December 11, 2023

Are there any regional specialties I should try in Japan?

What are the Japanese regional cuisines you must try? Read our blog and learn about the Japanese cuisines to try on your Japan tour.

Japan is renowned not only for its rich cultural heritage and technological advancements but also for its diverse and delectable regional cuisines that reflect the country's geographical and historical diversity. Japanese cuisine is a fascinating tapestry woven from the threads of unique flavors, traditional culinary techniques, and local ingredients. 

Each region boasts its own distinct culinary identity, contributing to the nation's gastronomic landscape. The seafood-centric dishes of coastal areas to the hearty and comforting fare of mountainous regions. Japan's culinary map is a journey through a myriad of tastes and textures.

In Hokkaido, the northernmost island, you'll encounter different types of food. You will get fresh seafood, dairy products, and hearty vegetables, influencing a cuisine that thrives in cold climates. On the other hand, the Kansai region includes cities like Kyoto and Osaka. These cities are famed for their refined and traditional dishes, such as the delicate Kyoto kaiseki and Osaka's iconic street foods. 

Moving to the southwestern island of Kyushu, flavors become more robust, with a penchant for bold spices and hot pots. 

List of Regional Cuisines in Japan

What do people in Japan eat? Japan boasts a diverse culinary landscape, with each region offering unique flavors and specialties. Tourists exploring Japan's rich culinary scene should not miss the opportunity to savor the following regional cuisines:

  1. Kaiseki in Kyoto

Kyoto, the cultural heart of Japan, is renowned for its traditional multi-course kaiseki meals. Kaiseki emphasizes seasonal ingredients and meticulous presentation, providing a culinary journey that reflects the city's cultural heritage.

  1. Sushi in Tokyo

There are many famous restaurants in Tokyo where you can try regional food. Tokyo, the bustling metropolis, is a sushi lover's paradise. From conveyor belt sushi joints to high-end omakase experiences, visitors can indulge in the freshest and most skillfully crafted sushi, showcasing the city's cutting-edge culinary scene.

  1. Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki

In Hiroshima, okonomiyaki, a savory pancake, takes on a unique form. Layered with noodles, cabbage, and various toppings, Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is a must-try, offering a delicious twist on this popular Japanese comfort food.

  1. Osaka Street Food

Often referred to as the "Kitchen of Japan," Osaka is famous for its vibrant street food culture. Tourists should explore the bustling streets of Dotonbori to sample iconic dishes like takoyaki (octopus balls), okonomiyaki (savory pancake), and kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers).

  1. Hakata Ramen in Fukuoka

Fukuoka, located on the island of Kyushu, is renowned for its rich and flavorful tonkotsu ramen. Hakata ramen features a creamy pork bone broth and thin, straight noodles, creating a satisfying bowl that has become a regional specialty.

  1. Kaiseki in Kanazawa

Kanazawa, known for its historic districts and traditional crafts, offers a distinctive kaiseki experience. The city's proximity to the Sea of Japan dishes ensures that seafood plays a prominent role in its kaiseki cuisine, providing a unique and delightful dining experience.

  1. Hokkaido Seafood Delights

Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, is a paradise for seafood lovers. Visitors can savor the freshest seafood, including sushi, sashimi, and grilled seafood dishes, all sourced from the cold and pristine waters surrounding the island.

  1. Takayama Hida Beef in Gifu

Hida beef in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture, is renowned for its marbling and tenderness. Indulge in dishes like Hida beef sushi, yakiniku (grilled meat), and hearty hot pots, showcasing the excellence of this regional delicacy.

  1. Nagoya Hitsumabushi

A specialty in Nagoya, Hitsumabushi is a style of grilled eel (unagi) preparation. The dish is enjoyed in three different ways: first as is, then with condiments, and finally mixed with broth and rice, providing a delightful progression of flavors.

  1. Ise Ebi in Mie

Mie Prefecture is the food in Japan that is famous for its Ise ebi, a type of spiny lobster. Enjoy this delicacy in various forms, from sashimi to grilled, showcasing the sweet and succulent flavors of the local seafood.

  1. Kakuni Manju in Nagasaki

Nagasaki's kakuni manju is a steamed bun filled with braised pork belly, creating a harmonious blend of sweet and savory flavors. This dish reflects Nagasaki's historical ties to international trade and culinary influences.

  1. Yuba in Nikko

Nikko, near Tokyo, is known for yuba, or tofu skin. Visitors can try yuba in various forms, such as in hot pots, salads, or wrapped around sushi. The delicate and creamy texture of yuba is a unique and delightful culinary experience.

These are the best food in Japan. Exploring these regional cuisines allows tourists to appreciate the diverse culinary traditions that make Japan a captivating destination for food enthusiasts.