When you mention Kagawa Prefecture as a place you would like to go in Japan, inevitably someone will mention the dish that it is famous for: udon.
If you have not had udon before you should try it. It can be hot or cold. It can come with vegetables, tofu, meat, or be slathered in curry sauce. All are delicious. Some people eat udon daily, but many people in Kagawa usually have udon a few times a month.
For me, while I like udon just fine, I can’t get too crazy about it. It’s nice for lunch once in a while, but it’s not the thing I want to eat everyday. I mention this to you here, because to some true udon fans I have spoken a kind of blasphemy.
A few years back there was a movement to call Kagawa-ken, “Udon-ken”. Some thought that was cute, and I suppose it is okay. You can do things now like write “Udon-ken” instead of “Kagawa-ken” on letters and it will not be rejected by the post office. Apparently they know what to do with these kinds of letters.
Upon further reflection, I am not sure if I want to focus only on udon as the unique feature of Kagawa. As I mentioned, udon is just fine, but there is much much much more to Kagawa Prefecture than a delicious bowl of noodles. Kagawa-ken has a good portion of the 88 Buddhist temple pilgrimage, the birthplace of Kukai, Mt. Konpira, Ritsurin Park, Naoshima Island, Teshima Island, Shodoshima Island, Ogijima Island, the Triennale Art Festival, the Seto Inland Sea, beautiful beaches, mossy hills, a ton of shrines, bonsai galore, castles, tea houses, hot springs, great seafood including eel, and deeply kind people all over the place.
A bowl of noodles is great, but Kagawa is much greater.
But if udon is on your mind, and you love the flavour, texture, and experience of eating it you can also come to Kagawa Prefecture to try your hand at making it. There are places here for people to come and take some time learning how to make it from scratch. Everyone I know who has done it says it is a blast, so if udon is your cup of noodles, check this out:
In this video you can come with a couple of noodle affectionados, and learn how to make these elusive noodles. What I thought was interesting was how surprised they were at how udon is made. Take it from the pros, udon making is no easy thing.
In this next cool video come along with some people who went to “udon school” and got to make some udon with a group of people. If this is something that you are keen on giving a go, let me know. I’ll try to fish out more information on this to let you know and follow up this blog with more details:
Going somewhere to look at art and temples and shrines is great. That can be very interesting and informative, but one thing I want to do with this meagre blog is to show visitors things that they can see, smell, touch, and experience. Our memories of travel are usually clearest for things that we have done with our own hands, being creative, making something cool, and sharing that time with friends.
So, come on down to Kagawa, and get your hands on some udon!