A taxi company in Kotohira, Kagawa Prefecture, is bringing a livestreamed experience of dining at noodle shops to udon lovers as they stay home during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Participants in the "online udon taxi" project launched by Kotohira Bus Co. can watch and chat with the company's drivers via Zoom as they go to noodle shops in their taxis and introduce famous udon.
Kotohira Bus, which also organizes a non-virtual "udon taxi," is leveraging know-how gained from operating online bus tours since May.
On Aug. 22, 15 Kagawa residents and non-residents participated in the virtual taxi tour. They watched their driver wait in line to order noodles at a shop in Ayagawa, and chatted about the store's atmosphere.
Their next stop was a shop at Kotohira that has its own noodle factory. Participants listened as the factory manager taught them how to cook "kamatama udon." Looking at noodles boil on their screens and following instructions, they made their own at home using noodles that were pre-delivered as part of the tour package. Their slurping could be heard as they enjoyed the noodle dish together online.
"I felt I actually went to the shops and it was fun. I would like to be there in person to eat the noodles next time," recounted a participant from Nago, Okinawa Prefecture.
The virtual tour, including the delivered noodles, costs 4,980 yen* per person and can accommodate up to 15 people.
The operator says the project will continue into the future and plans to offer more.
"We would like as many people to experience the attractiveness of visiting udon shops and the best of Kagawa, and grow our service into one that continues even after the novel coronavirus pandemic ends," a Kotohira Bus representative said.
*Note: Virtual tour is available to participants in Japan only. Additional postage fee of 1,000 yen will be applied to participants in Hokkaido and Okinawa Prefecture. Please check the official homepage for details.
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