The Difference : Houtou vs Udon vs Kishimen Wheat Noodles

There are a wide variety of wheat noodles in Japan. Even among those, I think the ones for Ramen and Udon are most famous.

Like the noodles for ramen, actually Udon comes in many varieties, and there is also a local specialty like Udon noodles in Japan.

The Udon-like noodle is a specialty of Yamanashi Prefecture, “Houtou (ほうとう)”, and furthermore, the wheat noodles for Houtou are similar in appearance to a specialty of Nagoya “Kishimen (きしめん)” noodles.

Have you ever heard of Houtou and Kishimen noodles?

For those who don’t know much about Houtou and Kishimen, this time I will talk about how they are different from Udon noodles.

The Difference between Houtou and Udon Noodle Dishes

Houtou (ほうとう)Houtou noodle dish

As you know, the dishes using Udon noodles are widely enjoyed throughout Japan, while Houtou is a local noodle dish eaten in and around Yamanashi Prefecture.

The Yamanashi’s specialty, Houtou is a dish made simmering thick flat strips of wheat noodles and vegetables in a miso-based broth made with dried small sardines.

Typical vegetables used in Houtou include pumpkin, edible roots, mushrooms, and the noodle dish is usually served hot.

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

However, Houtou isn’t always made using such thick flat noodles. In some local areas of Yamanashi, small lumps made from serials are prepared as the main ingredient for Houtou.

The Difference between Udon, Kishimen, and Houtou Noodles

A Dish with Kishimen NoodlesKishimen noodle dish

The producing process of Kishimen noodles is almost the same as that of Udon noodles, and the Nagoya’s specialty is made with wheat flour, salt, and water, the same ingredients as Udon.

As for the difference, Kishimen noodles are flat and wide in shape compared to Udon.

Actually, in the case of the dried noodles, the definition of Udon noodles is the wheat noodle whose diameter is from 1.7 mm to 3.8 mm, while Kishimen is defined as the wheat noodle whose width is 4.5 mm or above and thickness is less than 2.0 mm.

On the other hand, the wheat noodle for Houtou has no 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. 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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