Out walking by the Kamo river one day, we encountered a happy bowl-headed mascot (pictured below) hopping about on Shijo Bridge. We took the obligatory 360 degree picture together and received in return two drinks coupons for the Udon Museum. What more of an incentive do you need to explore the magical world of thick Japanese wheat flour noodles? Our curiosity piqued, we duly paid a visit.
The first thing you need to understand about Kyoto’s Udon Museum is that its claim to be a museum is somewhat tenuous. They do have a display room along one wall of which you can see the differing sizes, shapes and colors of udon noodles from across the Japanese archipelago. In one corner there is a brief history of its origins too (but frankly you can learn more from Wikipedia).
They also have a museum shop, with many varieties of udon on sale at reasonable prices and a couple of books, one for grown-ups and one for kids about noodle culture around the world. I was, I admit, a bit tempted by the latter. There is also this udon map of Japan with every region marked with its own special bowl of udon. Who knew there was so much variety in these humble wheat flour noodles?
If you want to learn about udon though, the best way is to taste it, and where the Udon Museum comes into its own, is as a restaurant. They have an enormous range to try from 27 different prefectures across Japan. Mewby ordered Kashiwa Udon (with chicken) from Fukuoka Prefecture and she enthused happily about the taste while eating it and for a long time after.As for me, I wanted to try something novel so I went for these thick Okkirikomi noodles from Gunma. As you can see they come with lots of healthy veggies.
So to be clear, if you are looking for a day out at the museum then this may not be the place for you. But if you want to try some unfamiliar noodle varieties then the Udon Museum will make you very happy indeed.
The prices range around 600 or 700 yen for a small bowl… 900-1000 yen for a large and an extra 380 for a bowl of rice.
The Udon Museum is located on the east side of Yamatooji Street a short walk north of Shijo – in the heart of Gion! Here is a map: MAP.
Opening hours are 11:00 – 22:00.
For more details check the site: http://udon.mu/