What is Nagashi Somen? Enjoying a Traditional Japanese Summer Activity

The Charm of Nagashi Somen

When summer arrives, so does nagashi somen, a quintessential Japanese tradition where family and friends gather to enjoy cold somen noodles flowing down a bamboo slide. The fun lies in catching the noodles with chopsticks as they flow by, a unique and delightful way to cool down. Let’s dive deeper into the charm of nagashi somen.

The History and Origin of Nagashi Somen

The origins of nagashi somen are believed to date back to the Edo period. It is said to have started in the mountainous regions of Kyoto and Hyogo Prefecture as a clever way to stay cool during the hot summer months. Today, it is enjoyed all over Japan as a beloved summer activity.

How to Enjoy Nagashi Somen

Essential Tools

To enjoy nagashi somen, you’ll need the following tools:

  • A bamboo or plastic nagashi somen set
  • Somen noodles
  • Tsuyu (dipping sauce)
  • Your favorite condiments (such as green onions, ginger, and myoga)


  1. Set up the bamboo slide: Arrange the bamboo or plastic slider at the right angle.
  2. Start the water flow: Begin running cold water down the slide. The cold water cools the somen, making it refreshing.
  3. Flow the somen: Place an appropriate amount of somen on the slide and let it flow. Use chopsticks to catch and eat the noodles as they pass by.

Tips for Enjoying Nagashi Somen

  • Timing is key: The fun is in catching the somen at just the right moment as it flows down.
  • Use condiments: Enhance the flavor with green onions, ginger, and other condiments.
  • Enjoy with a group: The more, the merrier! Nagashi somen is best enjoyed with family and friends.

Health Benefits of Nagashi Somen

Nagashi somen is more than just a fun activity; it also has health benefits. The cold noodles help to cool down your body during the hot summer, providing a refreshing break from the heat. Additionally, condiments like green onions and ginger have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, helping to prevent summer fatigue.

Ideas to Enhance Your Nagashi Somen Experience

  • Theme Parties: Host a nagashi somen-themed party with Japanese decorations and yukatas to enhance the experience.
  • Attend Nagashi Somen Events: Participate in nagashi somen events held in various locations for a more authentic experience with professionally set up slides.
  • Create Your Own Somen Variations: Experiment with colorful somen or unique dipping sauces for a fun twist.


Nagashi somen is a fantastic way to enjoy the Japanese summer. It’s a simple activity that strengthens bonds with family and friends while also providing health benefits. Use this guide to enjoy nagashi somen this summer and create lasting memories.

Stay cool and have a fun-filled time with nagashi somen this summer!

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