Okute Yamamotoya: Long-established Traditional Miso Nikomi Udon Restaurant

Okute Yamamotoya: Long-established Traditional Miso Nikomi Udon Restaurant

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Nagoya food?

Miso katsu (pork cutlet with miso sauce, tenmusu (rice ball with shrimp tempura), tebasaki (chicken wings), and hitsu-mabushi (chopped kabayaki eel on rice)... among various dishes,  "Miso Nikomi Udon (udon noodle in miso broth)"  has a strong presence as a Nagoya delicacy. It has long been loved by many people, especially in Nagoya.

Introduced here is Okute Yamamoto, a famous restaurant in Nagoya that has been in business since the Taisho era. It is a long-established restaurant where you can enjoy the traditional taste of Miso Nikomi Udon with a focus on handmade udon noodles.

Okute Yamamotoya

Okute Yamashiya, located in Okute, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, is a 3-minute walk from Fukiage Station on the Nagoya Municipal Subway Line, and is also easily accessible with a parking lot.

They operate two stores, this Okute store and the Sakuradori Otsu store on Hisaya Odori in Nagoya.

Okute Yamamotoya

Okute Yamamotoya

Okute Yamamotoya

A clean and spacious interior. The store is visited by men and women of all ages, from children to the elderly.

Once you pass through the traditional noren (shop curtain), you will find yourself in an old-fashioned, tasteful space with a warm atmosphere that is easy to enter for family, friends, or even for a single person. The restaurant has many seats, including tables, tatami rooms, and private rooms, where you can enjoy your meal in a relaxed atmosphere.

Founded in 1925
Preserving the Historic and Traditional Taste

For this interview, we spoke with Hironori Aoki, the senior managing director of Yamamotoya Ltd. who, as the fifth generation, continues to preserve "Okute Yamamotoya"

First, he told us about the history of the Okute Yamamotoya.

The history of Yamamotoya began when Mankichi Shimamoto and his wife, Kinu, took over the udon shop, which was then called "Yamamoto Nikomi". Later, the name was changed by Mr. and Mrs. Morikazu and Yukie Machida, who inherited the family business. They changed the name of the restaurant to "Yamamotoya Sohonke".

Of the four children born to Mr. and Mrs. Machida, Akiyo, the eldest daughter, and her husband, Nakaharu Asai, opened their own business as "Yamamotoya". Akiyo's desire to focus on delicious food has led her to emphasize handmade flavors that do not rely on machines. Inheriting this desire, Mr. Aoki's father and mother, Kazuya and Michiyo Aoki, have become the fourth generation of the family.

Today, brothers Hironori and Kosuke Aoki are the fifth generation of the family to maintain the traditional history of the company.

The history of Yamamotoya is quite profound. I was able to learn about the history of Miso Nikomi Udon for the first time through this interview. I feel as if my quality as a Nagoya person has improved a little!

Okute Yamamotoya

At the storefront, you can see the tools used in the past for delivery. A visit to the store also gives you a glimpse into the deep history of Yamamotoya. The beckoning cat that welcomes you is also adorable.

Hironori Aoki, 5th generation Okute Yamamotoya

Hironori Aoki, 5th generation Okute Yamamotoya

- Could you tell us how you came to take over "Okute Yamamotoya" as the fifth generation?

Mr. Aoki: "While in graduate school, I was involved in the launch of a company and gained experience in an IT venture company for about three years. I decided to take over the business five years ago because I thought that, although I enjoyed IT and doing various kinds of work there, developing the family I was born into was something only I could do, and that I could do something more interesting by mixing what I could do with the traditions my ancestors had kept up until now. That is why I decided to take over."

In order to pass on the family business, Yamamotoya, to future generations, Mr. Aoki is actively working on new projects while utilizing the skills he has cultivated over the years.

"Evolving Traditions"
New Initiatives in Tune with the Times

Mr. Aoki is engaged in various projects and developments on a daily basis with Yamamotoya as the main axis. Just listening to his stories was exciting, and I felt a new breeze in his efforts, which are possible only in this day and age.

- We have heard that you are involved in product planning with students. What kind of things do you do? 

Mr. Aoki:"We launched a project with an organization that supports students who have been truanting to develop a product. The relatively common reasons for truancy are 'I can't keep up with my studies' or 'I don't want to do my homework for the long holidays'. We started this project to help students who have stopped going to school for these reasons understand that studying is a necessary and useful part of society through the work of Yamamotoya."

The "Yama-pechino" was created last summer with the idea of making something that could be sold for delivery with these students. The sweets made with miso, Yamamotoya's signature ingredient, were very popular, and the project was a great confidence booster for the students. I am very curious to see what "Yama-pechino" will taste like!

"Miso Nikomi Udon Handmade Kit" for the Whole Family to Enjoy

In addition, the "Miso Nikomi Udon Handmade Kit" was created in response to the mood of self-restraint that has been growing due to the recent COVID outbreak, and to see if there was anything Yamamotoya could do to help.

Miso Nikomi Udon Handmade Kit 4,482 yen (Stay Home Campaign price)

We hope that everyone in the family will enjoy making Miso Nikomi Udon and have a family udon time together.

This kit will also serve as food education for children. Making udon from scratch requires a lot of power and processes. In such cases, fathers and mothers can make a show of their skills. Because udon cannot be made by children alone, this kit is a wonderful way to make them feel anew the appreciation and importance of family and food.

Life Designs


Expand the Opportunity! Muslim and Vegan Options are also Available!

The restaurant has a Muslim and vegan menu as well.

Muslim-friendly menu

Vegan-friendly menu

- Why did you develop a menu for Muslims and vegans?

Mr. Aoki:"I had been thinking about attracting customers mainly from people coming to Nagoya, but after thinking about it, I realized that Muslims, who number more than 1.6 billion worldwide, and vegans, who are on the rise these days, cannot eat Yamamotoya's udon. In my previous job at an IT company, I was often involved with Muslims, and my friends at that time could not eat it because they used mirin (sweet cooking rice wine) or their chicken was not halal chicken. Then I thought, "Let's make a menu for everyone!"

The Muslim and vegan menu became a hot topic by word of mouth, and many people now visit the restaurant for the menu.

Ms. Aoki:"We have many Muslim and vegan customers, but our goal is to be a restaurant where anyone in the world can eat. We will continue to serve delicious Miso Nikomi Udon noodles with flexibility to accommodate various religions and ways of thinking around the world."

It would be a shame for people who have come all the way to Nagoya to end up not being able to enjoy the famous Miso Nikomi Udon. There are many people in the world who are restricted in what they eat for various reasons, but the fact that any visitor can enjoy this traditional taste is a new attraction unique to "Okute Yamamotoya".

Handmade Udon Noodles
As a Symbol of Aichi Brewing Culture

The specialty of Okute Yamamotoya is their handmade udon noodles.

The udon noodles are hand-pulled by artisans using only udon flour and water, without any salt, to create a unique firm texture. The unique texture of Miso Nikomi Udon is sure to become addictive once you try it.

handmade udon noodles

We were allowed to observe the actual process! Mr. Kazuya Aoki, the fourth generation of the family, showed us his craftsmanship.

The kneaded dough will now be stretched using cotton swabs.

handmade udon noodles

handmade udon noodles

The dough stretches beautifully in no time at all with the skillful use of cotton swabs. The craftsmanship that quickly performs this very strenuous task is breathtaking.

handmade udon noodles

The stretched dough is then folded and cut it into noodle shapes.

When cutting the dough, he says he holds his breath. Even those of us who are watching hold our breath and concentrate. It takes many years of practice to master this technique.

handmade udon noodles

In no time at all, the beautiful handmade noodles are ready!

The evenly cut noodles are truly a work of art.

The major difference between hand-made noodles and machine-made noodles is that the fine air bubbles that are mixed in when kneading the udon flour and water are reduced by the machine because of the forced stretching. With handmade noodles, the air bubbles remain, allowing the miso to soak into the noodles and create a good flavor.

Mr. Kazuya Aoki, the fourth generation of the family, said he hopes that the handmade noodles will continue to be preserved even after the next generation takes over.

I felt Yamamotoya's passion for their handmade udon noodles. In this way, the traditional taste that has been preserved from long ago will be passed on to the next generation and loved by many customers.

Miso Nikomi Udon with egg 1,100 yen

We were served the "Okute Yamamoto" classic, Miso Nikomi Udon with Eggs. When we opened the lid of the earthenware pot, we found the udon noodles simmering in a pot of miso broth! The ability to eat it hot is a unique attraction of the restaurant.

We asked Mr. Aoki about his thoughts on Miso Nikomi Udon.

Mr. Aoki:"About 90% of the ingredients in this pot are locally produced in Aichi Prefecture. We have continued to work with local companies to produce products such as Handa soy sauce, Chita mirin (sweet sake), Okazaki hatcho miso (soybean paste), and Nagoya kochin (chicken). We take pride in the fact that we are taking the best products made by each of these craftsmen and putting them into this Shigaraki-ware pot and saying, 'We are creating the crystallization of brewing culture in Aichi Prefecture.'"

With these passion, the Miso Nikomi Udon at Okute Yamamotoya are a taste of the commitment of the people here in Aichi.

Okute Yamamotoya

The soup stock is prepared by artisans from early in the morning every day, and the miso paste used in the preparation has a rich and deep flavor.

The deliciousness bursts in your mouth when intertwined with the firm noodles, which are very satisfying. If you break the yolk of the egg and dip it into the noodles while eating, the taste changes to a milder one! It enhances the umami even more.

This is standard Miso Nikomi Udon, but this is exactly the taste I envisioned! It's the kind of taste that makes you glad you were born and raised in Nagoya.

Miso Nikomi Udon is the standard menu, but they also offer a wide variety of other dishes such as curry nikomi udon and osumashi (dashi) nikomi udon. You will want to visit again and again to try different flavors!

Almost 100 years in Business
 and Now Toward the Next 100 Years

We asked Mr. Aoki about future developments.

Mr. Aoki:"We will soon celebrate 100 years in business. While it is important to maintain the traditions that have been handed down from the first generation, we must also innovate in order to carry on the traditions for another 100 years. In order to make such innovations, we need to keep up with the times. We must continue to protect the handmade udon noodles that we have preserved since the Taisho era, and our insistence on Aichi prefecture-grown products, but the external environment is different from that of those times.

For example, now it is the COVID. We sell "Miso Nikomi Udon Making Kit" to convey the goodness of Yamamotoya and have people enjoy it at stay-home. We have to think about what we can do now that we are attracting fewer customers.

Other issues include the need to use English to attract more customers due to the increase in the number of foreigners, consideration for the environment under the theme of SDGs, and how to differentiate ourselves from our competitors. We have to respond to these changes to become a better company! That is what we are working on now."

Okute Yamamotoya

Okute Yamamotoya continues to evolve in step with the times while retaining the qualities that only a long-established business can offer. Seeing Mr. Aoki tackling new things without hesitation, we were excited to see what he will do next.

If you are ever in Nagoya, be sure to try the famous Miso Nikomi Udon at Okute Yamamotoya! One bite and you will be hooked. You will find a delicious taste unique to Aichi, filled with local care and love.

Spot Details

[Okute Yamamotoya]
Address: 5-9-2 Ookute Chikusa ward Nagoya 464-0854
Business hours: 11:00 – 22:00 (LO 21:30)
Closed: Mondays (open if Monday is a holiday, closed the next day)


Born in Nagoya, raised in Nagoya. At university, she majored in media production and studied design and advertising. Interested in food, art, and fashion, and her hobbies are drawing illustrations, making bouquets, and watching movies. She likes visiting coffee shops and cafes, and it is her daily routine to drink at least one cup of coffee every day.  She will disseminate the hidden charm of the Tokai region, focusing on gourmet food.

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