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The Ultimate Food Guide

for Japan

Ultimate Food Guide for Japan

by Winnie Wong | January 10, 2020

There are 8 main prefectures in Japan, each prefectures have their own regional delicacies and their own twist on a national dish. You may be surprised to find that your favourite dish from Nagasaki is suddenly non-exsistent in Kyoto. Even common cuisine that is well-known and well-loved by all Japanese is not necessarily prepared the same way in one region to another.

I am going to walk you through the main regions in Japan for your ultimate Japan food guide: Hokkaido – Tohoku – Kanto (Tokyo) – Chubu – Kansai – Chugoku – Shikoku – Kyushu

Hokkaido is a northern prefecture that covers Japan’s second largest island. Hokkaido is known for its beautiful winters, national parks and best of all: fresh seafood! Throughout Hokkaido, there are many diverse local specialties from Genghis Khan barbecue to tribal plates like ruibe (るいべ) which is similar to salmon sashimi.

Tohoku sits on the northern edge of Japan’s largest island, Honshuu. The region is popular for its scenic landscape that consists of mountains, lakes, and hot springs. What’s more is that lots of high quality rice, apples and pears are produced in Tohoku’s prefectures.

Sitting on the east side of Japan, the Kanto region hosts many populated prefectures such as Tokyo and Kanagawa. With two of Japan’s largest cities, views of Mount Fuji, and highly rated food from international guides, the Kanto region is a hottest tourist destination.

The Chubu region stretches from coast to coast and sits between the Kanto and Kansai regions. Many leading ski resorts sit inside of Chubu. When you’re not skiing or hiking in the Japanese alps, travelers can dine on firefly squid sushi, or some of Japan’s best sake.

Kansai region of western Japan has long been famous for its food, and many well-known Japanese dishes come from this area. Traditionally, Kansai food is based around dishes made with high-quality, flavorful dashi stock and light soy sauce. The people of Osaka, a major part of Kansai, are enthusiastic about their local food—so enthusiastic, in fact, that it’s often joked about how Osakans will spend all their money indulging on food until they go bankrupt.

Chugoku has its own share of unforgettable sights and tastes. It is home to amazing local dishes that offer a taste of excellent local vegetables, tofu, and fresh seafood from the Sea of Japan to the north, and the Seto Inland Sea to the south.

Shikoku is a region where the mild climate, bountiful nature, kind locals, and slow pace of life create a pleasant atmosphere of tradition and country charm. Bordered by the Seto Inland Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south, Shikoku was accessible only by ferryboat until 1988, adding to the impression of the island being far removed from the busy pace of Tokyo and Osaka.

Kyushu’s volcanic soil is packed with nutrients, which along with its warm temperate climate makes the area an agricultural paradise. In addition, Kyushu was a major trading port in previous times, even when the rest of Japan was closed off to foreign countries, which has given the area a unique food culture that seamlessly blends together Japanese, Chinese, and Western sensibilities. Kyushu is also where the country takes great pride in its food and onsen culture.

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