Updated: July 04, 2019
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Nagashi Somen | How to eat it and its history

Eating a meal of nagashi somen requires a dextrous hand with chopsticks. Otherwise, your dinner could flow right past you!

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What's nagashi somen

In the town of Takachiho in southern Japan, in 1959, the 'House of Chiho' restaurant came up with the idea of nagashi (flowing) somen in order to capitalize on the pure, local spring water. In a tradition that continues today and that has spread throughout Japan, staff fill long chutes of halved bamboo trunks with cold running water. Once they yell, “Ikuyo!” or “It’s coming!” they add strings of cooked noodles for diners downstream to snatch out of the current. At most establishments, a basket at the end of the waterworks catches the slippery noodles, and the staff retrieves them for customers. But at the well-known Hirobun restaurant in Kyoto, what you catch is what you get, until red-dyed somen float through and signals the end of the meal.

How to eat it

Before you start your meal, the staff will explain how to eat nagashi somen and how long you'll have to wait. Noodles flow in a long bamboo trunk cut in half with very cold and clear water running through it. Customers need to catch and pick the noodles with chopsticks and dip the noodles in a soy sauce broth. Sometime you won't be able to catch any somen. But don’t worry because there is always some more coming. When the pink noodles slide by, it means that the fun session has come to an end.

How to make your own nagashi somen


DIY Japanese Bamboo Noodle Flume | Nagashi Somen

Find some bamboo and cut them in half, and start mounting your noodle water slide!
It can be very laborious, but hey, it's also a super fun summer activity!


-Somen Noodles
-Soup Base called 'Mentsuyu'
2 Parts Soy Sauce
2 Part MIrin
1 Part Sake
Dried Seaweed (Kombu)
Dried Bonito Flakes (Katsuobushi)
Green Onion
Thai Basil
Nanami Togarashi
Nagashi somen is a fun activity often done with family and friends during the summertime in Japan. Now the best part is that you actually have to try and catch the flowing somen with your own chopsticks where your skills will definitely be put to the test!

Where to eat nagashi somen in the Kanto area of Japan


Funayado / Tokyo

Where to eat nagashi somen in the Kansai area of Japan


Hirobun / Kyodo

Fun for everyone

For young and old, it can be really exciting to catch the noodles! Sometimes when noodles are missed, a shriek of excitement and laughter can be heard. Undeniably, cool nagashi somen is especially refreshing when enjoyed in the heat of the summer. Give nagashi somen a try!

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