Japan has numerous famous dishes, but what not everyone knows is that every region has their own specialties, and takes their own spin at the most famous Japanese dishes. Let’s take a look around Japan and discover the flavors of the different areas.
There are 11 regions of Japan, from North to south: Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Hokuriku, Koshinetsu, Tokai, Kansai, Chugoku, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa.
Local Food of Hokkaido Area
The most northern region, Hokkaido, is famous for its seafood, like sea urchin and salmon. There are various seafood cuisines but the most famous one is of course sushi and kaisen-don, where you put sashimi on a bowl of rice.
Also Hokkaido is famous for its quality of vegetables, especially in summer you’ll be able to taste fresh vegetables in the northern land.
Local Food of Tohoku Area
While in Tohoku, due to the coldness, there are lots of variety in warm cuisines. In the region of Akita you can taste Kiritanpo-nabe, tasty hot pot served with kiritanpo, mashed rice, with different roots and vegetables.
Local Food of Kanto Area
In the next region, Kanto there are numerous famous foods, as Tokyo is also located here. Monja-yaki is cooked on a hot plate where all ingredients such as squid, cabbage and sweet corn is cooked and gathered. When its halfway done a watery batter mix is added: you eat the cooked part with a spatula right off the plate while you wait for the res to be cooked! A must dish to try out when visiting Tokyo!
See Also: Top 10 Tokyo Local Food You Must Try
Local Food of Koshinetsu Area
Koshietsu area includes Yamanashi, Nagano, and Niigata prefecture. Still they are located more northern and because they are all on the west side of the island of Japan, They get heavy snow. Thus, warm food is famous such as Houtou in Yamanashi. Houtou is a noodle dish similar to udon, but more flat and chewy plus the soup has miso taste.
Local Food of Tokai Area
Tokai is an area where has rather warm temperature throughout the year. Mia prefecture is famous for Ise-Ebi, Japanese spiny lobster. Ise-Ebi has similar taste from American lobsters but some may feel they are more delicate.
Also Aichi prefecture is where Nagoya is located, where has the famous B class food Miso-Katsu, miso pork cutlet.
Local Food of Hokuriku Area
In Hokuriku region, in Kanazawa you can try Jibu-ni. This local dish is made with thinly sliced duck meat coated in flour, simmered with vegetables such as shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots and parsley. All combined in a soup made of stock, rice wine, soy sauce and sake.
Local Food of Kansai Area
Kansai region is famous for its distinguished culture, with Osaka in its center. Osaka’s famous dish is okonomiyaki and takoyaki, fried octopus balls. The little balls are made in a special frying pan, where octopus is cooked and then a pancake batter-like mixture is added. The finished balls are crispy outside and soft inside, and are usually topped with green laver, special sauce or sliced and dried bonito, or the favorite condiments of the Japanese, mayonnaise.
Local Food of Chugoku Area
Hiroshima is located in Chugoku region, where the famous local dish is a spin-off of the Osaka based oknomiyaki. The difference between the two is mainly how they are cooked: while in Osaka the vegetables, pork slices and batter are mixed together, in Hiroshima it is all layered, with an additional layer of soba or udon noodles. If you’re in Hiroshima okonomi-yaki is a must – you can go to a restaurant where the waiters will teach you how to make your own, layered savory pancakes, with the ingredients of your choice!
Local Food of Shikoku Area
In the southern islands of Honshu Shikoku, there are numerous local dishes as well. Shikoku is famous for Sanuki Udon, wheat flour noodles, with a full taste and smooth texture.
Local Food of Kyushu Area
Kyushu has lot of famous cuisines. Such as Chanpon in Nagasaki prefecture. This noodle dish originally inspired by Chinese noodles but dramatically arranged in Japanese style. Very healthy with lot of vegetables.
Unique dish is Miyazaki prefecture’s Hiyajiru. This cold bowl puts rice in miso soup, topped wth tofu and vegetables. It is unbelievable to eat rice in cold soup for people from Honshu, the mainland, but it has been their local food for a long time.
Local Food of Okinawa Area
In the southernmost island of Japan, Okinawa you can experience a whole different world. With tropical weather Okinawa cuisine is rather different, yet familiar to other regions taste. Goya Chanpuru is a local dish made with bittermelon (goya) tofu, vegetables, meat or fish. Bittermelon is a widely used ingredient in the region’s cuisine, with a very distinguished taste.