temperature right above a river is naturally lower, and it’s breezier, it was a stroke of pragmatic genius to try to put people there. Tosenkyo Somen Nagashi is particularly busy in August, so make sure to book in advance to avoid the lines. Open: Nagashi Somen is May–Sept, every day from 11am–4pm (except if raining). Copyright © Japan National Tourism Organization. The Jizo Statue: Japan’s most helpful Buddhist icon, Gearing Up at the Final Fantasy XIV-Themed Eorzea Cafe in Akihabara, Perfect Egg Sandwiches at Smart Coffee in Kyoto, Stunning Izakaya Food at Fuwari in Kanazawa. In a tradition that continues today and that has spread throughout Japan, staff fill long chutes of halved bamboo trunks with cold running water. The winding main street features a row of ryokan (traditional guesthouses) and restaurants on one side with the shady river on the other. Nagashi somen is one of Kagoshima's most famous summer snacks, and Ibusuki is particularly well known for this delicious dish. Fish swimming in the clear pond and the small shrine on site offer a great visual backdrop. Tosenkyo Somen Nagashi can be easily reached from Ibusuki Onsen and the Chiran area. Wondering how to cool off in Japan’s humid summer? I only had a moment to enjoy (and photograph) my adorable place setting and the stunning view, before the noodles started flowing. After paying, I took my English instructions and reservation number/fan downstairs to the waiting area. It’s also worth noting that you may be sitting for some time on a hard wooden floor with only tatami for cushioning. There, perched just above the river’s surface, is a popular kawadoko (river dining) restaurant named Hirobun where you can beat the city heat and dine in style. As I descended, the river grew louder and the temperature dropped. In 2016 the residents of Gose, in Nara, set a world record for the longest nagashi somen slide, building a working noodle chute that was 3, 317 meters long! Logan and I first tried nagashi somen at a restaurant called Hirobun. Somen are a type of very thin wheat noodle, usually less than 1.3mm in diameter. One summer, the staff at the restaurant dreamed up the idea as a way to incorporate the area’s well known fresh, spring water into a novel way of serving a basic dish to customers. To start with, diners sit alongside a gently sloped bamboo waterslide. Those looking to escape the heat need only make their way down to the river’s edge. The group of three friends to my right shared the next track, receiving three bundles of noodles for every one of mine. Tosen Gorge can be reached by bus in 55 minutes or car in 25 minutes from Ibusuki Station. Heat, culture, chaos: the real Gion Matsuri. Combining fresh, cool water with delicious hand-pulled noodles, nagashi somen will surely continue to endure as a fun summer treat for generations to come. Looking for an Overnight Trip from Tokyo? Before long, the staff called out my number, ‘Ni-juu-baaan! Ride the bus for 20 minutes, departing at Kibuneguchi bus stop. Well, sort of; I gave the signal to my neighbours to help themselves to any I missed, which they happily did. In the waiting area, you’ll need to remove your shoes, so make sure you have socks. Nagashi somen has become so popular that appliances to facilitate the flowing water can be purchased for home use. As I was dining solo, I had a track all to myself. Explore Tokyo’s Underground Temple in the Ryu-Q Kan Sewer Tour, Bib Gourmand Zen Buddhist Vegetarian Cuisine: Shigetsu in Arashiyama. Check the website closer to your visit. For this reason, it is a little more laid back than other spots. We use location data to provide you with accurate tourism info. The staff ushered me to the first waiting area where I could begin to enjoy the breezy benefits of kawadoko dining. To my sides, the deep, mossy embankment provided a natural refrigeration and the river’s white noise brought a kind of zen calm over the group. Name: HirobunWhere: 87 Kuramakibunecho, Sakyo Ward, KyotoOpen: Nagashi Somen is May–Sept, every day from 11am–4pm (except if raining). Delicious grilled trout and slightly more unusual carp are also on the menu and go very well with the chilled noodles. Diners seated (or standing) along the length of bamboo chutes wait with rapt attention, quickly grabbing the bundles of noodles as they go by.

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