Discover Japan’s Food Culture: A Gourmet Food Tour in Japan

モテナス代表
モテナス代表

Each region has its unique flavors waiting to be explored. Enjoy a food tour of Japan and discover the country’s rich culinary heritage.

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Hokkaido: A Seafood Haven

Recommended Street Food Spot: Hakodate Morning Market

Hakodate Morning Market, located in Hakodate City, offers an array of fresh seafood and local specialties every morning. It’s a must-visit on your food tour of Japan for its bustling atmosphere and delicious offerings.

1. Fresh Crab

   – Hokkaido’s crab comes in varieties like hairy crab, king crab, and snow crab. You can enjoy freshly boiled or grilled crab at various stalls and specialty shops in the market. The sweet, succulent crab meat is a highlight of any food tour in Japan.

   – Recommended Shop: Kaniya Honten

2. Uni (Sea Urchin)

   – Hokkaido’s uni is known for its rich, creamy flavor. At Hakodate Morning Market, you can savor uni-topped seafood bowls that offer a melt-in-your-mouth experience. Fresh uni is a must-try delicacy on your food tour of Japan.

   – Recommended Shop: Kikuyo Shokudo

3. Ikura (Salmon Roe)

   – Fresh ikura, marinated in soy sauce, is served over rice to create a delectable seafood bowl. Each bite bursts with flavor, making it a memorable part of your food tour in Japan.

   – Recommended Shop: Donburi Yokocho Market

4. Sapporo Ramen

   – Sapporo ramen features a rich miso-based broth and hearty toppings like butter and corn. Enjoying a hot bowl of Sapporo ramen while strolling through the market is an essential experience on your food tour of Japan.

   – Recommended Shop: Sumire

Access: Hakodate Morning Market

From New Chitose Airport, take the JR Hakodate Line to Hakodate Station (about 3.5 hours). The market is a 5-minute walk from the station.

Okinawa: Tropical Flavors

Recommended Street Food Spot: Kokusai Street

Kokusai Street in Naha City is a vibrant hub of street food spots. It offers a variety of tropical fruits and snacks, capturing the energetic spirit of Okinawa. This street is a key destination on your food tour in Japan.

1. Okinawa Soba (Noodle Soup with Pork and Fish Cake)

   – Okinawa Soba, with its thick wheat noodles and savory broth, is a staple of Okinawan cuisine. Enjoy a bowl at one of the many shops along Kokusai Street to experience local flavors on your food tour of Japan.

   – Recommended Shop: Shuri Soba

2. Taco Rice (Taco-Flavored Ground Beef over Rice)

   – This fusion dish combines taco-seasoned ground beef with rice, topped with fresh vegetables and cheese. It’s a colorful and flavorful treat to enjoy as you stroll down Kokusai Street.

   – Recommended Shop: King Tacos

3. Sata Andagi (Okinawan Donuts)

   – Sata Andagi are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, making them a delightful snack while exploring Kokusai Street. The balanced sweetness enhances their appeal for enjoying during your wanderings.

   – Recommended Shop: Matsubaraya

4. Pineapple Sticks

Fresh pineapple sticks are a popular street food in Okinawa, offering a juicy and refreshing treat perfect for the tropical climate. These easy-to-eat sticks are sold by many vendors along Kokusai Street.

Recommended Shop: Pineapple House

Access: Kokusai Street

From Naha Airport, take the Yui Rail (monorail) to Kencho-mae Station or Miebashi Station (about 5 minutes).

Tokyo: Gourmet Capital

Recommended Street Food Spot: Asakusa Nakamise-dori Street

Asakusa offers a blend of Edo-period charm and bustling modern street food. Asakusa Temple is the heart of this area, where you can enjoy a variety of snacks and treats.

1. Age Manju (Deep-Fried Sweet Bean Paste Buns)

   – These deep-fried buns filled with sweet bean paste are a popular treat in Asakusa. Enjoy them hot from the fryer while exploring the vibrant streets around the temple.

   – Recommended Shop: Asakusa Mangando

Access: Asakusa Nakamise-dori Street

From Haneda or Narita Airport, take the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line to Asakusa Station (about 40 minutes).

Recommended Street Food Spot: Toyosu Market

Toyosu Market is the new central wholesale market in Tokyo, replacing the historic Tsukiji Market. It remains a popular destination for food enthusiasts looking to sample the freshest catches and experience Tokyo’s vibrant seafood culture.

2. Fresh Sushi and Seafood

 

Toyosu Market is renowned for its fresh sushi and seafood. Enjoy sushi straight from the market stalls and experience the unmatched freshness.

Recommended Shop: Sushidai

Access: Toyosu Market

From Haneda or Narita Airport, take the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line to Toyosu Station (about 50 minutes).

Recommended Street Food Spot: Harajuku Takeshita Street

Harajuku Takeshita Street is the center of youth culture, offering a variety of sweets and snacks. Colorful crepes and trendy treats are especially popular here.

3. Crepes

   – Takeshita Street is lined with numerous crepe shops. Enjoy a colorful crepe filled with sweet or savory ingredients as you stroll through this bustling area.

   – Recommended Shop: Marion Crepes

Access: Harajuku Takeshita Street

From Haneda or Narita Airport, take the JR Yamanote Line to Harajuku Station (about 50 minutes).

Kanagawa: Komachi Street’s Food Delights

Recommended Street Food Spot: Komachi Street

Komachi Street is located in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, just a 5-minute walk from JR Kamakura Station, and offers a variety of street food spots. Enjoy the historic atmosphere while sampling local specialties.

1. Shirasu Don (Whitebait Rice Bowl)

   – Fresh shirasu (whitebait) is served over rice, providing a light and flavorful dish. You can choose between raw or boiled shirasu, depending on your preference.

   – Recommended Shop: Wasai Yakura

2. Taiyaki (Fish-Shaped Cakes with Sweet Filling)

   – Taiyaki is a popular snack made with crispy batter and filled with sweet red bean paste. Enjoy this treat as you explore Komachi Street.

   – Recommended Shop: Kamakura Komochi

3. Senbei (Rice Crackers)

   – Kamakura’s senbei are crispy rice crackers often flavored with soy sauce or other seasonings. These snacks are perfect for enjoying as you stroll through Komachi Street.

   – Recommended Shop: Kamakura Mameya

Access: Komachi Street

From Haneda Airport, take the JR Yokosuka Line to Kamakura Station (about 1 hour 20 minutes).

Osaka: The City of Foodies

Recommended Street Food Spot: Dotonbori

Dotonbori is a bustling area in Osaka known for its variety of street food. Enjoy takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and kushikatsu as you explore this lively district.

1. Takoyaki (Ball-Shaped Octopus Snacks)

   – Takoyaki is a beloved street food made with a batter filled with octopus pieces, cooked to perfection, and topped with savory sauce and bonito flakes. Dotonbori offers numerous stalls where you can enjoy this treat.

   – Recommended Shop: Wanaka

2. Okonomiyaki (Japanese Pancake with Cabbage and Meat)

   – Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake made with cabbage, pork, and other ingredients, cooked on a griddle. Dotonbori is home to many restaurants where you can try this iconic Osaka dish.

   – Recommended Shop: Tsuruhashi Fugetsu

3. Kushikatsu (Deep-Fried Skewers)

   – Kushikatsu consists of various ingredients skewered, battered, and deep-fried. Enjoy the crispy exterior and flavorful interior as you explore the food stalls in Dotonbori.

   – Recommended Shop: Daruma

Access: Dotonbori

From Kansai International Airport, take the Nankai Electric Railway to Namba Station (about 40 minutes). Dotonbori is a 10-minute walk from the station.

Kyoto: A Paradise for Food Lovers

Recommended Street Food Spot: Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market, located in central Kyoto, is known for its variety of traditional foods and sweets. Discover delicious local treats and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of this historic market.

1. Yuba (Tofu Skin)

   – Kyoto’s yuba, or tofu skin, is smooth and flavorful. Try fresh yuba dishes or snacks as you explore Nishiki Market.

   – Recommended Shop: Yuba Restaurant Fujino

2. Matcha Sweets

   – Kyoto’s matcha sweets are renowned for their rich, authentic flavor. Enjoy matcha ice cream, parfaits, and other desserts as you walk through Nishiki Market.

   – Recommended Shop: Gion Tsujiri

3. Yatsuhashi (Sweet Mochi Wrap)

   – Yatsuhashi is a traditional Kyoto sweet made from rice flour and filled with sweet bean paste. Sample freshly made yatsuhashi while browsing the market stalls.

   – Recommended Shop: Honke Nishio Yatsuhashi

Access: Nishiki Market

From Kansai International Airport, take the JR line to Kyoto Station (about 1 hour 20 minutes). From Kyoto Station, take the subway Karasuma Line to Shijo Station (about 5 minutes). Nishiki Market is a 10-minute walk from the station.

Yamagata: Ginzan Onsen’s Treats

Recommended Street Food Spot: Ginzan Onsen Street

Ginzan Onsen Street, located in Yamagata’s Obanazawa City, is a picturesque hot spring town offering delightful local sweets. Enjoy the serene atmosphere and unique treats as you stroll through the area.

1. Onsen Manju (Steamed Buns with Sweet Bean Paste)

   – Onsen manju are steamed buns filled with sweet bean paste, traditionally enjoyed in hot spring towns. Ginzan Onsen’s manju are known for their moist texture and subtle sweetness.

   – Recommended Shop: Meiyu

2. Cherry Gelato

   – Yamagata is famous for its cherries, and Ginzan Onsen offers delicious cherry gelato. The fresh, sweet flavor of the cherries is captured perfectly in this frozen treat.

   – Recommended Shop: Izu no Hana

Access: Ginzan Onsen Street

From Yamagata Airport, drive approximately 1 hour to reach Ginzan Onsen. Alternatively, take the JR Yamagata Shinkansen to Oishida Station (about 40 minutes), then transfer to a bus to Ginzan Onsen (about 40 minutes).

Kagawa: Udon Prefecture

Recommended Street Food Spot: Kotohira Street

 

Kotohira Street in Kagawa is known for its concentration of udon shops. Experience the best of Kagawa’s udon culture by sampling different varieties along this street.

1. Bukkake Udon (Udon with Soy Sauce and Toppings)

   – Bukkake udon features udon noodles served with a variety of toppings and a simple soy sauce base. The combination of fresh noodles and flavorful toppings is a must-try on your food tour of Japan.

   – Recommended Shop: Yamauchi Udon

Access: Kotohira Street

From Takamatsu Airport, drive approximately 30 minutes to Kotohira. Alternatively, take the JR line to Kotohira Station, then walk about 10 minutes to Kotohira Street.

Embark on a Food Tour of Japan: Savor the Best of Japanese Street Food

Japan’s street food culture is a captivating journey through regional specialties and local flavors. From the fresh seafood of Hokkaido to the tropical delights of Okinawa, the gourmet treats of Tokyo, and the traditional tastes of Kyoto, each region promises unique and delicious experiences. Use this guide to explore the best of Japan’s street food and embark on a memorable food tour of Japan. Enjoy your culinary adventure and discover the rich food culture of this incredible country.

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Author of this article

30代、フリーランスの通訳や翻訳者、ライター。一児の母。日本、台湾、アメリカのミックスで東京生まれ。 台湾出身の母の為に日本の言語や文化を教えてきた経験から、異文化間コミュニケーションに興味を持つ様になる。

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