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Story Enjoy Good Japanese Food while Immersing Yourselves in Japan Experiences By JNTO on 25 December 2019

Japanese food and local experiences

Now that you have come all the way to Japan, you may yearn to try unique local experiences, besides the usual sightseeing and signature Japanese food.

Have you ever imagined enjoying the famous Matsusaka beef in an ancient residence or catching fresh smelt for making tempura? This time, we are going to look at these new and special activities whereby you can also savour great tastes of Japan!


Indulge in Hot Pot in Kamakura Igloos!
(Nagano Prefecture)

Kamakura igloos

Shinanodaira of Iiyama city lies at the border between Nagano and Niigata prefectures, and is the extremely snowy area. For a short one-month period from late January to late February, you can find about 15, 20 Kamakura igloos at the “Kamakura village”. You can reserve the seats for “Restaurant Kamakura Village” serving “Noroshi Nabe (Noroshi hot pot)”. This is a local delicacy in the Shinshu (the traditional name for Nagano) area with shinshu miso and local ingredients. Warm yourselves with this delicious hot pot while you enjoy your time in the igloos and snow.

Noroshi Nabe (Noroshi hot pot)

Japanese sweet fermented rice wine

You will also be amazed by other tasty food and fun activities that Nagano has to offer, including Oshiruko (sweet red bean soup),amazake (Japanese sweet fermented rice wine) and,various exciting snow rides. Conclude your wonderful experience here by visiting the Kamakura Shrine with its bright-red Torii gate contrasting strikingly against the white snow- embark on a journey to Nagano for all these!

Restaurant Kamakura Village

  • Restaurant Kamakura Village
  • Address: Kotobuki, Iiyama city, Nagano prefecture
  • Access: 15-minute drive from JR Hokuriku Shinkansen Iiyama station, or 20-minute bus bound for Iiyama
  • Opening period: 24th January – 1st March 2020
  • Opening hours: [Weekday Lunch] 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. & 1:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.; [Weekday Dinner] 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.[Weekend & Holiday Lunch] 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m. & 1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. [Weekend & Holiday Dinner]5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. -7:30 p.m.


Traditional Way of Cooking Rice and Matsusaka Beef Sukiyaki in the Farmer’s Guesthouse (Mie Prefecture)

“The Best Hometown Village in Japan- Taiki-cho” is a guest house renovated from an old farmer residence. Its owners offer accommodation packages with traditional rice-cooking workshop using the Kamado stove (with local mountain vegetables like shiitake mushroom) or sukiyaki meal of the famed Matsusaka beef, and vegetable harvesting experience.
Taiki-cho is famous for fattening its local Nanaho cattles for Matsusaka beef. And its wagyu won the competition of Matsusaka beef in two years consecutively from 2017 to 2018. In the rice cooking workshop, participants are able to use natural spring water! The water is the important things to cook delicious rice. Under the starry sky at night, guests can explore nature and even get to see some wild animals too! This canbecome your wonderful mountain-accommodation experience in Japan!

  • NPO The Best Hometown Village in Japan- Taiki-cho
  • Address: 974-2, Kanawa, Taiki-cho, Watarai-gun, Mie prefecture
  • Access: 8-minute drive from JR Tokai Kawazoe station
  • Operating hours: [Day trip package] 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.; [Accommodation] Check-in: 3:00 p.m.. Check-out: 10:00 a.m.

Ice-Fishing “Smelt” and Enjoying Your Fresh Catch as Tempura!

Ice-Fishing “Smelt” and Enjoying Your Fresh Catch as Tempura

“Smelt” refers to the small fishes found in lakes in cold areas. Fishing through a drilled hole in the ice is a unique winter activity. In Japan, it can be done at “Lake Akan”, or “Lake Abashiri” in Hokkaido, as well as at the paradise of smelt fishing- “Lake Hibara” in Fukushima prefecture.

Fishing through a drilled hole in the ice

Another place worth checking out is “Lake Matsubara” in Koumi city of Nagano prefecture, which is located on the foot of Yatsugatake mountains. Whereas in Kanto area, ice-fishing fanatics can try out “Akagi Onuma” or “Lake Yamanaka” in Gunma prefecture, or Kanagawa prefecture’s “Lake Sagami”, the closest spot to enjoy near Tokyo. Be mindful that ice fishing happens below zero degrees Celsius. Even in sunny days, you definitely need proper cold protection.
Alternatively, you may try the “dome boat” exclusive for smelt fishing as a way to avoid the freezing wait on the ice.

dome boat

Itineraries change according to the package, but usually your exciting experience is concluded by tasting the smelt by cooking it as tempura, either right at the fishing site or in restaurants nearby!

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