Japan’s Must Try Regional Eats


Although dishes such as sushi and ramen may be the first to pop into mind when thinking about Japanese food, the country’s culinary landscape is actually quite diverse with specialty dishes and regional delicacies unique to each and every prefecture. As trying local eats is perhaps one of the best things about travel, it’s always recommended that you sample regional flavors as much as you can – especially when venturing into the Japanese countryside. Here are just a few fun and flavorful regional eats and where to find them.
For more suggestions and culinary activities, visit our “Food & Drink in Japan” page here: https://www.japan.travel/en/things-to-do/eat-and-drink/


Slurping Soba in Shimane

©Shimane Prefecture

Soba is a widespread type of noodle in Japan with many regional variations on flavor and consistency. One of the three most popular variations is Izumo soba which is notable for its darker color and rich buckwheat flavor as the buckwheat is ground whole with the outer shell included. A common way to enjoy Izumo soba is Warigo style in which the soba is served in 3 separate stacked lacquer bowls. The sauce is poured over the noodles rather than used for dipping and leftover sauce from the top bowl is poured over subsequent bowls to further develop the sauce’s flavor. November is the best time to enjoy Izumo soba and coincides with festivals celebrating the buckwheat harvest. After you’ve enjoyed your fill of soba, be sure to visit highlights such as the sacred Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine, Matsue Castle, and Tamatsukuri Onsen.

Learn more: https://www.japan.travel/en/destinations/chugoku/shimane/


Savory Miso in Gifu

©Gifu Prefecture

Referred to locally as Gifu’s soul food, miso is an ingredient that is lifted up in specialty dishes such as keichan – a miso marinated chicken dish. But it is in a dish called hoba miso where miso really takes the center stage. Hoba or magnolia leaves, chosen for their natural flame retardant properties, are used to cook miso over a charcoal grill and usually accompanied by leeks, woodsy mushrooms, and Gifu’s other savory regional delicacy – Hida beef. The result is a mouthwatering balance of flavors that you’ll be thinking about long after you return home. Don’t miss the quaint cities of Takayama and historic folk villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama while you visit.

Learn more: https://visitgifu.com/discover-gifu/food-drink/


Fresh Seafood in Hokkaido

©Kay Allen

Although fresh and delicious seafood can be found throughout Japan, the ice-cold waters surrounding Hokkaido’s shores produce arguably the freshest tasting seafood in the country. There is perhaps no better way to enjoy Hokkaido’s seafood bounty than to sample the variety offered in kaisendon, a seafood bowl over rice. Delicacies such as sea urchin (uni), salmon roe (ikura), and scallops (hotate) are particularly popular additions and the fall months of September to November is a great time to enjoy certain seasonal fish such as saury and smelt. Morning markets such as the Hakodate Asaichi and the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market are great places to sample fresh seafood in Hokkaido.

Learn more: https://www.japan.travel/en/japan-magazine/1903_hokkaido02/


Cooking Kiritanpo in Akita


The northern region of Tohoku is known for its warm inviting locals and regional dishes that will warm you up on the inside as well. One such comfort food is kiritanpo, a pounded rice dish roasted on cedar sticks over a hearth and served with a hotpot of local meats and vegetables. You can even get really hands-on with this dish and make it yourself – with the help of local guides of course. This savory and heartwarming dish is the perfect way to interact with locals and beat the chillier Tohoku weather like a native. Autumn is an excellent time to enjoy Kiritanpo and also the fall foliage in must visit areas like the Kakunodate Samurai District and picturesque Dakigaeri Gorge.

Learn more: https://www.tohokukanko.jp/en/attractions/detail_2029.html





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