The Difference: Houtou vs Udon vs Kishimen noodles

Chinese food vs Japanese food
Chinese food vs Japanese food

A wide variety of wheat noodles can be seen in Japan, among which, the ones for Ramen and Udon are admittedly the most common.

As with the noodles for Ramen, the Udon noodle actually comes in various varieties, and in Japan, there is even a regional specialty similar to Udon.

The Udon-like noodle is a specialty of Yamanashi Prefecture “Houtou (ほうとう)”, also written as “Hoto”,

and further, the wheat noodles for Houtou are similar in appearance to a specialty of Nagoya “Kishimen (きしめん)” noodles.

Then, how do Houtou and Kishimen differ from Udon? Today, for the unfamiliar, I will talk about that.

Houtou (Hoto) vs Udon dishes

Houtou (ほうとう)A Houtou or Hoto Noodle Soup Dish

While, as you know, the dishes using Udon noodles are widely enjoyed in Japan, Houtou (Hoto) is a food locally eaten in and around Yamanashi Prefecture.

Specifically, Houtou is a noodle soup dish made by simmering thick flat noodles and vegetables together in a miso-based broth made with Niboshi (dried young sardines) and is usually served hot.

Typical vegetables used in the Houtou soup include pumpkin, edible roots, and mushrooms,

and unlike Udon noodles, the wheat noodle for Houtou contains no salt. Besides in texture, the noodles are soft, not bouncy, as compared to Udon noodles.

However, Houtou isn’t always made using such thick flat noodles. In fact, in some local areas of Yamanashi, noodles or chunks made from grains other than wheat are prepared for Houtou.

Udon vs Kishimen vs Houtou (Hoto) noodles

A Noodle Soup Dish with Kishimen NoodlesA Noodle Soup Dish with Kishimen Noodles

Nagoya’s Kishimen noodle is made with the same ingredients as Udon, that is, wheat flour, salt, and water, and its production process is also similar to Udon.

But Kishimen noodles are different from Udon in that they are flat and wider in shape.

Actually, in the case of dried noodles, the definition of Udon is a wheat noodle whose long diameter is from 1.7 mm to 3.8 mm.

Meanwhile, Kishimen is defined as a wheat noodle whose width is 4.5 mm or above and whose thickness is less than 2.0 mm.

In contrast, as you can guess from the above, the noodle for Houtou (Hoto) doesn’t have any such standards.

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia ほうとう, きしめん )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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