Yamagata prefecture is surrounded by Mogami River, Mt. Chokai and The Sea of Japan, which produced many many delicious foods to the land. I picked up best five foods that I want everyone to try.
1. Cold ramen at “Sakaeya Honten”
Yamagata is located in the northern part of Japan, but because the land is a basin, it gets really hot during summer. From this weather, to make people cooler, this strange menu “cold ramen” (Hiyashi Ramen) was invented. Cold ramen is different from hiyashichuka, whereas hiyashichuka put sauce on the cold noodle, but cold ramen is actually in the soup, just like usual ramen, but the soup is cold. “Sakaeya Honten” is the originator of cold ramen. It was invented in 1952, spending almost a year.
Cold ramen with ice cubes in the soup. It feels strange, but actually, the taste of dashi broth is very delicious.
2 Chome-3-21 Honcho, Yamagata-shi, Yamagata-ken
http://www.sakaeya-honten.com/ (Japanese Only)
2. Cold meat soba at “Chottotei”
Cold meat soba (Tsumetai Nikusoba) is very famous like cold ramen. Cold soba was born when they were working on how to avoid noodles become too soft. It is said that people in Yamagata eat noodles so much. “Chottotei” is very loved by local people, the waiting line gets long while it’s lunch time.
The chicken broth is so delicious! Cold niku soba is a local food of Kawakita Town in Yamagata. The temperature of soup is not too cold.
2 Chome-11-2 Yachitokorooka, Kahoku-cho, Nishimurayama-gun, Yamagata-ken
http://www.osobaya.com/ (Japanese Only)
3. One of “the three great wagyu” Yonezawa Beef at “DINING Bekoya”
Yonezawa Beef from Yamagata is counted as one of “the three great wagyu” together with Matsuzaka Beef and Kobe Beef. The building of DINING Bekoya is old-house like. They provide various ways to enjoy Yonezawa beef, such as sukiyaki, Japanese barbecue, shabu-shabu, and steak.
The beef is so tender that it melts in the mouth right away.
Yonezawa Gyu DINING Bekoya
Yamagata-ken, Yonezawa-shi, Higashi, 3 Chome−2−34
4. Cherry picking in Yamagata, the cherry kingdom
Yamagata Prefecture is called as “cherry kingdom” because they produce 70% of cherries produced in Japan. If you drive in Yamagata, you will see cherry trees everywhere! It is said the no.1 cherry land. When it’s cherry picking season, many people from all Japan come to Yamagata, to eat this delicious cherries here.
The most famous Japanese cherry brand “Satonishiki”. Cherry picking season is mid-May to early July.
The places to pick cherries are written here:
5. Authentic “Itasoba” at “Arakisoba” with 100 years of history in Soba Street
Along with Nagano, Yamagata is very much suitable for producing soba, buckwheat noodles. Delicious soba needs clean water. Yamagata has Mogami River and lots of mountains, excellent condition to create delicious soba.
In Yamagata, there are three streets called “Soba Street” that many soba restaurants gather on a single street. Many restaurants provide delicious soba, but especially I would like to recommend “Arakisoba”. The restaurant has more than 100 years of history and atmosphere is so nice, very historical house with a straw‐thatched roof. “Itasoba” is their authentic menu. It’s a soba put on a wooden long box. It is said that Itasoba was originally eaten after group meeting or group farming.
I highly recommend this place to those of you who want to taste “real” soba.
Arakisoba is selected to “La List”, the world’s 1,000 top restaurants admitted by the French government, as the only restaurant listed in Tohoku.
Order the side dish “Herring boiled with soy sauce” (Nishin no Nitsuke). The marriage with soba is tremendously delicious!
65 Okuboko Murayama-shi, Yamagata-ken
http://arakisoba.com/index.html (Japanese Only)