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.

Kaisendon in Hokkaido

Kaisendon in Hokkaido

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.

Kiritanpo-nabe in Akita

Kiritanpo-nabe in Akita. From Flickr

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!

Monja-yaki is famous dish of Tokyo, Kanto area

Monja-yaki is famous dish of Tokyo, Kanto area. From Wikipedia

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.

Houtou in Yamanashi

Houtou in Yamanashi

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.

Ise-Ebi sashimi in Mise

Ise-Ebi sashimi in Mise. From Flickr

Also Aichi prefecture is where Nagoya is located, where has the famous B class food Miso-Katsu, miso pork cutlet.

Miso-katsu in Nagoya, Aichi

Miso-katsu in Nagoya, Aichi. From Wikipedia

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.

Jibu-ni in Kanagawa

Jibu-ni in Kanagawa. From Wikipedia

See Also: Unbelievable Kanazawa and Ishikawa Local Food You Must Try Right Now

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.

Takoyaki in Osaka

Takoyaki in Osaka

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!

Hiroshima style okonomi-yaki.

Hiroshima style okonomiyaki.

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.

Sanuki Udon in Shikoku

Sanuki Udon in Shikoku. From Wikipedia

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.

Chanpon in Nagasaki.

Chanpon in Nagasaki.

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.

Hiyajiru in Miyazaki

Hiyajiru in Miyazaki. From Flickr

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.

Goya Champuru in Okinawa

Goya Champuru in Okinawa. From Wikipedia