Ibaraki prefecture is located not too far from Tokyo, but it isn’t near either, so it may be best to book a hotel room and stay for a couple days instead of a one-day trip! In this article, you will find a list of local food, especially famous in Ibaraki Prefecture and some restaurants or pubs where you can easily find them and experience them to the fullest. Most of the best restaurants here on this list are located in Mito city.
We know, for the ones that have already an idea of what natto is, this may be difficult to find attractive. Natto is, more widely, a traditional Japanese food made with fermented soybeans using “natto” fungus. Its consistency is a bit particular, and it doesn’t suit everyone’s palate, but we have to say that is also very healthy and the traditional version is very different from the one you can find in the supermarkets. In Ibaraki Prefecture natto is served with rice, used to make tempura or omelette etc. and the Soboro natto is a specialty of the area. It is a special type of natto that is made using soybeans and daikon roots to create a new flavor. This may be the best natto of your life, so give it a try!!
Website: http://www.mito-uomasa.co.jp/Menu/natto.html (Japanese only)
Average Price: Natto set menu (with squid natto, natto tempura, one simmered dish, rice, miso soup and pickles) for ¥2,000; or you can taste different type of natto separately for a range of ¥400 – ¥1,200.
Address: 2 Chome-1-23 Daikumachi Mito-shi, Ibaraki Prefecture
The monk fish is a fish with a broad, flat body and a delicious flavor. In Japan and especially in Ibaraki prefecture the monk fish are used in traditional hot pots (nabe), and it is a typical autumn-winter dish. The monk fish hot pot recipe is a very ancient one and most of the restaurants that serve that nowadays like to stick to the original recipe to keep alive the tradition of this peculiar dish.
Website: http://www.sansui-mito.com/ (Japanese only)
Average price: for the monk fish hot pot it may vary based on what ingredients you want to add.
Address: 2 Chome-2-40 Izumicho, Mito-shi, Ibaraki Prefecture
Okukuji Shamo Chicken
This is a local kind of chicken, a bit smaller than the common one and with low-fat meat that makes it very healthy. Okukuji Shamo is used in traditional hot pots, grilled or to make oyakodon. Oyakodon is a delicious and very simple dish with eggs, chicken and cooked rice as the main ingredients. You can find the best Okukuji Shamo cuisine on the Sansui restaurant’s menu: other than hot pot they serve it as chicken wings and deep-fried skewers, a delicious treat for a drinking night!
Website: http://www.sansui-mito.com/ (Japanese only)
Average price: the hot pot price may vary based on the chosen ingredients; chicken wings from ¥540 and chicken skewers from ¥648.
Address: 2-2-40 Izumi-cho, Mito, Ibaraki
Hitachi Wagyu Beef
Wagyu beef is one of the most quoted and requested premium meat cut in Japan and in the world. Hitachi wagyu beef is a variety found especially in Mito city, and its juicy flavor will blow you away! You can taste it to the fullest at KIKUSUI, a specialized shop which serves wagyu beef Sukiyaki, steak, yakiniku, barbecue and more! KIKUSUI’s staffs are wagyu experts that work to offer always the best cuts for a gourmet experience, so you are in the best hands!
Website: http://www.kikusui-mito.com/ (Japanese website)
Average price: may vary based on the chosen meat cut
Address: 2-16-5-2 Nishihara, Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture
There we go with the desserts! In Mito city, you can find a lot of traditional and delicious sweets, and the most quoted ones are plum sweets. Their presentation is so elegant, and the flavor is unique and delicate, so they’re perfect for a relaxing tea time. You can choose between a lot of sweets made with plum; starting from a huge variety of plum manjus to ume ichizu, a soft sweet made with plum cream: pink and incredibly cute! Plum sweets and generally traditional Japanese sweets are pretty easy to find! There are specialized shops, and also food stands near the most famous spots, so have fun finding the best one!
Plum sweets varieties: http://www.city.mito.lg.jp/000271/000273/000286/000352/p015574.html (Japanese only)
From now on we will talk about other delicacies from other parts of Ibaraki Prefecture:
Hitachino Nest Beer
Hitachino family has being brewing beer and sake from 1823 so far, and their products have always been high-quality. Hitachino is the ancient name of the province where is located the brewery, and it has been famous since then for its rich and fertile soil. Hitachino beer is a Japanese beer, made with Japanese ingredients and Japanese technique, so it may be interesting to visit the brewery and taste some samples! You can also buy some as a souvenir and give it as a gift if you have friends or family who love beer. Now Hitachino beer shops are located also overseas and in Tokyo and Shinagawa, but going to the official brewery where all started is a completely different thing, right?
Restaurant Address: Mito station building Excel- Minami 4F, 1-7-31 Miyamachi, Mito, Ibaraki
Brewery Address: 1257 Konosu Naka-shi, Ibaraki Prefecture
Dried Sweet Potatoes
Everybody knows that sweet potato is already good even just cooked and eaten, but dried sweet potatoes promise to be even better! First, you don’t have to cook them for hours and second, you can take them wherever you go as a delicious simple snack! Not hungry yet? Ibaraki prefecture’s dried sweet potatoes are also dried completely naturally in the sun, free of any additives and really good for your health. You can find them in Naka city or there is a shop Kouta Shouten at Mito Station building Excel Minami, so what are you waiting for?
Excel Minami Kouda Shouten Address: 1 Chome-7-31 Miyamachi, Mito-shi, Ibaraki Prefecture
There are few fish markets in Ibaraki Prefecture where you’re sure to find the best of the best in seafood and fresh fish! The first one is Hitachi Osakana Center, and the second one is Nakaminato Fish Market. In Hitachi Osakana Center you can find everything you need to cook a seafood feast, and if you’re lucky enough you may also find some cooking lesson to give you some ideas! If you’re not a cooking person though you can still enjoy a visit the second floor there is also a restaurant who serves fish and seafood cuisine straight from the market. The second fish market is located in Hitachinaka city, there are plenty of sushi restaurants for inexpensive prices, and even the seafood’s prices are not too high, so you can satisfy your cravings without breaking the bank!
Hitachi Osakana Center
Address: 5779-24 Minami-machi, Hitachi, Ibaraki
Nakaminato Osakana Ichiba
Address: Minato-hon-cho, Hitachinaka City, Ibaraki
Hitachi-aki-soba is soba produced using a plant breed different from the common one: it is made with buckwheat from Kanasago, an Ibaraki Prefecture area which produces soba from ancient times. Hitachi-aki-soba has become gradually very famous thanks to its delicious flavor, and now you can easily find it when in Ibaraki, especially at restaurant KANASA-AN. This is the most recommended place to try Hitachi-aki-soba for the first time, thus it also prepares the soba with local natural water, which is said to make the skin look beautiful.
Address: 321-1 Kamimiyakawauchi, Hitachiota, Ibaraki
What is a local food list without ramen? Ibaraki Prefecture also has its peculiar ramen, perfect for a lazy dinner or for a night out with friends! Mitohan ramen’s recipe is so ancient that it got lost at a certain point in history and until 1990’s remained unknown. That period the best ramen maker in Ibaraki Prefecture got together to recreate the recipe and the mitohan ramen’s special flavor, and from since then, it’s been famous and very requested. chives, pickled onions, shallots, garlic, and ginger, called the “5 spices” exalt this ramen’s deliciousness with a very delicate broth.
Taikou Hanten (大興飯店)
Address: 3-9-16, Hakamazuka, Mito, Ibaraki
Information in this article are as of August 2018