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Hungry? These Fall Festivals Serve Seasonal Seafood and More


Japan’s festivals center on the country’s rich ingredients and dishes
Many of Japan’s festivals center on the country’s rich ingredients and dishes



In Japan, there’s a saying known as “Shokuyoku-no-Aki,” which directly translates to “Fall’s Appetite,” thanks to the plethora of fruits, vegetables, and fish available during the season. Sushi, yakiniku (grilled meat), tempura, and more are some of the staples to look forward to during this season, so eat to your heart’s content!

In this article, we’re taking a deep dive into everything fall food in Japan, and introduce festivals where you can find (and eat!) some local delicacies.


Cuisines from all around the Country



Hokkaido’s Ishikari-nabe or Ishikari hot pot
Hokkaido’s Ishikari-nabe or Ishikari hot pot



Japan has a total of 47 prefectures and eight regions, all of which have their unique food and ingredients. Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan, is famous for its Ishikari-nabe or Ishikari hot pot―salmon and saw-edged perch eaten alongside vegetables and a kombu broth. 



Senbei-jiru or rice cracker stew fromTohoku
Senbei-jiru or rice cracker stew fromTohoku



In Tohoku, you’ll find southern-style soy sauce-flavored senbei (rice cracker) boiled to create a delicious dish known as Senbei-jiru (rice cracker stew). These are perfect meals for the colder temperatures found in these locations.



(1)    If it’s prefectural food culture you’re craving, Hokkaido and Kōchi are the places for you


Sapporo Autumn Festival (Hokkaido)


Sapporo Odori Park
In autumn, tourists flock to Sapporo Odori Park for a festival with seasonal ingredients, sake, and more.


Scheduled every September to October in Sapporo Odori Park, this event centers around Hokkaido and Sapporo’s distinct cuisines. Here, you can find seasonal ingredients, local ramen, Japanese sake, and more. 


Sapporo Autumn Festival
At Sapporo Autumn Festival, there is much to taste and buy.


Odori 5-chome is the place to be for all things ramen, 4-chome is where you’ll find jingisukan (a Japanese grilled mutton or lamb dish), fried chicken, and much more. There’s so much to see and taste, so feel free to explore the different areas. 



Mouth-watering seafood
Mouth-watering seafood is freshly served and cooked in many ways.





Souvenirs are available for tourists to purchase as gifts
Souvenirs are also available for tourists to purchase as gifts for themselves or others.



If you wish to pick up a souvenir to commemorate your trip, make sure to visit 8-chome and grab some local and unique goods from all around Hokkaido! 

Event Information 

Name: Sapporo Autumn Fest
Location: Sapporo Odori Park
Event Period: Usually from early September to early October (Please check the official website for the latest dates and information.)
Access: Close to Odori Station from the Sapporo Municipal Subway Namboku Line, Tozai Line, Toho Line

Website: Sapporo Autumn Fest (Japanese)

Tosa no Hojyosai, Kochi City Venue (Kochi Prefecture)



Kochi City plays host to Tosa no Hojyosai Festival from October to November
Kochi City plays host to Tosa no Hojyosai Festival from October to November.



Kochi Prefecture is an elongated-shaped region that goes from east to west in the south of Shikoku. Blessed with the riches of the ocean and mountains, it is the site of an almost endless array of local specialties. For two months in the fall (usually October and November), Kochi City plays host to the highly anticipated Tosa no Hojyosai (The Harvest of Tosa Festival). 



The festival is held to express gratitude for the abundant land and sea that bless the prefecture.



It pays homage to the sea, mountains, rivers, and other natural wonders that surround the prefecture and brings people together to celebrate Tosa’s blessing of fall. 



selection of food at the festival
Foodies will surely enjoy the selection of food at the festival.



Here you’ll find a wide selection of fruits, vegetables, and meats from many of the prefecture’s surrounding regions. You’ll also enjoy amazing dishes such as grilled shellfish, Tosa sushi, chargrilled salmon, and much more!



Event Information 

Name: Tosa no Hojyosai
Location: Central Park, Kochi-shi, Kochi 
Event Period: Usually starts early October (Please check the official website for the latest dates and information.)

Website: Tosa no Hojyosai (Japanese) 
※Event period may differ depending on the venue.


Plus: What to expect with Hokkaido food in the fall

  • When talking about fall in Hokkaido, there’s a wide variety of ingredients and flavors that comes to mind: salmon, salted salmon roe, Pacific saury, Botan shrimp, as well as vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potato, and more!
    One of the more prominent dishes served around fall is Ishikari-nabe, a delicious hot pot of kombu dashi, miso, vegetables, and salmon bone usually eaten alongside Rui-be, bite-size pieces of the salmon that have been slightly frozen.



(2)   Sanma (Pacific saury) is the star of these Tokyo and Fukuoka festivals





Sanma or Pacific saury
Sanma or Pacific saury is abundant in Japan during the fall season.



One fish that starts to make its way from international waters towards Japan’s seas during the fall is sanma, better known as Pacific saury. By then, the fish is usually in its best shape―deliciously fatty! Sample free chargrilled Pacific saury at the Choshi Sanma Marathon in the Chiba Prefecture, or at any other Pacific saury event found in nearby areas.


Meguro Sanma Festival (Tokyo)



sauries are chargrilled during the Meguro Pacific Saury Festival
Over 7,000 Pacific sauries are chargrilled during the Meguro Pacific Saury Festival.



The Meguro Pacific Saury Festival usually takes place at the beginning of September within the shopping district in front of JR Meguro Station, Tokyo. Over 7,000 Pacific sauries from Iwate Prefecture’s Miyako City are chargrilled using high-grade charcoal from Wakayama Prefecture’s Minabe Town. Preparations also include about 10,000 sudachi (Japanese citrus fruit) from Tokushima Prefecture’s Kamiyama Town and 500 daikon radishes from Tochigi Prefecture’s Nasushiobara City. The chargrilled sauries are then handed out for free to visitors. This festival is extremely popular so there’ll definitely be lines! You may even have to wait anywhere from three to five hours to get your serving.


Event Information 

Name: Meguro Sanma Festival
Location: Shopping Street Palm, Meguro Station, Tokyo
Event Period: Usually around early September (Please check the official website for the latest dates and information.)
Access: JR Meguro Station East Exit

Website: Shinagawa Sightseeing Association (Official)

Luigans Fall Sanma Festival (Fukuoka Prefecture)



Luigans Fall Sanma Festival
Taste and experience good food while basking in nature at the Luigans Fall Sanma Festival.



THE LUIGANS Spa & Resort can be found in the National Government Park Umi-no-Nakamichi, and each fall, it celebrates the Luigans Fall Sanma Festival.
It prepares over 1,000 Pacific sauries and offers around half for free to its guests. There is also Japanese sake and stall food available, allowing visitors to fully experience an authentic Japanese festival experience!


Event information 

Name: Luigans Fall Sanma Festival
Event Date: Every November 
Location: THE LUIGANS Spa & Resort (18-25 Saitozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka)
Access: 5-minute walk from JR Hakata Station to HEARTS Bus Station Hakata 1F where a free shuttle is available

Website: The LUIGANS Spa & Resorts (official)

Plus: How to enjoy Pacific saury

  • When eating Pacific saury, it is best not to put soy sauce directly on the fish. Instead, pour it over some shredded daikon (white radishes), and then savor both the fish and daikon together. If you place the shredded daikon on one half and squeeze some sudachi on the other, it creates a great, balanced, and refreshing taste.
    How to tell if Pacific saury is delicious or not? Check if it’s young and glossy across its entire body. 


(3)    Come winter, it’s time for crabs! Visit Hokkaido and Niigata for their crab-related events


fresh crabs in Hokkaido and Niigata
Seafood lovers will enjoy eating fresh crabs in Hokkaido and Niigata.


While crabs abound within Japan’s waters, snow crabs (or queen crabs) are available during winter, as are hairy crabs, which are known for their tasty miso-like paste. Have your fill of these and other seasonal delights in these Japan festivals.


Nemuro Crab Festival (Hokkaido)


the Nemuro Crab Festival for the elusive Hanasaki crabs
Locals and tourists flock to the Nemuro Crab Festival for the elusive Hanasaki crabs.


Named after the port in Nemuro where they are caught, Hanasaki crabs are found in a single part of Hokkaido’s eastern coastline where there are very few hauls each year. Thus, they’re also known as Phantom Crabs, and starting around the end of August to early September annually, locals and tourists look forward to the Nemuro Crab Festival.


Hanasaki crabs
Hanasaki crabs are good, whether boiled, served as Teppo soup, or as mixed crab tempura with rice.


Each year sees many visitors flocking to try the famed crab at discounted prices. If you visit this event, the Teppo soup and mixed crab tempura rice bowl are a must-try. And don’t miss unique events like the one that pits people against each other to see who can eat crab the fastest! 

Event Information

Name: Nemuro Crab Festival
Event Period: Annually on a weekend around the end of August or early September (Please check the official website for the latest dates and information.)
Location: Nemuro Port (1 Chome Kaigan-cho, Nemuro-shi, Hokkaido)
Access: 10 minutes via car from the JR Nemuro Main Line Nemuro Station

Website: Nemuro Crab Festival (Japanese)

Niidachi Oonabe Festival (Niigata)


the festival’s food tent village in Niigata
Savor local cuisine at the festival’s food tent village in Niigata.


This festival takes place during the middle of September in the Umiterasu Nadachi found in Joetsu City, Niigata. It brings together 500 people who all make giant hot pots of crab soup, shrimp soup, minced fish soup, Japanese dumpling soup, and much more, all sold at affordable prices! We also highly recommend the nearby food tent village, where you can try some of Nadachi’s local cuisine.


large hot pots of crab soup
Organizers prepare large hot pots of crab soup and much more.


You can even take a nice, long, relaxing bath after eating your fill at the nearby Umiterasu Nadachi while looking out onto the Japanese ocean with the backdrop of the setting sun. It’s simply perfect.

Event Information

Name: Nadachi Oonabe Festival
Event Period: 2 days during early September
Location: Umiterasu Nadachi (4280-1 Nadachiomachi, Nadachi-ku, Joetsu-shi, Niigata)
Access: 10-minute walk from the JR Hokuriku Line Niidachi Station


Plus: Where’s the best-tasting crab?

  • If we’re talking about where the most delicious crab can be found in Japan, then look no further than Hokkaido!
    Other areas where crabs can be found in abundance include the San'in region (Tottori, Shimane, Hyogo, and Kyoto’s northern section) as well as the Hokuriku region (Fukui, Ishikawa, Fukuyama, Niigata).

※Due to COVID-19, certain event timings/availability may differ from those stated in this article.


Your Bucket List:

Here is the list of some must-do foodies experiences in Japan!


Japan Fruits picking and enjoy them on the spot! Easy accessible fruit picking farms within 2 hours from Tokyo


From Blowfish to Oyster! Luxurious Seafood Cuisines in the Chugoku・Shikoku areas


Fruit in Season from Summer to Autumn! Fruit picking spots in the kingdom of fruit - Tohoku


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