Japan is world-famous for its hot noodle soups, but did you know cold noodles are also a popular delicacy? Also known as Beppu Reimen, cold noodles are considered a soul food of Beppu. For a splash of colour and a kick of flavour, kimchi is added to a rich, tasty soup with chewy noodles – and there it is, the perfect meal for a hot summer day.
How Did Cold Noodles Become a Local Favourite in Beppu?
This local specialty came to Japan right after World War II. After Japan withdrew from Manchuria, those who returned and settled in Beppu brought this delicious recipe with them. The original dish was inspired by the traditional cold noodles from the Korean Peninsula, but it was eventually adapted to suit Japanese preferences.
From the Korean Peninsula to Old Manchuria and soon enough, across the ocean to Beppu, this recipe traveled far. Since then, cold noodles have inspired an array of other dishes, including Japanese dashi, cabbage kimchi, and many noodle specialties commonly enjoyed by locals in Beppu. Travelers will easily find restaurants in Beppu offering cold noodles, but not everyone knows where the best spots are found.
Try Beppu’s Cold Noodles at These 5 Best Restaurants
You’ll find Beppu’s cold noodles in many parts of Japan, but nothing compares to the real dish in Beppu itself. For the best experience, visit these five restaurants the next time you’re in Beppu.
Many say that Beppu’s famous cold noodles originate at this very restaurant. And if food quality is anything to go by, Hugetsu has definitely perfected the recipe. The flavors of the dashi are heavenly, as are the delightfully chewy noodles which swirl in the soup. Every bite convinces you that Hugetsu is culinary royalty when it comes to Beppu reimen.
Address: 8-1-26 Ishigaki Higashi, Beppu City, Oita Prefecture
On the weekends, a long queue stretches out from the front of Rokumori, a testament to its popularity. Step inside and the aroma of kelp dashi soup is enough to get your mouth watering. Crowds flock just to taste the harmony of homemade kimchi, local char siu beef, and smooth chewy noodles. This popular restaurant should not be missed.
Address: 7-17 Matsubaracho, Beppu City, Oita Prefecture
Ikkyu no Namida
Set your sights on this eatery and the first thing you’ll notice is its stylish aesthetic. While it appears to be the most modern on this list, the recipes at Ikkyu no Namida have been perfected over three generations. The special dashi is richly flavoured and extremely refreshing, especially on a summer day. Combined with firm noodles, it’s all you need to truly experience the magic of Beppu’s cold noodles.
Address: 10-5-7 Ishigaki Nishi, Beppu City, Oita Prefecture
Founded in 1974, the long-established Kirintei offers a range of Japanese noodle specialties to soothe a traveling foodie’s soul. For decades, it has been a go-to spot for ramen, Beppu cold noodles, and rice balls. Thick noodles and a rich soup are brought together with a kick of delicious kimchi.
Address: 10-45 Mochigahama, Beppu City, Oita Prefecture
This charming cafe is a favourite among locals. In the comfort of a peaceful atmosphere with remnants of days gone by, delight in the flavours of a classic cold noodle recipe. From April to October, visitors can experience a sherbet-flavoured dashi, which refreshes and cools the entire body.
* Please note that Beppu cold noodles are only available at Hikari Shokudo from February to November.
Address: 2 Kitaju, Beppu City, Oita Prefecture
As you take in Beppu’s history and relax in the crisp climate, there’s no better way to complete your experience than with a bowl of Beppu cold noodles.
A specialty since the postwar period, Beppu Reimen has withstood the test of time. Today, it is a much-loved dish among both locals and travelers. Local restaurants continue to carry on classic recipes perfected over time, so every bite exemplifies Beppu’s colourful history and the hard work of many generations. The next time you’re in this hot spring town, cool off with a bowl of refreshing cold noodles.
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