This is part two of two for my “Famous Foods of Every Japanese Prefecture” series. In part one, I covered the famous foods of the Central, East, and Northern prefectures of Japan. Now I’m going to cover everything else. That includes the Western half of Japan as well as anything to the South. We saw a lot of soups and stews in the colder regions of part one. I wonder what we’ll find here now that things are getting warmer?
Mie Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Ise Udon – Concentrated soy sauce and sweet cooking sake are used to make a broth that goes over thick udon noodles.
2. Tekonezushi – Supposedly taught to a fisherman by Kobo Daishi. Bonito and sushi rice go together to create this concoctions.
3. Ise Ebi Ryouri (Ise Lobster Food) – If you run into ebi in Ise, it’s probably good.
Shiga Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Funazushi – Buna (Crucian Carp) is packed in salt for a year and then dried and mixed with rice. This mixture’s then fermented another three years. Mmm, delicious.
2. Kamo Nabe (Duck Hot Pot) – This is what it sounds like. Duck (yum) in a hot pot with other ingredients. It’s the duck that makes it good, though.
3. Ayu No Tsukudani - This is baby sweetfish cooked in sweet soy sauce. Goes well with alcohol, I’d imagine.
Kyoto Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Kaiseki Ryori (Traditional Multi Course Dinner) – This isn’t necessarily just one dish, but many. In fact, that’s what this is type of food is all about. It’s the traditional Japanese multi course dinner, which comes with multiple courses, duh.
2. Kyou Tsukemono (Kyoto Pickles) – These are pickles made in Kyoto. They’re known for their simplicity and come in other varieties.
3. Obanzai – Sea vegetables, eggplants, herring, codfish, salted mackerel, tofu, and boiled daikon.
Osaka Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Okonomiyaki - This is a kind of savory pancake with various ingredients, like shredded cabbage, pork belly, octopus, squid, shrimp, other vegetables and other things. We wrote a very controversial article (not really) about it.
2. Takoyaki – These round shaped nom noms are made with a wheat flour based batter and filled with other delicious things, most notably the tako (octopus), but also ginger, green onion, and more. One of the most delicious things in the world.
3. Kitsune Udon (Fox Udon) – This is udon topped with aburage.
Hyogo Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Akashiyaki – Small round dumpling from the city of Akashi. The batter is made from egg and octopus and is dipped into a dashi before eating.
2. Kobe Beef – This shouldn’t need any explanation as it’s famous world wide. Massage those cows and feed them beer. Mmm, nom.
3. Ikanago no kukini - Ikanago are small fish. Then, they’re taken and cooked in soy sauce, ginger, mirin, and sugar to turn it into this dish. Eat it with rice and alcohol, it’ll be good.
Nara Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Kaki no Ha Zushi – This is a pressed sushi using slices of mackerel. They’re wrapped in persimmon leaves because of their antibacterial properties.
2. Miwa Soumen – This is just somen, but it’s from Miwa which is particularly famous for making somen, so, that means it’s pretty good.
3. Yamato no Chagayu – This is a kind of rice gruel that is apparently very Japanese, or very old. Not sure which. Probably old, considering it’s Nara Prefecture.
Wakayama Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Kujira no Tatsuta Age (Deep Fried Whale) – This is battered and deep fried whale meat. So, if eating whale makes you queezy you’ll want to avoid this one.
2. Meharizushi – A rice ball covered with a pickled takana leaf (mustard leaf). The pickled taste and the onigiri (rice ball) go nicely together.
3. Kue Nabe- This is a nabe made from the longtooth grouper (kue). It includes other nabe-ish ingredients too.
Tottori Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Matsubagani Ryouri – The Matsubagani is the “snow crab.” It has super long arms and is super tasty. If you’re in Tottori you’ll want to try Matsubagani no matter how it’s prepared.
2. Kanijuu (Crab Soup) – More crab! This time in a soup.
3. Oyama Okowa – This rice is soaked for a night and then cooked with various tasty things. Seems like a nice and filling meal.
Shimane Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Izumo Soba – This is Izumo’s style soba. The interesting part about this soba is that the grains are ground with the husks still on making the taste different (and probably making it better for you). Another thing that makes it different is you pour the sauce on the soba instead of dipping the soba in the sauce.
2. Shijimi Jiru – Shimiji clamsin broth, seasoned with soy sauce / miso. Clamtastic, this one is.
3. Taimeishi – Tai, the dumbest fish in the sea (or restaurant). Shimane is known for its Tai-rice dish where the tai is put together with the rice. Looks just about perfect.
Okayama Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Okayama Barazushi – Rich, fresh seafood and vegetables on top of sushi rice. Looks pretty.
2. Hiruzen Okowa – Steamed rice with red beans. Supposedly this dish came about when someone accidentally mixed the red beans with the rice thinking it was something else. What a nice mistake.
3. Mamakari Zushi – The mamakari is of the sardinella family and in this case is made into sushi. Though, Okayama is somewhat known for its non-sushi mamakari sushi dishes too.
Hiroshima Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Hiroshima Okonomiyaki – The difference with Hiroshima’s Okonomiyaki is that instead of mixing the ingredients you layer them, making things a bit taller, especially considering you use 3-4 times the amount of cabbage. It’s like Okonomiyaki x4.
2. Kaki Ryouri (Oyster Cooking) - If you’re in Hiroshima, get something with oysters. It’ll probably be good.
3. Anago Meshidon (Eel Rice Bowl) – Conger eel on top of rice. Looking good, eel.
Yamaguchi Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Fugu Ryouri (Blowfish Cooking) – Feel like putting your life on the line? Have some blowfish. It’s well known in Yamaguchi, so if you are going to do it anywhere might as well be here.
2. Fugu Sashi (Fugu Slices) – This is just thinly cut sashimi. Probably my favorite way to have fugu.
3. Shirouo Ryouri (Ice Goby Cooking) – The Ice Goby is a tiny little fish. Yamaguchi Prefecture is known for cooking them well.
Tokushima Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Sobagome Zosui – This is buckwheat grain that has been made into a thick porridge. Since rice isn’t suitable to grow in this region buckwheat is pretty big. This porridge is served with various toppings and ingredients.
2. Tarai Udon – This is udon that’s placed into a wooden basin filled with hot water. Take the udon out and dip it into the dipping sauce, kind of like you’d do with soba, but this is udon!
3. Iya Soba – Iya is a district of Tokushima, and here they make soba that’s put in soup broth of iroko along with other ingredients on top.
Kagawa Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Sanuki Udon – Sanuki is what Kagawa Prefecture used to be named, so this is basically “Kagawa Udon.” With Sanuki udon, you usually have udon noodles served al dente with a broth of tuna + kelp.
2. Shippoku Udon – This is udon prepared with lots of vegetables, often served in Winter. The vegetables are boiled first then put on the noodles as toppings. Sounds very healthy.
3. Iriko Meshi – This is sardine put on top of and cooked with rice. Sounds like a match made in heaven, to be honest.
Ehime Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Uwajima Tai Meshi – This is a rice dish made with Tai that’s served in the Uwajima district of Ehime. If you’re in Uwajima be sure to look out for this one.
2. Jakoten – This cake is made from small fish that are blended into a paste and then fried. Basically, this is a fish cake made from Hotarujako, a small white fish, though it’s hard to notice that when they’re blended into a cake.
3. Satsuma-jiru – This is a miso-flavored pork and vegetable stew / soup.
Kouchi Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Katsuo no Tataki – This is seared bonito that has been sliced. Apparently it’s good raw, but very good seared. It’s eaten with grated ginger (and other things as well, depending on your location).
2. Sawachi Ryouri – Traditionally this consisted of sashimi and sushi, but recently other types of food have been included as well. Basically, this is a bunch of food served on a huge plate (called a sawachi). You can see that from the image above.
3. Katsuo no Tosazukuri – This is another version of #1, Katsuo no Tataki. They’re both pretty similar, possibly the same, but you should eat both anyways.
Fukuoka Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Mentaiko – This marinated roe of pollock. This originally came from Korea, though apparently the Japanese version is a little different. It actually was nominated as Japan’s number one side dish in the Shuukan Bushun back in the day, apparently.
2. Motsu Nabe – This nabe dish is made from beef or pork offal, which is usually beef intestines.
3. Tori no Mizutaki – This is another nabe dis, this time vegetables and chicken.
Saga Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Yobiko no Ika Ryouri (Yobiko Squid Cooking) – Yobiko is a town in Saga Prefecture. They apparently make good squid. Eat said squid and enjoy.
2. Mutsugurou no Kabayaki (Charcoaled Mudskipper) – This is what it sounds like, charcoaled mudskipper. What’s a mudskipper, you ask? Well, that’s a wetlands fish that is amphibious and can walk on land using its fins. No wonder they eat these. It’d be terrifying if their population got out of control.
3. Dagojiru – this is a soup that has noodles, chicken, and many kinds of vegetables in it. A good, healthy energy boosting dish, especially in winter, I’d imagine.
Nagasaki Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Sara Udon / Chanpon – Literally “plate” udon, this is when you put a base of noodles on a plate, then cover them with cabbage, bean sprouts, other vegetables, squid, prawns, pork, and other things. If you use thicker noodles it’s called Chanpon, but they’re very similar besides that.
2. Shippoku Ryori – This is a type of cooking that comes from traditional formal banquets in ancient China. Circular tables are arranged with Japanese and Chinese delicacies, as well as foods introduced by European traders. Remember, Nagasaki was the only contact Japan had with the outside world for a long time, so it has lots of international influence!
3. Sasebo Burger – This is a handmade burger from Sasebo. This recipe came from the American navy and was handed down to Japan where it eventually became famous. Apparently these burgers are very good though I have yet to try one. Even though you’d think there’s no reason to eat hamburgers in Japan, this may be one situation where the rules don’t apply.
Kumamoto Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Basashi – Sliced horse. Yes, you can eat horse sashimi in Japan.
2. Ikinari Dango – Steamed bun with chunks of sweet potato in the dough. Inside is anko (red bean paste).
3. Karashirenkon (Mustard Lotus Root) - Karashi is a type of spicy mustard. Renkon is lotus root. Put them together and… you have karashirenkon! Make sure you slice it up before eating it. Don’t eat it like a hotdog.
Oita Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Buri no Atsumeshi – Slices of raw yellowtail that have been marinated in a soy sauce / sugar / vinegar / sake mixture are served over hot rice. Also included are things like green onion, nori, and sesame seeds.
2. Gomadashi Udon – This is fish that is grilled the crushed and mixed with soy sauce and sesame seeds. It’s then put over udon.
3. Tenobe Dango Jiru – These are hand stretched dumpling noodles served in a savory soup.
Miyazaki Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Miyazaki no Sumibiyaki – This is chicken meat that’s cut up and grilled over charcoal until black. The charred taste is what makes this one good. It also probably gives you stomach cancer.
2. Hiyajiru – Small fish are grilled and crushed then blended with sesame seeds and miso. It’s then put in a soup with cucumber and cucumber.
3. Chicken Nanban – This is a Kyushu style fried chicken that’s been briefly marinated in a sweet-sour-salty-spicy sauce called nanban sauce (thus the nanban).
Kagoshima Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Tori Meshi – This is chicken rice with various things on top of it.
2. Kibinago Ryouri – This is a small silver fish that lives off of Kagoshima. There are many ways to eat it, but the most common looks to be as sashimi along with a miso dip. Other ways include grilled, simmered, deep-fried, and in soups.
3. Tonkotsu Ryouri – Tonkotsu is pork that is cooked very slowly so it can be soft. It’s pretty much delicious in everything as Kagoshima has also figured out.
Okinawa Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Soki Soba – This is a soba that is served with stewed pork spare ribs with the cartilage attached.
2. Goya Chanpuru – This consists of tofu combined with vegetables, meat, or fish (and sometimes spam!). Bittermelon seems to be a very common vegetable here.
3. Rafutee - Pork belly that’s tender, succulent, and a lot like bacon… but better. It’s seasoned with a ginger broth, awamori, and water. Basically, it’s delicious, and like bacon, kind of.
Get The “Famous Foods Of Every Japanese Prefecture” Cheat Sheet!
I’ve also put together a cheatsheet for you. It’s in our Guides section and has a pretty version, a printable version, and a text version so that way you can print it out or put it on your phone. Basically, no matter where you go in Japan you’ll now know what you should be eating, because that’s kind of important. Click on the link below to go to this guide:
There you have it. I hope you didn’t read this right before lunch or dinner, because that would be cruel and unusual punishment. Enjoy the cheat sheets and tell us about all the great food you end up eating / have already eaten, because if there’s one thing the internet needs more of its people posting things about food.