Hand-pulled Somen (very thin white noodles made of wheat flour) were introduced to the ancient capital Nara from China as part of Buddhist culture, together with flour cultivation and
milling techniques 1300 years ago.
To make Somen, flour is added to salt water and kneaded well to create a dough. The dough is then stretched carefully to make one long twisted strip of Somen, making it similar in shape to Sakubei, a Chinese sweet. Initially, it was called Saku-men (Saku-noodle), but later the name changed to Somen.
Somen originated in the Miwa area, which is renowned for its high-quality flour and water. The cold and dry climate in this area during winter is ideally suited for producing Somen.
※Internet references for Miwa-Somen below.
Shops selling Miwa-Somen
※These shops are recommended by the Miwa-Somen Sales Association.
- Kite Mite Nara Shop
Address: 3-8 Noborioji-cho, Nara City, Nara, 630-8213 Japan
URL: http://nara-shop.jp/ (Japanese only)
- Nara Meihinkan JR Nara Station Shop
Address: 1-1 Sanjo-Honmachi, Nara City, Nara, 630-8122 Japan
URL: http://www.narameihinkan.com/ (Japanese only)
- JA Antena-Shop
Address: 45-1 Imazushi-cho, Nara City, Nara, 630-8243 Japan
URL: http://www.nara-tokusan.com/buy.html (Japanese only)
Restaurants serving Miwa-Somen
The selected two restaurants in Sakurai City are said to be the birthplace of Somen.
- Miwa-somen Ymamoto Miwachaya
Address: 880 Hashinaka, Sakurai-city, Nara, 633-0072 Japan
URL: http://www.miwayama.co.jp/shop (Japanese only)
- IKERI co.,ltd Senjutei
Address: 293, Shiba, Sakurai-shi, Nara, 633-0074 Japan URL: http://www.ikeri.co.jp/senjutei/ (Japanese only)
History of Somen
- Nara Prefecture Miwa-somen Association of Commerce and Industry
URL: http://www.miwasoumen-kumiai.com/history/ (Japanese only)
List of Reference Books
- Association for the Study of Nara’s Food and Culture (2007), “Deai Yamato no Aji” (“Encounter with Yamato’s taste”), Nara Newspaper Inc., page 146. ISBN 488856065X
- Noriko, Tomioka (2005), “Yamato no Kyoudoryouri” (“Yamato’s Local Cuisine”), Nara Newspaper Inc., page 87. ISBN 9784888560542
- Oboroya, Hisashi and Kuniharu, Goshima (1985), “Somen Shiryoshu” (“Somen Historical Documents”), Miwa-Somen Yamamoto.
- Discover Japan (2015), “Nippon Bunka Menruigaku” (“Japanese Noodle Culturology”), September 2015 Edition Vol.47, Ei Publishing Inc.,
※All references are available in Japanese only.
B-grade gourmet in Nara
- Yamato Fried Somen
This dish won the Nara B-grade Gourmet Championship and has drawn attention to a new B-grade gourmet in Nara.
※Please insert the image of Yamato Fried Somen