Tourist Attractions and Accommodation recommended

A gourmet in Hokkaido area

Marine Products
You can savour various kinds of seafood including crab in Hokkaido which has abundant catches of fish. As well as dishes such as seafood rice bowls and sushi, salmon rui-be, frozen sashimi, is well-known in this part of the world.

Dairy Products
Hokkaido is famous for dairy products as it has many farms. Trappist Butter has gained popularity for its rich aroma and smooth flavour. It is a fermented butter made with lactic-acid bacilli at a Trappist Monastery - a rare production method for Japan.

■Chan Chan Yaki

This is one of the local dishes consisting of salmon placed on a hotplate, surrounded by vegetables and steamed in a miso flavoured sauce. As chan chan yaki (salmon and vegetables steamed in miso flavoured sauce) is established as a popular dish, local people mostly eat it at home. Ishikari City, which is famous for salmon, holds the Ishikari Salmon Festival every September and visitors can sample chan chan yaki as well as Ishikari Nabe (salmon and vegetable stew). Chan chan yaki can be found at the following restaurant as long as you reserve at least a day in advance.

Name: The Yoshioka
Address: 24-2 Oyafune-cho, Ishikari-shi, Hokkaido Telephone: 0133-62-3562 Business hours: 10:00 - 21:00 Closing days: None

The fisherman’s cuisine is popular and this restaurant also offers accommodation and caters for parties. Chan chan yaki can be sampled here.

■Jingisukan (Genghis Khan)

This is also a local dish consisting of mutton marinated in a special sauce and grilled on a convex grill. By cooking vegetables under the meat in the centre of the grill, the juices of the meat run on to the vegetables and give them even more flavour.

Name: Daruma
Address: 1F Crystal Bldg., 4 Minami-Gojonishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido Telephone: 011-552-6013 Business hours: 17:00 - 3:00 Closing days: New Year holidays

This is a well-established Sapporo restaurant where the meat has no aftertaste and secret formula sauce make the rice delicious. Daruma-style eating is already having the pot and the vegetables on the table when you are seated but have not yet placed your order. The vegetables that are already on the table are free of charge.

■Soup Curry

This is soup-style curry rather than curry with a thick sauce and its feature is its large chunks of ingredients. It is not served over rice; instead, the rice is dipped into the soup curry. It is said to have originated in a restaurant in Sapporo.

Address: 1F Good Bldg., 10-1-18 Minami-Junijonishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido Telephone: 011-552-5456 Business hours: Monday/Thursday/Friday: 11:30 - 15:00 17:00 - 22:00 Saturday/Sunday/national holidays: 11:30 - 22:00 Closing days: Tuesday/Wednesday

The soup curry, which is served in a restaurant with an American atmosphere, is a smooth soup with the umami of spices and the fried vegetables are perfect. It is even more delicious if you add toppings and is hearty and substantial but light-tasting so it is popular with a wide range of ages.

A gourmet in touhoku region

■Wanko Soba Noodles

This is a local Iwate dish with ‘wan-ko’ being local dialect for wooden bowl. A small portion of buckwheat noodles that can be eaten in one mouthful is placed in a bowl and once it has been eaten, you call the server for another portion. When you are full, you put the lid on the bowl but you have to be quick as it is a kind of game where the server quickly refills your bowl so you need a strategy ? it can be enjoyed as a kind of entertainment.

Name: Azumaya Honten
Address: 1-8-3 Nakanohashi-dori, Morioka-shi, Iwate-ken Telephone: 019-622-2252 Business Hours: 11:00 - 20:00 Closing days: None

This is a well-established restaurant, established over 100 years ago. Customers can choose from two different payment systems: piling up the bowls and counting how many you have eaten or measuring how much you have eaten with a measuring stick without piling them up. If you eat more than 100 bowls of wanko soba, you will be presented with an original Wanko Soba Handprint Certificate. The restaurant serves other cuisine such as rice bowls and these are also very popular. The official Japanese website provides an English translation of some of its pages, giving detailed information on what Wanko Soba Noodles are.

■Kiritanpo Nabe

This is a local Akita dish of pounded rice cake wrapped around a stick and cooked over a sunken Japanese fireplace then cut up and stewed in a pot with vegetables and chicken. Its characteristic is its clear, light soup with a soy sauce base.

Name: Local Akita Cuisine Kiritanpo Nabe Restaurant Tenoji
Address: 3-1-16 Omachi, Akita-shi, Akita-ken Telephone: 018-824-3021 Business hours: 17:00 - 22:30 Closing days: Mondays and national holidays

This is a restaurant where you can sample local Akita cuisine and it has a special commendation as a hospitable Akita restaurant. The soup is made from Akita Hinai chicken, cooked for over 10 hours to condense the umami and allowing customers to savour authentic kiritanpo nabe (pounded rice cake stewed with vegetables and chicken). Single portions are also available so you can order a little without worrying.


This is a typical Yamagata dish of mainly taro potatoes in a stew with meat and vegetables. In autumn when it is time for the potato harvest, friends and family gather on the river banks and make imoni together. This is called an imonikai and it is a typical sight in Yamagata. Many visitors from all over Japan come to the Yamagata City imonikai where the stew is made in a giant pot of 6m in diameter and which produces around 30,000 portions.

Name: Yamagata Nagaya Sakaba
Address: 1-8-8 Kasumi-cho, Yamagata-shi, Yamagata-ken Telephone: 023-633-9005 Business hours: 17:00 - 24:00 Closing days: New Year Holidays

Even if this is the only restaurant you visit, you can taste Yamagata’s local sake and cuisine. This restaurant serves all four of the different types of regional potato cuisine in Yamagata so it may be fun to compare them. There are traditional dance and ballad performances so customers can enjoy the full Yamagata experience. You will recognise it by its large straw sign.

A gourmet in Kantou region


This is a well-known dish in Enoshima, Kanagawa Prefecture which is famous for its whitebait catch and is often eaten as a don (bowl of rice topped with fish). Kama-age shirasu (pre-cooked whitebait) is eaten in homes across the country but, as raw whitebait lose their freshness after a few hours, they are not readily available. The perfect way to sample raw shirasu-don, which can only be eaten in areas where whitebait is caught, is to use that morning’s catch. There are winter fishing restrictions from January to March so raw whitebait cannot be eaten during this time.

Name: Tobicho Honten
Address: 1-6-7 Enoshima, Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa-ken Telephone: 0466-23-0041 Business hours: 11:00 - 20:00 Closing days: No regular closing days

This is a popular restaurant outside which diners queue even on weekdays with a rich menu of don dishes including raw shirasu-don. As well as the substantial raw shirasu-don, other don dishes topped with various kinds of fresh fish are also popular and there are many other whitebait dishes on the menu to be enjoyed too.

■Utsunomiya Gyoza

One of the most loved dishes today in Utsunomiya City and across Tochigi Prefecture is Utsunomiya Gyoza. There are around 70 gyoza restaurants in Utsunomiya City and the consumption of gyoza ranks number one in Japan, giving the city the name of Gyoza Town. Gyoza are not only eaten in restaurants; many people make and eat them at home too. One of the reasons why gyoza are so close to people’s hearts is that Tochigi Prefecture is a top-class producer of nira (Chinese chives) which is one of the ingredients.

Name: Utsunomiya MinMin Honten
Address: 4-2-3 Babadori, Utsunomiya-shi, Tochigi-ken Telephone: 028-622-5789 Business Hours: 11:30 - 20:00 Closing days: Tuesdays

This is Utsunomiya’s oldest gyoza restaurant with 11 branches ? so popular that diners queue up outside. The particular characteristics of these gyoza are the light and easy-to-eat thin and crispy skin which is packed with plenty of vegetables. The restaurant staff are attentive and a sense of freshness pervades the compact interior.


This is a local Ibaraki dish of deep-sea monkfish stew. Ibaraki Prefecture used to have abundant catches of this fish but these have declined in recent years and it has now become a luxury fish. Seasoning varies from restaurant to restaurant but basic flavours are miso soybean paste or soy sauce. This dish has a light flavour but contains a lot of collagen and is rich in nutrients so it is very popular with female customers.

Name: Chushin
Address: 987 Isohama-cho, Oarai-machi, Higashi Ibaraki-gun, Ibaraki-ken Telephone: 029-267-5134 Business hours: 11:00 - 14:30 17:30 - 22:00 Closing days: Tuesdays

As might be expected from a restaurant run by a fishmonger, the dishes are outstandingly fresh. The anko-nabe base is a miso-flavoured soup with seafood stock and, as portions are substantial, you can enjoy the monkfish to your heart’s content. The restaurant’s ambiance is comfortable and it is popular both among locals and tourists.

A gourmet in Tokyo area


Sushi, a typical Japanese food, is now popular throughout the world. Tokyo sushi is called Edo-mae (Tokyo-style) sushi and this refers to typical nigirizushi (hand-formed sushi with a topping of seafood). Stewing, marinating, salting or pickling sushi toppings is known as ‘Edo-mae work’ and flavours differ from restaurant to restaurant.

Name: Ginza Kyubey
Address: 8-7-6 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo Telephone: 03-3571-6523 Business hours: 11:30 - 14:00 17:00 - 22:00 Closing days: Sundays and national holidays

Kyubey is a very distinguished restaurant and one of the most famous of the many sushi restaurants in Tokyo. The toppings are, of course, very fresh and the sushi, which is prepared with great care, is beautiful. Diners can eat in a comfortable atmosphere created by the care and attention taken by staff.


Monja-yaki is a wheat flour-based dish cooked on a hot plate. It includes ingredients containing a lot of water such as cabbage and you can choose from many different ingredients such as clams or sticky rice cakes. Customers cook their own Monja-yaki. It is a well-loved dish in Japan having been a snack for children since the Edo Period and Tsukishima in downtown Tokyo is now famous for it, boasting its own Monja Street lined with Monja-yaki restaurants. It is said to have become a traditional downtown dish.

Name: Oshio Honten
Address: 3-17-10 Tsukishima, Chuo-ku, Tokyo Telephone: 03-3531-7423 Business hours: 11:30 - 23:00 Closing days: None

Customers can experience a Japanese atmosphere in the old, nostalgic interior. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to cook your own Monja-yaki - one of the staff will do it for you. There are many different types on the menu from the classic to the exotic. There are dishes other than Monja that can be cooked on the hot plate.


Ten-don (tempura served on top of white rice) is very popular in Japan. The way tempura is fried, the oil used when frying and the sauce topping the dish all differ from restaurant to restaurant. In the same way as with sushi, there is ‘Edo-mae (Tokyo-style) tempura’ in Tokyo and this generally contains seafood caught in Tokyo Bay.

Name: Tempura Nakasei
Address: 1-39-13 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo Telephone: 03-3531-7423 Business hours: 11:30 - 14:00 17:00 - 22:00  Saturdays/Sundays/national holidays: 11:30 - 20:00 Closing days: Tuesdays, every 2nd and 4th Monday

This well-established tempura restaurant was opened in 1870 and creates atmosphere with its interior garden with a koi carp pond. The service from the staff dressed in kimonos towards customers is attentive. Customers can eat Edo-mae Ten-don here including the popular ‘Kakiage Ten-don’ (mixed vegetable and seafood tempura). The rich aroma of the tempura fried in sesame oil stimulates the appetite.

A gourmet in Koshin-etsu region

■Togakushi soba

Nagano Prefecture is famous for its buckwheat noodles which have been eaten there regularly since ancient times. As cold highlands are perfect for the cultivation of buckwheat, Nagano Prefecture, which has many areas of high elevation, has good conditions for cultivation. There are many buckwheat noodle restaurants across Nagano Prefecture but among these, Togakushi soba in the north is particularly well-known.

Name: Uzuraya
Address: 3229 Togakushi, Nagano-shi, Nagano-ken Telephone: 025-247-5106 Business hours: 10:30 - 16:00 Closing days: Wednesdays

Uzuraya is located close to Togakushi Shrine, which is famous because it is thought to be flowing with mystical energy, and is a well-established restaurant which is so well-known that there are queues of tourists outside. Even though it is a busy restaurant, customer service is polite and friendly. You can fully experience the rich aroma of wasabi as customers grate their own. Togakushi soba is characteristically bundled into horse-hoof-shaped bite-size portions with 5 or 6 portions on each tray. We recommend arriving at the restaurant before it opens.


This is a local Yamanashi dish of flat, wide udon noodles stewed in a miso-flavoured soup with pumpkin, green onions, shiitake mushrooms and daikon radish, etc. The soup is thickened with noodle flour which retains the heat. This has been eaten regularly by local families since ancient times and many restaurants serve individual portions in iron pots.

Name: Koshu Hoto Kosaku
Address: Address: 1-7-2 Marunouchi, Kofu-shi, Yamanashi-ken Telephone: 055-233-8500 Business hours: 11:00 - 22:00 Closing days: None

This is a popular Hoto restaurant that has been serving the same unchanging dish for over 40 years. The secret flavour of the vegetable stock passed down over the generations meshes well with the Hoto and adds depth to the simple flavour. Customers can eat Hoto with plenty of vegetables and there are many different types. The staff give a warm welcome and detailed advice about how to eat Hoto.


This is a local Niigata dish of soup with taro potatoes, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, konjac jelly, etc. It is traditional cuisine that was eaten at New Year or important family occasions. Its characteristics are the viscosity of the taro potatoes which thickens the soup and the fact that flavourings differ between the different areas of Niigata Prefecture. Depending on the area, many people add salmon which this region is also famous for. It is served cold in the summer and hot in the winter so can be eaten all year round.

Name: Echigo Ichie Juro
Address: 1F Matsuya Building, 2-1-7 Higashi-Odori, Chuo-ku, Niigata-shi, Niigata-ken Telephone: 025-247-5106 Business hours: Sunday - Thursday 16:30 - 01:00 Friday/Saturday 16:30 - 01:30 Closing days: None

This is an izakaya pub but customers can fully enjoy local Niigata cuisine and fresh seafood caught in the Japan Sea. The highlight of the restaurant exterior is the orderly stack of sake barrels from each Niigata sake brewery. Niigata, which is a rice-growing region, produces delicious rice and all kinds of Japanese sake, another famous product of the region and each dish is served in big portions to satisfy appetites.

A gourmet in Hokuriku region


This is a local Toyama dish which is famous as a station lunch box. It is pressed sushi in a round container laid with bamboo grass in a radial pattern topped with alternate layers of salted trout and vinegared rice. Many shops specialize in this dish in Toyama City and each of these has their own special flavouring. It has become a popular dish all over the country and is now sold at Toyama Station, department stores and even Tokyo Station.

Name: Ogi-ichi Masuzushi Honpo
Address: 1-3-19 Higashi-denjigata-machi, Toyama-shi, Toyama-ken Telephone: 076-442-0345 Business hours: 8:00 - 16:00 (closes when sold out) Closing days: None

This is a take-out only shop, famous among the locals. It is a small family-run shop so we recommended ordering in advance. The trout slices are just as thick as the rice layers making this a satisfying and substantial meal. There is a good balance between the trout and the vinegared rice so it is easy to see why this is such a popular shop.


This is a local Ishikawa dish of duck or chicken rolled in potato starch and stewed in stock with seasonal vegetables and seitan and Japanese parsley, which are both Ishikawa specialities. A particular feature is that it is eaten with wasabi horseradish as a condiment. These days it is a must for celebrations such as weddings.

Name: Kuro Yuri
Address: 1-1 Kinoshinbo-machi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa-ken Telephone: 076-260-3722 Business hours: 10:00 - 22:00 Closing days: None

Located in the restaurant area of Kanazawa Station, this restaurant was established over 50 years ago and is popular among both locals and tourists. The location in the station is very convenient - there is good access to trains so you can eat while waiting. This restaurant serves all kinds of Ishikawa specialities and stocks a wide selection of local sakes.

■Echizen Oroshi-soba

This is a local Fukui dish consisting of soba noodles served with lots of grated Japanese radish. It became famous throughout the country when Emperor Hirohito tried and liked it during a visit to Echizen. There are currently 3 ways to eat this dish depending on the restaurant: put the stock and the grated radish in separately, put the grated radish in the stock or put the juice from the grated radish in the stock.

Name: Kenzo Soba
Address: 3-26 Matsuoka Kasuga, Eiheiji-cho, Yoshida-gun, Fukui-ken Telephone: 0776-61-1481 Business hours: Tuesday - Friday 11:00 - 14:00 16:30 - 18:00 Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays 11:00 - 17:00 Closing days: Mondays, every 4th Tuesday

This is a famous Echizen soba restaurant which is popular among the locals and outside which diners queue, joined by tourists on holidays. The interior is a renovated old-style Japanese house, nostalgic and tasteful with a simple, pastoral atmosphere. This restaurant serves the grated radish in the stock. The soba is served with lots of grated radish and bonito flakes to give a fresh taste. Prices are reasonable so it is possible to compare this dish at a number of different restaurants.

A gourmet in Tokai region


This is a local Aichi dish of bite-sized pieces of eel on top of rice served in a flat wooden ohtisu bowl. There are 4 different ways to eat this. The first is to spoon a portion into a rice bowl and eat it as is, the second is to add condiments such as green onions and wasabi horseradish, the third is to add the condiments and stock and then, in the end, you can choose the one you like best. This is a fun experience as you can try all the different versions.

Name: Atsuta Horaiken
Address: 503 Godo-cho, Atsuta-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi-ken
Telephone: 052-671-8686
Business hours: 11:30 - 14:00 16:30 - 20:30
Closing days: Wednesday

This is a well-established restaurant said to be the originator of hitsu-mabushi. Customers can feel its 140 year history and, as can be expected of a restaurant that started its life as a luxury establishment, there is a red carpet from the entrance through the corridors and a dignified atmosphere which is very calming. The balance between the secret hitsu-mabushi sauce recipe that has been passed down through the generations and the well-done eel is perfect.

■Fujinomiya Yakisoba

This is a local noodle dish from Fujinomiya City in Shizuoka Prefecture consisting of pork back, cabbage and special firm steamed noodles cooked on a hot plate and topped with shredded sardine or mackerel.
Name: Uruoi-tei Honten
Address: 415-2 Yodoshi, Fujinomiya-shi, Shizuoka-ken
Telephone: 0544-24-7155
Business hours: Tuesday - Saturday 11:30 - 14:00 16:30 - 20:00
Sundays and national holidays: 11:00 - 19:00
Closing days: Mondays, every 3rd Tuesday

This is a famous Fujinomiya yakisoba restaurant popular with celebrities. It is fun to watch the chef make the dish from scratch with his flowing deftness of hand. There is a view of Mt. Fuji, the World Heritage Site, from a certain part of the restaurant.

■Hoba Miso

This is a local Gifu dish of Hida miso soy bean paste spread on magnolia leaves and topped with green onions, shiitake mushrooms and bonito flakes and then grilled. There are many people in Gifu who put this grilled miso on whatever they like but most traditional Japanese restaurants or hotels in the area will serve it with Gifu’s Hida brand beef.

Name: Maruaki HidaTakayama Branch
Address: 6-8-1 Tenman-machi, Takayama-shi, Gifu-ken
Telephone: 0577-35-5858
Business hours: 11:00 - 21:00 (lunch is served until 14:00)
Closing days: None

This is a popular restaurant where diners can enjoy both the good quality Hida beef and the grilled magnolia leaf miso. The restaurant also runs a butcher’s shop so diners can sample carefully-selected Hida beef at reasonable prices. The magnolia leaf miso is rich and light on salt so the balance with the marbled Hida beef is very satisfying.

A gourmet in Osaka


This is a local Osaka dish that originated in standing counter drinking establishments consisting of various ingredients such as meat, fish and vegetables skewered and fried. These are eaten dipped in sauce. In Osaka, the sauce does not come in individual portions but is provided in a container on the table. There is a unique and well-known ‘no double-dipping’ rule.

Name: Daruma Shin-sekai So-honten
Address: 2-3-9 Ebisu-higashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
Telephone: 06-6645-7056
Business hours: 11:00 - 21:00 every day
Closing days: New Year holidays

Diners queue up at this popular restaurant to sample the famous Osaka kushi-katsu. The fine batter gives a crunchy bite and ingredients are cut to just the right size for ease of eating. Prices are reasonable so feel free to try a few different kinds. The kushi-katsu are fried right in front of you so you can eat them hot from the pan and staff will tell you the different ways to enjoy each different ingredient. The restaurant interior has a retro feel so customers can enjoy the old-timey atmosphere.


This is a local Osaka dish of grated Chinese yams, cabbage, meat or seafood in a wheat flour batter cooked on a hot plate and topped with a thick sweet sauce, mayonnaise, dried bonito flakes and seaweed. This is a typical Osaka flavour and is often eaten in combination with rice.

Name: Ajinoya
Address: 1-7-16 Nanba, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
Telephone: 06-6211-0713
Business hours: Mondays 18:00 - 23:00
Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays 11:30 - 23:00
Closing days: Every 2nd Monday

This is a popular Okonomiyaki restaurant established over 60 years ago outside which diners form a queue. You can dine here with peace of mind as staff cook your Okonomiyaki from start to finish right in front of your eyes. Its features are its airy lightness and the sweetness of the sauce.


This is a local Osaka dish of octopus, green onions and red ginger in a wheat flour and stock batter cooked on a special hotplate in balls. Families have frequently eaten this at home since long ago as a local Osaka flavour. It is currently eaten all over Japan at takoyaki restaurants.

Name: Takoyaki Doraku Wakana
Address: 1F/2F 11-19 Nanba Sennichi-mae, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
Telephone: 06-6631-0127
Business hours: Monday - Friday 10:00 - 23:30
Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays 9:00 - 23:00
Closing days: None

Along with one other takoyaki restaurant, this is the best in Osaka and is extremely famous. The large takoyaki dumplings are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside and its feature is that the batter itself is flavoured. It can be eaten with sauce with a light flavour but there are also various other flavour options.

A gourmet in Kyoto region

■River Deck Cuisine

This cuisine is reminiscent of the summer in Kyoto when the famous Kibune river decks are built out over the Kibunegawa River on which diners can enjoy Kyoto cuisine. As diners are seated on top of the river, it is cool, there is plentiful nature and diners can hear the bubbling of the river below, making it immensely charming.

Name: Fujiya
Address: In front of Kibune Jingu Shrine, 40 Kuramakibunecho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu
Telephone: 075-741-2501
Business hours: 11:00 - 20:00
Closing days: No regular closing day
Riverbed Opening Season: 6/1 - 9/23

This is an elegant, established Japanese-style hotel said to be the origin of Kibune river decks. Eating cuisine made with plenty of river fish and mountain produce over the river allows diners to eat with all of the five senses such as sight and sound as well as taste. Hospitality is courteous and gives a favourable impression.


This is a local Kyoto one-pot dish said to have originated on the road to Nanzenji Temple. Water is placed in the pot followed by kelp. Then bite-sized pieces of tofu are added and when they are heated, they are eaten dipped in soy sauce or Ponzu citrus sauce with green onions, ginger and bonito flakes.

Name: Sohonke Yudofu Okutan Kiyomizu
Address: 3-340 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Telephone: 075-525-2051
Business hours: Monday - Friday 11:00 - 16:30 Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays 11:00 - 17:30
Closing days: Thursdays

This is Japan’s oldest Yudofu restaurant passed down over 370 years. The restaurant only serves tofu cuisine and customers can savour the tofu made with the same special recipe since long ago. The restaurant has a large garden through which a brook runs so customers can eat while enjoying a typical Kyoto-style view.

■Kyoto-style Pickled Vegetables

This is a delicacy of lightly salted, pickled local Kyoto vegetables. The most well-known are sliced radishes, aubergine/cucumber with red shiso leaves, turnips and mixed vegetables with characteristic refined flavours.

Name: Kyo Tsukemono Nishiri Gion Branch
Address: Minami-gawa, Gion-machi, Shijo, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu
Telephone: 075-541-8181
Business hours: 10:00 - 21:00
Closing days: None

This is a famous and popular Kyoto pickled vegetables shop with a refined Japanese appearance. traditional pickled vegetables are served on the 2nd floor. Most of these can be eaten just as they are but this restaurant serves elaborates dishes such as pickled vegetable sushi or tempura.

A gourmet in Kansai region

■Wakayama Ramen

This is the local ramen noodle dish of Wakayama Prefecture. There are 2 different flavours: tonkotsu-shoyu, a soy sauce based soup and tonkotsu-shoyu, an opaque pork-bone based soup and it is the latter that is well known all over the country. The noodles are straight and of medium width and the other ingredients are simple. A feature is that mackerel sushi called hayazushi or inarizushi (fried tofu pockets filled with rice), onigiri rice balls or eggs are laid on the table and these are eaten while waiting for the ramen to arrive as the portion of noodles is quite small. The dishes on the table differ from restaurant to restaurant. Many people eat the ramen noodles with rice.

Name: Ide Shoten
Address: 4-84 Tanaka-machi, Wakayama-shi, Wakayama-ken
Telephone: 073-424-1689
Business hours: 11:30 - 23:30
Closing days: Thursday

This is a well-known restaurant visited by people from all over Japan said to be the origin of the name of Wakayama ramen. The rich, thick, pork-bone based soup has body but is also surprisingly light so many people drink it all and it is popular with over a wide range of age groups. The interior has an old, retro atmosphere and is quite small but the staff are very pleasant.


This is a local Hyogo dish made by mixing flours such as wheat flour and jinko, which is used when making Japanese sweets, with stock and eggs to form a batter and then adding octopus and cooking this in balls on a special hotplate. It is very similar in shape to Osaka’s takoyaki but it contains more eggs and it is characteristically eaten dipped in stock.

Name: Funamachi
Address: 5-12 Zaimoku-cho, Akashi-shi, Hyogo-ken
Telephone: 078-912-3508
Business hours: 10:30 - 18:00
Closing days: Friday

This is a popular restaurant outside which diners queue even on weekdays. Akashiyaki has a gentle taste with a fluffy texture and melt-in-your-mouth interior. It goes perfectly with the stock and is served in a healthy portion.


This is a local Nara noodle dish of cooled somen noodles stewed in hot stock. Somen noodles are made of wheat flour and stretched by hand until they thin and thread-like. This dish is eaten cold in the summer but the addition of hot stock was conceived so that it could also be eaten in winter. The noodles go down well and are light enough even to be eaten when you don’t have an appetite so they are quite convenient.

Name: Miwachaya
Address: 880 Hashinaka, Sakurai-shi, Nara-ken
Telephone: 0744-43-6661
Business hours: 11:00 - 16:30
Closing days: None

This is a famous restaurant owned by the company that makes Miwa somen noodles. Typical of a company store, the noodles are firm and go down well and there is good balance with the stock. Company headquarters is next door so customers can see how somen noodles are made.

A gourmet in Chuugoku region

■Oyster Cuisine

This is local Hiroshima cuisine with various dishes using the speciality produce: oysters. Hiroshima Prefecture is famed as Japan’s number one oyster production area. There are many different dishes including grilled oysters, deep-fried, breaded oysters, oyster stew in a ceramic pot, oyster rice, etc. From October when oyster shipping begins, a pre-fab shack called ‘Kakigoya’ opens for a limited period and is crowded with locals and tourists enjoying oysters and seafood grilled on a barbeque.

Name: Kakigoya Ujina Branch
Address: Hiroshima Minato Park, 1 Ujinakaigan, Minami-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken
Telephone: 080-1630-8970
Business hours: 10:30 - 21:00
Closing days: No regular closing day Limited period from mid-October

This is an oyster shack in the park beside Hiroshima port where you can enjoy grilled oysters that are popular with the locals. It bustles with people enjoying cooking their own oysters BBQ style. It is self-cooking style where you choose and cook your own preferred oysters, seafood and vegetables with a reasonable price so you can enjoy the oysters to your heart’s content. Staff will explain clearly how to cook and how long to cook for.

■Izumo Soba

This is a local Shimane dish of perfumed soba noodles, usually black in colour due to leaving the buckwheat husk on when grinding the flour. The reason that Izumo soba is known all over the country is because the noodles are served in round lacquer lunch boxes, usually piled 3 high. In general, condiments are sprinkled and sauce is poured directly on top of the noodles and when you have eaten the first box, you pour the remaining sauce into the second box and continue eating. The same is done with the third box.

Name: Haneya Honten
Address: 549 Imaichi-cho, Izumo-shi, Shimane-ken
Telephone: 0853-21-0058
Business hours: 11:00 - 15:00 17:00 - 20:00
Closing days: New Year’s Day

This famous restaurant was established over 150 years ago. The soba noodles, which are said to have been presented to the Imperial family, are firm and go down well. Several types of soba noodles in lunchboxes are served so customers can choose their preferred way to eat the noodles. Don’t worry if you don’t know what to do, the staff will explain clearly how to eat the noodles.


This is a local Okayama dish of mixed sushi with ingredients such as fish and vegetables pickled in vinegar and mixed with rice and decorated with different flavoured ingredients. It is a special occasion dish, traditionally eaten at feasts or celebrations. It does not contain raw fish; the fish is pickled, grilled or boiled. This sushi dish is also full of seasonal vegetables.

Name: Azuma-zushi Okayama Station Branch
Address: Sansute Okayama 2F, 1-1 Ekimoto-machi, Kita-ku, Okayama-shi, Okayama-ken
Telephone: 086-227-7337
Business hours: 11:00 - 21:30
Closing days: None

This is a station branch of a sushi restaurant which was established 100 years ago. As it is in the station, it is very convenient to pop in during a trip and it is crowded with tourists. Diners can savour barazushi with many ingredients such as Japanese mackerel, conger eel, sardinella and prawns. Take-out as an eki-ben lunch box is also possible.

A gourmet in Shikoku region

■Sanuki Udon

This is a typical Kagawa dish of thick udon noodles which are characteristically firm. These are eaten in many different ways from hot to cold such as served with broth pour over them, straight from the pot and dipped in sauce or served chilled. There are more than 100 udon noodle restaurants in Kagawa and as prices are very reasonable, they can be eaten in the same way as fast food.

Name: Okasen
Address: 129-10 Hamahachiban-cho, Utazu-cho, Ayauta-gun, Kagawa-ken
Telephone: 0877-49-4422
Business Hours: Wednesday - Friday 11:00 - 20:00 Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays 10:15- 20:00
Closing Days: Mondays/Tuesdays

This is a popular Sanuki udon restaurant outside which diners queue even on weekdays. The menu includes a wealth of dishes but hiyaten-oroshi is an extremely popular dish with a great reputation - udon noodles served in broth and topped with two large tempura prawns. This restaurant thinks of everything right down to the smallest detail - even the water used for making the noodles uses high-grade charcoal produced from ubame oak.

■Sawachi Ryori

This is a local Kochi dish which serves various dishes such as tuna tartare, sashimi, sushi, stewed or deep-fried dishes on a number of large plates. This is an essential accompaniment to drinking alcohol and is characteristic of large, lively gatherings.

Name: Tosa Ryori Tsukasa Honten
Address: 1-2-15 Harimaya-cho, Kochi-shi, Kochi-ken
Telephone: 050-5788-2713
Business hours: Monday - Saturday 11:30 - 22:00 Sundays and national holidays 11:00 - 21:30
Closing days: No regular closing day

This is a famous, well-established restaurant serving mainly Tosa cuisine including sawachi ryori. The interior of the restaurant, established 97 years ago, is full of history and diners can eat in a calm and relaxed atmosphere. The staff are dressed in traditional Japanese clothing giving an air of refinement and the scrupulous service has been handed down over the years. There are many different kinds of sawachi ryori so diners can choose their favourite.


This is a local Ehime dish of locally caught fish blended into a paste and then deep-fried. There are many different types from the traditional plain type to more modern ones with vegetables or cheese. There is also a version called jakokatsu which is jakoten covered in panko breadcrumbs and deep-fried. Jakoten has been beloved of the citizens of Ehime as snack from ancient times right up to the present.

Name: Shimamoto Kamaboko
Address: 2-4-19 Uwatsu-cho, Uwajima-shi, Ehime-ken
Telephone: 0895-22-0967
Business hours: 8:00 - 17:00
Closing days: Sundays and national holidays

A popular restaurant in Uwajima, famous for jakoten, which sometimes sells out in the afternoons. Prices are reasonable and fair. Each jakoten is made carefully by hand and despite their simplicity they are flavoursome and delicious even when cold.

A gourmet in Kyushu region

■Turkish Rice

This is a famous Nagasaki dish - a substantial Western dish of spaghetti napolitana and pilaf topped with a breaded pork cutlet. It is available at coffee shops and Western-style restaurants in Nagasaki City and varies from restaurant to restaurant with hamburgers replacing the breaded pork cutlets and so on.

Name: Tsuruchan
Address: 2-47 Aburaya-machi, Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki-ken
Telephone: 095-824-2679
Business Hours: 9:00 - 22:00
Closing days: None

This is a popular coffee shop, the oldest in Kyushu, serving traditional Turkish rice as well as many variations of the dish along with other Western dishes. It has a nostalgic atmosphere and it is fun to read all about the history of Nagasaki and the history of the coffee shop which are displayed in the interior.


This is a local healthy Kumamoto noodle dish of thin harusame noodles and plenty of vegetables in chicken stock. It was originally a dish brought from Fuzhou City in Fujian Province, China 90 - 100 years ago. Ingredients were changed to Japanese ingredients and now it is a common dish.

Name: Korantei Shimotori Honten
Address: 2F 5-26 Ansei-machi, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto-shi
Telephone: 096-352-7177
Business hours: Monday - Saturday 11:30 - 21:30 Sundays and national holidays 11:00 - 21:30
Closing days: None

This restaurant is said to be one of the originators of Taipi-en and is a popular Chinese restaurant which was founded in 1934. The stock is rich, containing plenty of vegetables and seafood. Both the service and atmosphere are great, with the staff dressed in Chinese dresses.

■Chicken Nanban

This is a famous Miyazaki dish of fried chicken dipped into a sweet vinegar sauce and served with lots of tartare sauce. This was originally a Western-style restaurant staple but it is currently served in other restaurants, in supermarkets as a prepared dish as well as being prepared at home too. This dish is loved by people of a wide range of ages.

Name: Ogura Honten
Address: 3-4-24 Tachibanadori-higashi, Miyazaki-shi, Miyazaki-ken
Telephone: 0985-22-2296
Business hours: Monday - Saturday 11:00 - 14:30 17:00 - 20:30 Sundays and national holidays 11:00 - 15:00 17:00 - 20:30
Closing days: Tuesdays

This restaurant is said to be one of the originators of chicken nanban and it a well-established famous Western-style restaurant in the area. The brick exterior gives the appearance of an old-fashioned Western-style restaurant and the interior has an atmosphere from which customer can feel the history of the restaurant. The sweetness of the secret recipe vinegar sauce and the deluxe tartare sauce is subtle so this is a fairly lightly-flavoured dish but portions are substantial so it is filling.

A gourmet in Okinawa region

■Okinawa Soba

This is a local Okinawa dish of noodles made from wheat flour in pork bone and bonito stock soup and typically topped with pork rib or pork on the bone, fish sausage, green onions and red pickled ginger. This dish has a simple flavour and noodle thickness, soup and toppings differ from region to region as well as the name of the dish (e.g. Yaeyama soba).

Name: Yanbaru Soba
Address: 70-1 Izumi, Motobu-cho, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa-ken
Telephone: 0980-47-4552
Business Hours: 11:00 - 15:00(closes when sold out)
Closing days: Mondays and Tuesdays

This is a popular restaurant outside which a queue is inevitable and which sometimes sells out after lunch. The soup contains a strong fish stock with a light flavour. The soba noodles are served in a healthy portion with a good balance of noodles and toppings and diners can enjoy good old-fashioned Okinawa soba. The interior is like a private house with an at-home atmosphere.

■Goya Chanpuru

This is a local Okinawa dish of sauteed goya bitten melon, vegetables, tofu and pork. Chanpuru means 'mix' in Okinawan dialect and refers to mixing a lot of ingredients together and sauteing them. Goya bitter melon is an island vegetable which is a speciality product of Okinawa so many people grow it in their gardens and this dish is regularly eaten at home with the family.

Name: Yuunangii
Address: 3-3-3 Kumoji, Naha-shi, Okinawa-ken
Telephone: 098-867-3765
Business hours: 12:00 - 15:00 17:30 - 22:30
Closing days: Sundays and national holidays

This is a well-established restaurant which has always been run only by women and which serves Okinawan home-cooking. It often has a queue outside and is also popular with the locals. This restaurant serves many kinds of Okinawan cuisine including goya chanpuru at reasonable prices so diners can sample and compare various dishes.

■Taco Rice

This is a local Okinawa dish of the ingredients for Mexican tacos served on top of rice in the order of minced meat, lettuce, cheese and tomatoes. It is usually eaten topped with salsa.

Name: King Tacos Futenma Branch
Address: 1F 1-24-6 Tenma, Ginowan-shi, Okinawa-ken
Telephone: 098-892-0705
Business hours: 11:00 - 3:00
Closing days: None

This popular restaurant is the go-to place for taco rice and is loved by the locals. It has a number of branches. Prices are reasonable and the most popular dish, taco rice with cheese and vegetables, is served with lots of lettuce. It is a healthy portion and very satisfying. Diners can season the dish as they please by topping it with the restaurant’s own special spicy tomato-based sauce, etc.