Japanese Local Tastes
While some Japanese food are available all around the country, some are more local. Here are some examples.
Goma Dofu (Tofu)
There are some dishes in Japan that look like tofu, but are not tofu in the traditional sense (made from coagulated soy milk). One of these is goma dofu or sesame tofu. Goma dofu is made from three simple ingredients: ground sesame paste, water, and kuzu or kudzu powder. Goma Dofu is mostly served in Shoujin Ryouri meals (mostly vegan meals) at Buddhist Temples.
A great place to taste Goma Dofu is Koyasan.
Though you will find gorgeous beef all around Japan. Kobe Beef is the most famous one. Kobe beef is Wagyu beef from the Tajima strain of Japanese Black cattle, raised in Japan’s Hyōgo Prefecture according to rules set out by the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association. The meat is a delicacy, valued for its flavor, tenderness, and fatty, well-marbled texture.
Matcha refers to the green tea leaves powder. It is used in a large range of Japanese dishes such as sponge cakes or soft creams. Match is especially popular in Kyoto. You can also visit a tea farm in Kyoto.
Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup. It consists of wheat noodles served in a meat or occasionally fish-based broth. Often flavored with soy sauce or miso, it uses toppings such as sliced pork (chāshū), nori (dried seaweed), menma, and scallions. Nearly every region in Japan has its own variation of ramen, such as the tonkotsu ramen (pork bone broth) of Fukuoka, Kyushu and the miso ramen of Hokkaido.
Soba is the Japanese name for buckwheat. In Japan it usually refers to thin noodles made from buckwheat flour. They contrast to thick wheat noodles, called udon. Soba noodles are served either chilled (very good in Summer) with a dipping sauce, or in hot broth as a noodle soup (A special kind of soba dish is Toshikoshi Soba, a symbol of longevity, that is only eaten on New Year’s Eve). In Japan, soba noodles can be found almost anywhere and in a variety of settings, from “fast food” places to fancy specialty restaurants. Supermarkets sell dried noodles or instant noodle broth, to make home preparation easy. There are a wide variety of dishes, both hot for winter and cold for summer, using these noodles. The tradition of eating soba arose in the Edo period.
Udon are thick Japanese noodles made of wheat flour. They are thicker than soba noodles, white and chewier. Udon is widely available at restaurants across Japan and prepared in various hot and cold dishes. Several Japanese regions will have their own Udon style (Sanuki Udon in Kagawa Prefecture, Mizusawa Udon in Gunma Prefecture, Ise Udon in Mie Prefecture are among the most popular ones).
Freshwater eel is popular nationwide. But in Nagoya they have a very local dish called Hitsumabushi. Nagoya specialty consists of bite-sized pieces of grilled unagi served over rice. Hitsumabushi is eaten in four steps: the first portion is eaten straight with rice, the second with rice and condiments, the third with broth or tea to make ochazuke, and the fourth as you like it the best.
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The tours featured throughout our website are intended to give you ideas for what's possible when you travel with us. Treat them simply as inspiration, because your trip will be created individually by one of our specialists to match your tastes and budget.
It was our first trip to Japan. Working with Jeff was a pleasure. His knowledge of the country and local contacts were very helpful. Choice...
Working with Jeff at Rediscover Tours was a wonderful experience. He helped me plan a 10 day trip of a lifetime to Japan with my mother...
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Our team of Japan experts have all lived in Japan for years and know its the hidden treasures. Our team is here to answer all your questions and to build your tour just the way you want it.
Jeff was born in a south suburb of Chicago named South Holland and lived in Japan for 14 years. He now lives in Commerce Township, Michigan with his wife Yoshimi, son Shota, and daughter Mina. He enjoys playing with his kids, volunteering with his daughter’s marching band, cycling and training and teaching Aikido.
Michiyo was born in Noboribetsu, Hokkaido Prefecture though currently lives in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. Her main passions in life is traveling all around the world and enjoying their cultures.
Izumi has spent most of her life in the Kansai region, except for the 10 years that she enjoyed in the UK. Living abroad has made her appreciate her own culture and local beauty even more. She currently lives in Osaka with her family, including two cats and two dogs.
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