GOTO UDON Japan's best-kept secret

Sushi, tempura, tofu…Japanese food is now popular as ever, but have you ever heard of Goto Udon noodles? It is an udon noodle from the Goto Islands, especially Nakadori Island, one of the westernmost islands in Japan, which the locals have enjoyed for generations. Even among the Japanese, not many have experienced the silky, light, yet chewy texture that can only be made in the Goto Islands because these exclusive noodles are made from primary ingredients which are nurtured in the rich nature of the islands.

Fascinating Facts about Goto Udon Noodles [1] Texture and Production Process

The secret to the delicate yet springy texture of Goto Udon noodles lies in its production process which involves hand twisting the dough, or “te-yori,” a method passed down for more than 1,000 years, and camellia oil taken from Goto Islands’ indigenous camellia. Kneading alone is not enough to bring out the unique Goto Udon texture. The dough is twisted into strands and pulled repeatedly, then set to rest. The process results in a texture called “koshi,” a combination of firmness and elasticity, and Goto Udon’s koshi is unique from the other udon noodles in Japan. No preservatives are used, but to ensure a certain shelf life, camellia oil is used in the production process. The camellia oil and the step to smooth out the unevenness in the surface of the dried noodles, called “migaki” or literally to polish, are what brings the extraordinary, sleek smoothness of the Goto Udon texture.

On Goto Udon’s texture or koshi

Japan has a broad variety of regional udon noodles across the country: Sanuki, Inaniwa, and Goto, to name a few. Each has its own characteristics, but when we compare texture or koshi, (the combination of “hard and tough” as defined by Professor Yamada below), science proves that Goto Udon surpasses other udon noodles (Sanuki and Inaniwa) in its firm yet springy texture (Research by Professor Masaharu Yamada, Applied Chemistry, School of Advanced Engineering, Kogakuin University, 2018).

Cooking directions (minutes to boil) printed on the package were followed.
Note: directions for Goto Udon stated “4 to 6 minutes, according to tastes.” Thus, 3 variables were tested: cooked for 4 minutes, 5 minutes, and 6 minutes.

Click here for detailed test results

Fascinating Facts about Goto Udon Noodles [2] The Primary Ingredients of Goto Udon

Goto Udon noodles are made only from natural ingredients from the Goto Islands, such as selected flour, Goto Island spring water, oil from camellia that grow in the mountains of Goto Islands, and salt from the surrounding seas.

Fascinating Facts about Goto Udon Noodles [3] Ways to Eat Goto Udon Noodles

Goto Udon noodles are perfectly cylindrical when sliced, and have a unique silky light, yet chewy texture that allows them to bring out the best in the sauces and soups which adorn them. It is the perfect way to savor the tastes of the accompanying soups and sauces, to the last drop. This is what makes Goto Udon noodles different.

Seafood Arrabbiata

Ingredients (For two servings)

  • 100g (3.5oz) Goto Udon noodles
  • 100g clams
  • 2 whole calamari
  • 2 tablespoons red wine
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 4-5 anchovies, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 5 black olives, halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • A pinch of salt & pepper
  • 2 dried red chilis
  • Powdered/grated parmesan cheese

Tomato Sauce ingredients (For two servings)

  • 1 can whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • A pinch of coarsely ground black pepper

Seafood Arrabbiata


  1. To cook tomato sauce: add olive oil, onion, garlic, salt and black pepper in a frying pan, turn heat lower and saute while stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the can of tomatoes, turn heat up and crush the tomatoes by pressing with a spatula.
    Turn heat down and cook for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Boil the Udon noodles, cut red chillis in half and remove the seeds.
    In a frying pan, add olive oil and red peppers and take the peppers out after the oil has absorbed the flavor and pungent taste of the peppers.
  4. Add clams and calamari to the frying pan, pour red wine over and cook with the garlic and anchovies. Add the butter and prepared tomato sauce (step 2.) and boil them down lightly.
  5. Add boiled Udon noodles and clams to the mixture. Stir in the black olives and parmesan cheese and sprinkle with olive oil to taste.

Goto Udon in Dried Shiitake Mushroom Soup

Ingredients (For two servings)

  • Goto Udon Noodles; 200 g (7 oz.)
  • Dried Mushrooms
    shiitake mushrooms: 1 pack
    maitake mushrooms: 1 pack
  • minced garlic: 1 clove
  • kombu: 2 sheets, 3 cm (1. 2 inches) long
  • dried bonito flakes: 8 tablespoons
  • sake (rice wine): 2 tablespoons
  • [A] soy sauce: 1 tablespoon
    salt: 1/2 teaspoon
  • olive oil: 1 tablespoon
  • salt, pepper: if desired
  • water: 2 cups


  1. Put olive oil and garlic in a frying pan, place on low heat.
    When the garlic becomes aromatic, add dried mushrooms
  2. Add the kombu and dried bonito flakes in the frying pan above, stir a few times, then add sake and water and turn the heat up to high.
    When it boils, turn the heat back down to low, and season with [A].
  3. Boil udon noodles to a slightly firm texture
    (shorter time than indicated on the package); drain.
  4. Add the udon noodles to the frying pan, and stir.
    Add salt, pepper when serving, if desired.

Dried Mushrooms ingredients
(Easy-to-make portion)

  • shiitake mushrooms: 1 pack
  • maitake mushrooms: 1 pack


  1. Remove stems or the hardened stalks from the mushrooms;
    cut into thin slices
  2. Spread on a sieve or a flat surface covered with paper towels and sun-dry for 1 to 2 days, until the mushrooms are very crisp.
    Can be dried to your preferred crispiness.

Goto Udon in Pesto Sauce with Green Vegetables and Cashew Nuts (Appetizer)

  • Serves: 2-3
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes
  • Heating time: 15 minutes

Goto Udon Noodles
“Vagues de Perles”: 100 g (3.5 oz.)

  • string beans: 150 g (5.25 oz.)
  • broad beans: 400 g (14 oz.)
  • cashew nuts: 20 to 25 pieces
  • chives: 1 bunch
  • olive oil: 1 tablespoon
  • powdered chili

Pesto Sauce

  • zucchini: 2 small zucchini,
    or 150g (5.25 oz.)
  • basil leaves: 12
  • cashew nuts: 12 pieces
  • garlic: 1 clove, peeled
  • olive oil: 2 tablespoons
  • salt, pepper

Goto Udon in Pesto Sauce with Green Vegetables and Cashew Nuts


  1. Make the pesto sauce. Wash zucchinis and basil leaves. Chop the zucchinis; using a food processor or blender, add the clove of garlic, cashew nuts, basil leaves and olive oil to the zucchinis and puree. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and add 2-3 tablespoons of water if necessary to get the right fluidity as a sauce.
  2. Remove the strings from string beans, cook in salted boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes. Drain, and cool under running water.
  3. Take out the pods of broad beans, and peel the skin. If the pods are small they can be used without cooking, but for normal or larger sized pods, boil for about 1 minute.
  4. Put udon noodles in a boiling pot of water. When it boils again, leave it boiling for 4 minutes. Drain, and let it cool under running water.
  5. Heat olive oil in a frying pan, and lightly fry cashew nuts. Add the udon noodles and the pesto sauce, sauté well in low heat to warm and to have the sauce cling to the noodles. Add the string beans and broad beans, serve onto plates, sprinkle on chopped chives and a dash of ground chili.

How Goto Udon is Enjoyed in the Goto Islands

Surrounded by bountiful seas, fish simmered in broth is a dish enjoyed in many homes in the Goto Islands; some argue that the broth or soup is more important than the fish itself. Goto Udon is often added to the broth so as not to miss a single drop. Goto Udon was never about just the texture; its history is the history of savoring the broth (sauce).
Nowadays, a popular way of enjoying Goto Udon is “The Hell Pot:” The boiling pot in which Goto Udon noodles are cooked is brought directly to the table, still boiling over (hence the inferno reference). The noodles are served with a dipping sauce of soy-sauce-based ago flying fish dashi, and condiments. Some Goto Islanders stir in a raw egg to the sauce; if eggs which can be eaten raw are available, do give it a try - the natives swear that this is a great way to enjoy Goto Udon and the dashi-and-egg combination.

Fascinating Facts about Goto Udon Noodles [4] Occasions for Goto Udon Noodles

The smooth, light yet substantial texture of Goto Udon noodles is a result of superior craftsmanship by devoted producers, and is a gift from the traditional but modern Goto Islands. These lightweight noodles can be hearty meals, but also perfect when feeling peckish.

Goto Tenobe Udon Kyodo Kumiai
428-31 Arikawa-go, Shinkamigoto-cho,
Minamimatsuura-gun, Nagasaki-Pref., JAPAN

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