It was about time I tried the famed Miso Nikomi Udon in Nagoya.
I had been living in Nagoya for almost two months and I still hadn’t tried it.
My Japanese family was baffled about how this could have happened. It is basically a requirement for people from Nagoya to love Miso Nikomi Udon. And I didn’t even know what it tasted like.
So, one evening after a long day of wedding ring shopping (that’s another story) I finally found the time to try Miso Nikomi Udon at the birthplace of the dish: Yamamotoya Honten
What is Miso Nikomi Udon
The original Yamamotoya doesn’t exist anymore today. It used to be located in Osu Shopping District and was opened in 1925.
Yamamotoya is known as the birthplace of the Miso Nikomi Udon as we know it today. Before that, different variations of Miso Nikomi Udon were mostly prepared at home, by housewives all over the region.
Miso Nikomi Udon or Miso Stewed Udon has two main ingredients which make it special.
1. A soup made from Hatcho Miso, red Miso from Okazaki in Aichi Prefecture. It has a very strong and flavorful taste because of its unique production process being made solely from soybeans and fermented for at least 2 years.
2. Firmer than usual Udon noodles. Because there is no salt added to the noodles or the cooking water the Udon turn out much firmer and with a different texture. This texture goes very well with the Hatcho Miso broth.
While there are other Miso Nikomi Udon restaurants in Nagoya (you can find a list of them in my Miso Nikomi Udon post), Yamamotoya makes the best, or so I am told.
The Atmosphere at Yamamotoya Honten
Yamamotoya Honten shops are very modern but distinctly Japanese.
The signboard is written in a flowing script of Japanese Kanji letters, hard for even native Japanese to read.
Simple tables and similarly simple benches are lined up inside the restaurant. A couple of menu items (especially seasonal and other specials lign the walls which are otherwise bare.
It is an atmosphere without many distractions, making it easy to focus solely on the good food and hopefully even better company.
The Menu at Yamamotoya
Yamamotoya like many of the most popular restaurants in Nagoya has an English menu available, which will make it easy for you to choose the perfect Miso Nikomi Udon.
They serve a simple Miso Nikomi Udon which comes topped with leek, a steamed fish cake, and a raw egg.
Other variations of Miso Nikomi Udon are also available, some with meat, others with other toppings. I recommend you try the Miso Nikomi Udon with Nagoya Cochin Chicken, a special kind of local chicken breed.
There are seasonal Miso Nikomi Udon. In autumn they serve a Miso Nikomi Udon with different kinds of mushrooms as well as one with mussels. If you want to find more things to do in Nagoya in autumn read this post.
Yamamotoya doesn’t only serve Miso Nikomi Udon, but also other Udon dishes (made with different kind of Udon, which are much thinner and standard Udon noodles).
You can order a big serving of noodles at an additional charge if you are very hungry. For me, the normal serving of Miso Nikomi Udon was more than enough.
The Price at Yamamotoya Honten in Nagoya
At the restaurant where I tried my first Miso Nikomi Udon in Sakae district the normal serving cost just under 1000 yen.
I was surprised to see that the same Miso Nikomi Udon at the Esca Underground Shopping Street costs almost 300 yen more. So, the prices vary slightly from restaurant to restaurant.
Other variations cost much more and you can expect to pay around 1500 to 1800 yen per dish, which is very expensive for an Udon dish.
My First Miso Nikomi Udon
I ordered the standard Miso Nikomi Udon.
Before the dish arrived I got a bowl of free pickles made from cabbage, cucumber, and onions. These are enjoyed with a little bit of soy sauce and very delicious to snack on before your food arrives but also during the meal.
The Miso Nikomi Udon arrives in an earthenware pot with a lid, still guzzling and steaming hot.
If you wear something white you might want to get a bib from the staff or else the brown sauce might end up all over your shirt.
If you don’t enjoy a raw egg, no problem, just stir and wait a little bit for the egg to get firmer before eating it. (The staff will ask if you can eat raw egg when you order, I recommend to order with the egg even if you don’t like it raw because it will stock quickly)
Dig in whenever you are ready!
The firm noodles fit perfectly with the Miso based flavorful broth and the egg gives extra texture and creamy flavor.
My first experience eating Miso Nikomi Udon at Yamamotoya Honten in Nagoya was great, and I will definitely be coming back for more.
Locations of Yamamotoya in Nagoya
Yamamotoya restaurants are easy to find in Nagoya. They are basically everywhere.
Yamamotoya can be grouped into three different restaurant branches: Yamamotoya Honten, Yamamotoya Sohonke, and Yamamotoya Okute
I still haven’t figured out why there are different Yamamotoya since they seem to stem all from the original Yamamotoya shop in Osu, but they all have different websites and store designs and slightly different menus.
You cannot go wrong with any of them.
Yamamotoya Okute has only a single store in Okute. This is the store information.
Yamamotoya Sohonke has five stores all over Nagoya and even one in Tokyo and Wakayama.
The main store of Yamamotoya Sohonke is located in Sakae district.
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Sat+Sun 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. closed Wednesdays
Address: 3-12-19 Sakae, Naka Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 460-0008
Website (Japanese only) | Google Maps
Yamamotoya Honten, the variation of Yamamotoya I visited has the most shop locations, with 17 shops in and around Nagoya.
I visited the one in Sakae district, but you can also conveniently find one in the Esca underground shopping street next to Nagoya Station as I mentioned before.
Final Thoughts on Miso Nikomi Udon
Miso Nikomi Udon is a true staple of Nagoya and there isn’t a local who hasn’t heard of Yamamotoya. This makes it the perfect place to experience Nagoya like a local.
The food is delicious, the restaurants easily accessible to foreigners and there is no reason to be shy. The staff is super friendly and helpful, and if all else fails just point at whatever you want to order.
Yamamotoya is one stop during the Nagoya Meshi Food Tour I offer every day. If you want to participate check out the details here. I also offer private food tours in Nagoya which are more customizable to your preferences.
You can also check out these restaurants next:
- Komeda’s Coffee: A coffee chain from Nagoya serving sandwiches, cakes, and the famous Nagoya Morning Service
- Miya Kishimen: The most famous Kishimen noodle shop in Nagoya. One branch is located inside Atsuta Jingu
- Misokatsu Yabaton: The restaurant with the best deep-fried pork cutlets with Miso sauce in Nagoya
If you enjoyed this post and want to save it for later pin it to your ‘Japan Travel’ Pinterest board or create a new board called ‘Restaurants in Japan’.
In love with Japan and its amazing food, Lena wants to share her passion with the world. That’s why she started Nagoya Foodie. To teach about Nagoya, her adoptive home online through blog posts and offline through unique food tours.