Since we’re getting ready to pop over to Japan to do some filming, I wanted to do some research on all the famous foods of every area in Japan. Japan’s really into the whole “famous things in each area” thing, and food is no exception. Each prefecture has its own famous food(s) that they’re known for. Might as well know what they are to eat them, right? The hard part is figuring out what all the famous foods are, since there are many and it’s unclear as to what is the most famous food in certain situations.
So, I’ve been doing my research. Because there are so many prefectures and so many famous foods, I’m going to be breaking this article up into two parts. One for North, East, and Central prefectures of Japan, and one for West and South prefectures of Japan. At the end of the second part, we’ll also include a printout that has a map with numbers on all the prefectures corresponding to a list down below it. That way you can print this out, take it with you, and go on a rompy food excursion in Japan.
Each prefecture will be given 3 famous foods with the exception of a few (like Hokkaido, which is really, really big and tasty). While there are many other famous foods in every single prefecture, these are the ones that seemed to be the most famous.
Hokkaido Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Uni, Ikura-don (Sea Urchin and Salmon Roe Rice Bowl) – This is simply a rice bowl that’s one half ikura (salmon roe) and one half uni (sea urchin). They’ve pretty much just combined two of the best seafoods into one donburi, and that makes me hungry.
2. Kaisen-don (Seafood rice bowl) – This is also a rice bowl, but instead of just having two things it has many things. This donburi has many kinds of seafoods on top, which can include crab, shrimp, uni, ikura, salmon, tuna, and more.
3. Jingisukan (Grilled mutton) – This is a yakiniku style dish that’s served on a convex metal skillet or grill. The meat used is lamb which was said to be the meat of choice for Genghis Khan (the dish is named after him), and the skillet is shaped like their helmets which they supposedly cooked their food on.
4. Ishikari Nabe (Salmon and vegetable stew with miso and butter) – This stew is a miso based stew that includes some Hokkaido salmon. Great to eat in the cold Hokkaido winters.
5. Nama Uni Donburi (Raw sea urchin rice bowl) – More rice bowls! This is just donburi that’s all uni all the way. Personally, I’d get #1 because I wouldn’t be able to choose which topping I’d want, but this is a close second.
6. Chan Chan Yaki (Salmon Hotpot) – This is known as the fisherman’s hot pot. It includes salmon and vegetables and comes seasoned in a miso-based sauce.
Aomori Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Ichigoni aka Strawberry Stew (Sea urchin and abalone stew) – The sea urchin and abalone are boiled in dashi and seasoned with a bit of salt and shoyu (soy sauce). Sounds simple, but also sounds tasty, too. It gets this name not for having strawberries but for being a pinkish color, which is kind of like the color of strawberries.
2. Senbei Jiru (Senbei Soup) – If you’ve never had senbei, you’re missing out. If you’ve never had senbei jiru, well, you ought to try it. It’s probably not like the senbei you’re thinking of though. Senbei jiru tends to use fresh senbei which makes a lot more sense when you consider it’s being put in a soup.
3. Ooma Maguro Tuna Dishes – Ooma is a port known for their tuna. So, this one is getting all grouped together. There are apparently various Maguro Tuna dishes in Ooma Port that are worth trying. If you’re in Ooma, you’ll definitely want to order the tuna.
Iwate Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Morioka Reimen (Cold Korean Ramen) – This cold noodle ramen is similar to the North Korean dish Naengmyeon, except the noodles in Japan are made from potato starch. It has a spicy cold beef broth and often includes fruit to help cut the spicy.
2. Morioka Jajamen (Thick Chinese noodles with meat-miso sauce) – These noodles are bigger and more like udon. It’s a Chinese noodle dish that is topped with cucumber, green onion, ginger, a meat-miso sauce and more.
3. Wanko Soba (Small Bowl Soba) – This soba dish is served in small bowls. One theory is because during a festival there wasn’t enough soba to go around, so it was put into smaller bowls so everyone could have a taste. Oh Japan and your small bowls.
Miyagi Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Gyuutan Yaki (Roast Cow Tongue) – This is what it sounds like… roast cow tongue. It’s usually sliced in to thin pieces so it’s easier to eat. It’s not like you have to stick the whole cow tongue in your mouth. Moo.
2. Zundamochi (Soy bean mochi / rice cake) – This is basically mochi covered in a soy bean paste. Mochi is good. Soy beans are good. Why not combine them together?
3. Kaki Ryori (Oyster Dishes) – Oyster dishes are well known for in Miyagi Prefecture. So, kind of like Ooma and its maguro, if you see an oyster dish in Miyagi it’s probably worth a try.
Akita Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Kiritanpo Nabe (Kiritanpo Hot Pot) – This dish is like… super well known in Akita. It’s a hot pot dish served with kiritanbo, which is made from cooked rice that’s mashed and then formed into cylindars. Many other ingredients are included as well (just as with most nabe) but the kiritanpo is what makes it so well known.
2. Inaniwa Udon – This is a type of udon that’s, well, thin. Normally when you get udon the noodles are thick.
3. Hata Hata Zushi – Known as the “God Fish” for some reason, this fish is a bit sticky and doesn’t have scales. It’s one of those prefecture fishes you’ll mainly find in Akita, though, which probably is why it is kind of famous here.
Yamagata Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Imo Nabe (Potato Stew) – This is essentially a potato nabe. Must be good though since it seems to come in at number one.
2. Tamago Konyaku (Ball Konyaku) – This is konyaku (nearly zero calories!) in the shape of balls, cooked in various ways.
3. Dongara Jiru (Dongara Soup) – This soup contains gray cod cut into large chunks and includes the bones, head and innards. It also includes many other ingredients as well and is a good dish for warming you up in the winter!
Fukushima Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Kozuyu – This is a clear soup that contains dried scallop, vegetables, and more. Definitely has a distinct look to it, but looks tasty I think!
2. Kenchin Udon – This is a lot like Kenchin soup (see Ibaraki Prefecture), a soup with lots of roots and vegetables in a tasty broth. Looks like they add udon to theirs, though, making it a bit unique.
3. Nishin no Sanshou Zuke (Pickled Herring) – This is pickled herring that is layered in leaves of sansho and fermented in shoyu, sake, vinegar, and sugar. That way, you can eat it year round!
Niigata Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Noppei Jiru (Noppei Soup) – This soup is made from leftover vegetable parts cooked in sesame oil. This is often eaten at festivals, Buddhist ceremonies, and during the New Year.
2. SasaDango (Mugwort Flavored Mochi) – This was a portable food back in the Warring States period. It consists of mugwort flavored mochi and redbeans. To make it portable it’s wrapped in bamboo leaves.
3. Hegi Soba – These soba noodles use top-notch buckwheat and are served on a special plate called a “hegi.” The noodles are placed on the hegi so that they can be eaten one mouthful at a time. I like it when people separate my noodles for me so they’re easier to eat. No wonder these are famous.
Toyama Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Masuzushi (Trout Sushi) – Okay, when I made fun of sushi abominations a while back, I didn’t realize sushi pizza was an actual traditional thing in Japan. Whoops. Anyways, this salted trout is placed on the rice and then lined with bamboo leaves. It can come in round and not-round varieties.
2. Shiro Ebi Ryori (White Shrimp Dishes) – Toyama is also known for its white shrimp dishes. So, if you’re in Toyama, look out for things that have white shrimp in them.
3. Hotaru Ika Ryori (Hotaru Squid Dishes) – Also popular are Toyama’s Hotaru Squid. They’re little guys and can be cooked in a variety of ways. I like anything that involves Hotaru Ika and sticks, personally.
Ishikawa Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Kabura Zushi (Turnip Sushi) – This dish is made from salt preserved turnips and slices of amberjack (along with some other ingredients). It is cured together on malted rice… and here I thought vegetable sushi could never make me hungry.
2. Jibuni (Jibu Stew) – Stewed duck coated in flour, seasonal veggies, and Kanazawa wheat gluten. The “sound of stewing” something is “jibujibu,” which is where this stew got its name.
3. Kaga Ryori (Kaga Dishes) – Any connection to Chairman Kaga? Probably not. Still, #3 is a bunch of dishes bunched into one. This is a style of cooking that uses local seafood, wild greens, and heirloom vegetables. It’s not just one type of dish, though, so you’ll have to catch ’em all if you’re in the Kanazawa City area, where this is popular.
Fukui Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Oroshi Soba – This is a cold soba dish that has various toppings on it (unlike zaru soba). This is a good summer meal.
2. Satoimo no Koroni (Sato Potato Stew) – This simple potato dish only has a few ingredients. Sato potatoes, shoyu, sugar, and mirin. But, the simple taste is what makes this one so good.
3. Saba no Heshiko – This is preserved mackerel from Fukui Prefecture. The mackerel are cleaned, salted, and then put in rice bran. These pieces of fish are lightly grilled when it’s eating time.
Gifu Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Kurikinton (Mashed Sweet Potatoes With Sweetened Chestnuts) – Kuri (chestnuts) and kinton (sweet potatoes). Mush them together and you have Kurikinton. If you eat this you will do well monetarily (because it’s gold in color).
2. Keichan – Cabbage, chicken, and onions in a garlic shoyu marinade. It’s often cooked on a Mongolian skillet, just like jingisukan (see Hokkaido).
3. Hobamiso (Ho Tree Leaf Miso) – These leaves have antibacterial properties, which makes them good for keeping food clean. In this dish, though, you have dried ho leaves. On top, you put miso paste mixed with various other ingredients. It’s then heated over a fire and you eat the stuff on top.
Nagano Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Shinshuu Soba – Two parts wheat, eight parts buckwheat. Named after the old name of Nagano prefecture. I didn’t know it was known as the “trustful state.” That’s a good name to have when the Shogun’s watching.
2. Nozawanazuke (Nozawana Pickles) – Nozawana is a Japanese leaf vegetable. This is the pickled variant from Nagano.
3. Oyaki – This is a type of Japanese dumpling made with fermented buckwheat dough wrapped around various toppings. It’s usually steamed or broiled.
Yamanashi Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Houtou – This is stewed flat udon noodles and vegetables in a soup. The thing that makes this unique is that the udon noodles are prepared in the style of dumplings rather than noodles (which is why locals don’t consider this udon).
2. Yoshida no Udon (Yoshida’s Udon) – This special dish of Fujiyoshida City includes surprisingly firm and thick udon, topped with various ingredients. Each restaurant has it’s own suridane (spices), which means it can vary from place to place. Try the “niku udon.” It has horse meat. Neighhh!
3. Kabocha Houtou (Pumpkin Houtou) – Another houtou (see #1). This time it has Japanese pumpkin.
Aichi Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Hitsumabushi – This is Aichi style Unagi-don (which is unagi on rice). There is a little difference, though. First you eat the unagi as it is. Then, you add in some seasonings. Finally, when things are breaking up and getting crazy, add dashi (stock) to it and eat it like chazuke.
2. Miso Nikomi Udon – This is a type of udon that’s stewed in a miso broth with various other toppings (like cabbage, onions, carrots, negi, and so on). What a great sounding comfort food.
3. Tebasaki Karaage (Deep Fried Chicken Wings) – I mean, you can’t go wrong with chicken wings, especially if you fry them.
- Bonus: Miso Katsu – I always thought this was really famous, but it only makes it to #4 on the polls. Still, I like it. Aichi loves their miso.
Shizuoka Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Sakuraebi Ryouri (Cherry Shrimp Dishes) – If you’re in Shizuoka and you see sakura ebi on the menu be sure to pick it up. There’s many ways to prepare sakura ebi since it’s Shizuoka’s famous food.
2. Unagi No Kabayaki – This is unagi dipped and broiled in a soy based sauce over a grill. I’m a sucker for this.
3. Shizuoka Oden – This is a variet of Oden (various things like boiled eggs, daikon, potatoes, etc., that are first boiled then kept in a simmering broth until eaten). Shizuoka’s version of oden involves beef sinew for the broth and has a strong soy sauce. The broth is then replenished, so the items within get darker and darker and more and more delicious.
Gunma Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Yaki Manjuu (Cooked Maju) – This wheat flower that’s been fermented in saké is formed into small dumplings then skewered. On top is a sweet and savory miso-based sauce.
2. Okkirikomi – The most interesting part about this dish is the hand cut noodles, which can get pretty wide. The broth is mirin and shoyu based and includes vegetables, taro, and more.
3. Kamameshi – This is “kettle rice” which is rice that’s eaten from a communal iron pot called a “kama.” It also includes other ingredients besides rice, and the burned rice on the bottom adds an extra wonderful taste.
Tochigi Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Shimotsukare – Simmered vegetables, soybeans, abura-age, and sake kasu. Many other additional ingredients can be added as well.
2. Gyouza – You know what gyoza/gyouza is, right? Dumplings, in English. Safe to say, if you’re anywhere the gyoza is pretty good. If you’re in Tochigi, it’s even better. In fact, it’s famous for its gyoza.
3. Chitake Soba – Chitake is a certain kind of mushroom, also known as the Lactarius Volemus. This is a soba dish that features said mushroom.
Ibaraki Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Ankou Nabe (Monkfish Stew) – When fresh, the super-ugly monkfish can be pretty good. This stew contains said monkfish, most notably its liver.
2. Ankou no Dobu Jiru (Monkfish ) – Once again it’s the monkfish. Ibaraki’s all about the monkfish. This soup contains all parts of the monkfish, including skin, liver, fins, stomach and more. Don’t waste your monkfish, kids.
3. Kenchin Jiru (Kenchin Soup) – Kenchinjiru is a soup that was first made at kencho-temple (where it got its name). A monk dropped a block of tofu and it broke into many pieces. He put it in the soup anyways, and kenchinjiru was born. The cool thing about this soup is the distribution of the tofu. Since it’s a bunch of little pieces, it’s so even!
Saitama Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Hiyajiru Udon (Cold Soup Udon) – This is a cold-souped udon from Saitama. It has sesame seeds, cucumbers, and other awesome things.
2. Igamanjuu – The rice is cooked with azuki beans and put around a steamed bun with sweet bean jam. Tasty and sweet.
3. Niboutou – This is pretty much the same as Okkirikomi but… Saitama-ified, I guess. Mmmm, Saitama.
Chiba Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Namerou – This is a fisherman’s dish consisting of horse mackerel, sardines, flying fish, and Pacific Saury. It’s cut into small bits and is added to miso, ginger, leeks, and green basil.
2. Yude Rakkasei (Steamed Peanuts) – This area is good for cultivating peanuts, so Chiba and Fuji City have become well known for said peanuts. Apparently these are the only peanuts that go well with alcohol in all of Japan.
3. Aji no Tataki (Minced Horse Mackerel) – This is horse mackerel that has been chopped up and placed with something fresh and tasty.
Tokyo Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Monja Yaki– Similar to Okonomiyaki, Monja yaki is a pan-fried batter with various ingredients in it. The difference is mojayaki has more liquid and therefore more runny. It’s then eaten directly off the grill with a spatula.
2. Fukagawa Don (Fukagawa Rice Bowl) – Short-neck clams and hard clams are deep fried and mixed with onions and miso are put on rice. Back in the day these kinds of clams were very plentiful and this dish was popular in Fukagawa. Now it’s just famous.
3. Kusaya – This is a drinking snack consisting of salted and dried fish. It’s super smelly but has a pretty mild taste, all things considered. I wish we would have gotten some of these when we reviewed Japan Crate.
Kanagawa Prefecture’s Famous Foods
1. Kaigun Kare (Navy Curry) – Back in the day Yokosuka had quite the navy base. It still does, though the team that uses it is different. During this time, a type of local curry used with the navy popped up. Strangely, this kind of curry is actually what’s considered “normal” curry in Japan now, though it’s cooked “the old way” here. I suppose it’s famous for birthing curry as Japanese knows it.
2. Namashirasu Don (Raw Whitebait Rice Bowl) – Whitebait is a term for tiny fish, usually baby anchovy or sardines. In this dish, instead of frying or cooking the whitebait fish, you can get it raw. I bet the texture is pretty awesome.
3. Sanmamen – This is a Yokohama style ramen that’s served in a shoyu broth and covered in stir-fried vegetables.
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. There's 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 the links below to get these cheatsheets:
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.