From dumplings to sake, Fukushima Prefecture’s local food offers a huge variety of flavors. It takes about 2 hours to reach from Tokyo Station by Shinkansen, so if you feel like having a short trip this may be a good option. As a bonus, some of the foods on this list can also be taken in your home country as souvenirs!
Soba with green onion (Takato Soba)
This is not just classic soba with green onion: you literally eat it using the green onion! A long, green onion is used to pick and eat soba in place of the chopsticks, giving kind of a rural experience…? If you happen to pass by Shimogo town, the place where this peculiar tradition was born, give it a try so you’ll be able to say that you mastered the chopstick art so well that you went to the next level using just green onions!
Where to find: Ouchi-Juku “Misawa-ya”
Website: http://www.misawaya.jp/ (Japanese only)
Address: 26-1 Yamamoto, Ouchi, Shimogo-Machi, Minamiaizu County, Fukushima Prefecture
Average price: Takato soba, the simplest soba dish on the menu, is from ¥1,296. The prices go up by adding other extras to the plain soba.
You can find it in Kitakata city, in Fukushima Prefecture. Kitakata Ramen is one of Japan’s top 3 ramen, and you’ll notice the moment you taste its fantastic soup. Kitakata Ramen’s soup is tonkotsu pork (sometimes mixed with sardine soup) all well balanced together to create a strong but yummy flavor. If you’re in search for a comfort food, you have found it! Kitakata Ramen’s noodles are also fat and soft, so they’re easy and enjoyable to eat. Kitakata city, with its 120 ramen establishments, also is a ramen’s heaven, so if you have a few days we recommend trying many restaurants to savor one of the best Ramen of your life.
Where to find: you can find it in Kitakata city, in Fukushima Prefecture.
Kitakata Ramen Burger
Only in Kitakata City you can taste a fantastic ramen burger! The bun is made from thick Kitakata Ramen using Yukichikara flour, typically used for the “normal” Kitakata ramen noodles. The burger is made of brand pork or Aizu chicken and there are also the most common ingredients for making ramen, all in a tasty burger to eat on the go! We shouldn’t even say that showing your followers and friends a ramen burger picture will make your Instagram/Facebook/etc. Blow up in comments!
Where to find: Michi No Eki Kita No Sato
Website: http://www.furusatosinkou.co.jp/restaurant/ (Japanese only)
Address: 5598-1, Sanchobo, Torimiyama, Matsuyama-Machi, Kitakata City, Fukushima Prefecture
Average price: ¥350 (with Aizu local chicken: ¥450)
Wappa Meshi is served in a wooden bowl, and the term “Wappa” refers exactly to this type of round bowl, the mage-wappa. Hinoemata village, the producers of Wappa, inhabitants used the Wappa as a lunch box for a very long time (over 600 years!). The lunchbox usually contains three-quarters-cooked rice that is then steamed together with some seasonal ingredients such as mountain vegetables. In this way, the rice takes a bit of the flavor of the other ingredients and becomes really tasty! Now the Wappa Meshi is available with a huge variety of toppings such as salmon, tuna, squid, etc.
Where to find: Takino, the Wappa Meshi specialized restaurant in Aizu Wakamatsu.
Website: http://www.takino.jp/ (Japanese only)
Address: 5-31 Sakae-Machi, Aizuwakamatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture
Average price: may vary based on the chosen toppings from ¥1,500 to ¥2,500. There are also set menu options.
Kozuyu is a local soup which is served usually on ceremonies and new year festivities. Made from dried scallop holdfasts, carrots, mushrooms, konnyaku jelly noodles, wheat gluten croutons (mame-fu), etc., and seasoned with salt and soy sauce Koyuzu is very rich and full of flavor. As a traditional local dish, every family has its own special recipe which is being handed down to the next generation. As a ceremonial item, Kozuyu is served in special lacquered bowls called Teshio-zara.
Where to find: It is usually served in traditional restaurants in Aizu.
Who doesn’t love Gyoza(dumplings)? There are so many styles, so many fillings with Gyoza which make the choice more and more exciting! Here we recommend another version of Gyoza from Fukushima city. Enban Gyoza is made of fried thick rice paper stuffed with vegetables or meat and arranged in the form of a disk (Enban means disk), the same form of when they were cooked! For the fillings and the shape there is a great variety between Fukushima city’s gyoza restaurants so that you can enjoy to the fullest a culinary selection on your trip.
Where to find: You can find Enban Gyozas in many Gyoza restaurants in Fukushima city.
Nishin-No-Sansho-Zuke (Herring pickled with Sansho)
This is a typical Aizu dish made with dried herrings pickled with leaves of sansho, soy sauce, and spices. Sansho pepper is used to balance the scent of the herring and to preserve it longer. This is because Aizu is surrounded by mountains and it was difficult to get fresh seafood in old times. The combinations give to the dried fish a unique flavor that is perfect to taste together with some sake or as a side dish for a set meal. Another traditional fact about Nishin-No-Sansho-Zuke is that is often served in handcrafted elegant bowls made of ceramics and very characteristics.
Where to find: you can find Nishin-No-Sansho-Zuke in Aizu city only.
Another Fukushima Prefecture delicacy is the local fruit, and some good fresh fruit is delicious also when dried! Dried persimmons, in particular, are a common souvenir because they are dried following a special method: they are first fumigated in sulfur and then dried. This process allows to maintain more water content, and it preserves better the natural sweetness of the fruit, so you’ll have the feeling of eating a raw persimmon!
Where to find: dried persimmons are very common and can be found in all Fukushima Prefecture.
Another great companion of Fukushima premium sake is Ika Ninjin pickles. Ika Ninjin is a mix of dried squid and carrots which have a very chewy consistency and a good flavor given by the spices used to dry them. You can find them in traditional Japanese restaurants in Fukushima Prefecture as a side dish on a set menu.
In Fukushima Prefecture, you can find premium sake that will bring you to heaven in no time! But if you don’t just want to drink it and you’re also interested in knowing the brewing process we have some top brewery for you to visit! There you’ll also be able to buy some good products to bring with you as souvenirs!
This brewery uses clear and pure water to produce quality sake. They also cultivate on their own the rice they will use for brewing, so that they may guarantee top-quality ingredients.
Address: 4761 Teramachi, Kitakata-shi, Fukushima
A beautiful Japanese garden will be your sake tasting background. Here you can taste 10 sake, liquor and shochu types with the sake brewery tour.
Website (sake brewery tour): https://www.aizuhomare.jp/unreian (Japanese Only)
Address: 2706 Tokiwa-cho, Muramatsu, Matsuyama-Machi, Kitakata City, Fukushima Prefecture
Information is as of December 2018
Thumbnail image is from Flickr