What part of Japan has the best food, and what should you eat there?

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Japan takes a lot of pride in its cuisine, and not just on a national level. Different parts of the country have earned reputations for making certain dishes or producing certain ingredients better than anywhere else, with such recognition becoming an intangible badge of honor for locals and source of envy among travelers.

But which part of Japan is the best to eat in? To try to find out, finance and economics website Diamond Online polled its users, asking which prefectures have the most delicious food. A total of 30,024 responses were collected from participants aged 20 to 79, so let’s take a look at the top five, and also fill in a missing piece on information by giving you SoraNews24’s recommendations for what to eat in those prefectures.

5. Kyoto


As a stronghold of numerous facets of traditional Japanese culture, it’s no surprise to see Kyoto make the list. The type of food most commonly associated with the area is kaiseki ryori, elaborate multi-course meals often eaten at the ryokan (Japanese inn) the diners are staying at, but if you want to go a little simpler, Kyoto is also known for yudofu (tofu hot pot made with bonito stock) and nishin soba (soba noodles with herring).

▼ Yudofu


Oh, and don’t forget to save room for dessert, since Kyoto Prefecture is where you’ll find the town of Uji, which produces some of the best green tea in Japan, and so some of the best matcha sweets too.

4. Niigata


Niigata’s inclusion on the list is a bit of a head-scratcher, since there isn’t really any specific dish that’s associated with Niigata that really gets most people’s mouths watering, though hegi soba, the local version of buckwheat noodles which are made funori seaweed, is tasty enough.

What Niigata does have, though, is rice. Niigata-grown Koshihikari rice is often said to be the most delicious variety in Japan, and with rice being a major component of so many Japanese meals, Niigata’s great grains seem to have powered it into the number-four spot.

Niigata may also have scored a few extra points in the survey because thanks to its rice and clean water supply, the prefecture is also known for its excellent sake breweries. Granted, sake is a beverage, and so it’s not entirely in keeping with the survey’s question of “Which prefecture has delicious food?”, but considering how much better even ordinary food tastes after a strong drink or two, maybe Niigata’s sake leaves diners feeling extra satisfied at the end of their meals.

3. Osaka


On the other hand, it’s easy to come up with specific food recommendations for Osaka, starting with okonomiyaki, a pancake-like omelet made with cabbage, pork, and whatever other vegetables, meats, or seafood you want to toss in. For a less substantial taste of Osaka cuisine, there’s takoyaki, bite-sized octopus dumplings you eat with a toothpick and are so good that they’re even featured in the Michelin dining guide.

2. Fukuoka


The largest city on the southwestern island of Kyushu, Fukuoka’s biggest edible claim to fame is its ramen. Fukuoka City in particular is known among ramen fans as the best place to gettonkotsu (pork stock) ramen, which in Fukuoka uses thin, chewy noodles that retain a connection with ramen’s Chinese roots. Pair it with some hitokuchi gyoza, Fukuoka’s bite-sized take on pork dumplings, and you’ve got a great meal, or if you’re feeling more adventurous you can seek out some mentaiko, spicy cod roe, which is great on rice.

1. Hokkaido


As an island nation, Japan has always loved seafood, and the northern island of Hokkaido, surrounded by cold waters, is widely considered to be the best place for crab, salmon and uni (sea urchin).

Hokkaido scallops and ikura (salmon roe) are also highly prized, but even the dry land of Hokkaido boasts plenty of regional delicacies, thanks to its abundant farmland and spacious ranches. Pork rice bowls seasoned with a sweet glaze, ramen with miso broth, corn and potatoes from the fields, and ice cream and cheese from Japan’s number-one dairy-producing prefecture are all basically national treasures in the eyes of Japanese foodies.

All that variety makes it hard to argue with Hokkaido taking the top spot on the list, and also hard to hear anything other than the rumbling of our stomachs.

Source: Yahoo! Japan News/Diamond Online via Otakomu

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© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I have to agree that Hokkaido has the best food in Japan. When I went there about 12 years ago, I couldn't stop eating. Ramen, potatos, lamb, and of course seafood. Yes Hokkaido is the best place in Japan for cuisine bar none

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Osaka, starting with okonomiyaki

That mayonnnaise-laden pancake? Ugh.

Nah, Okinawa is the place to go, for, what else - goya! Oh, ya!

Or Yokohama for, what else, kuro-goma soft ice cream!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Serrano- I agree with you. Never been a big fan of Okonomiyaki. I do love goya with a passion though!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My husband makes lovely okonomiyaki - no mayonnaise as we both hate it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is a biased list for sure. Where's Nagoya on the list? Kyoto doesn't even belong. They seem to think their vegetables taste better literally an inch inside the border, and they sure are proud of it.

Osaka is up there, for sure, but Nagoya has a much wider variety of original dishes. Kishimen, Nagoya tebasaki, pork cutlet in miso, etc. etc.

And anyway, the bottom line is the biggest city, with the most variety of restaurants, is ultimately going to be the best place to go eat (both foreign and domestic).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I love goya, but living in Hokkaido, the best I can say about Okinawan food is that it wasn't quite as bad as I'd been told. I was pleasantly surprised with the fine food in Miyazaki.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

no mayonnaise as we both hate it.

Mayonnaise is bad. Mix it with that sweet sauce they paste it with and you’ve got something absolutely revolting.

Proper charcoal-grilled yakitori in any area is about as good as it gets for me.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sushi, Yakiniku, Ramen, Soba, Udon, Okonomiyaki .. I can not count.

Japan has the following wonderful words: "Hunger is the best feast".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Another vote for Miyazaki; the Chicken Nanban is wonderful!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The best food in Japan was in the 90s before the sales tax was raised from 5-8%. After that food companies really started cheapening and skimping on ingredients.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

While the food might be better in the 90s (can't really remember), but a mere 3% change in the price does not seem to be a valid reason for any loss in quality. That's like 1 year of inflation in other countries.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Why is yudofu there? It's flavorless tofu with soy sauce on it. Thanks Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

While the food might be better in the 90s (can't really remember), but a mere 3% change in the price does not seem to be a valid reason for any loss in quality. That's like 1 year of inflation in other countries.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

zichiJune 7  03:05 pm JS

All right zichi, ya got us all salivating, whip up a big batch of all that stuff for us already! lol

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My Kansai in-laws have been using Hiroshima made Otafuku okonomiyaki sauce for as long as I can remember. Not everyone uses mayo, especially the godawful Japanese version. I dig takoyaki but I'd go to bat for Akashiyaki--in dashi instead of sauce which IMO overpowers the flavor of your balls. And while I don't know the origin story of Katsudon, the best I've ever had was in a tiny place in Dotombori. Osaka rocks for food. Far more variety and at much better prices than Kobe, where I live. They also have a booming craft beer scene.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

For Kansai, the traditional expression is that the place to eat till you drop (kuidaore) is Osaka. Kyoto is clothes shop till you drop, Kobe is shoe shop till you drop. That's what the locals always said.

Some good seafood in Niigata but a weak inclusion for just rice. Thanks to hotter summers, the harvested amount of the top grades of koshihikari is actually falling. Lower grades have white spots from excessive heat and sunlight.

It's not quite Hokkaido level, but there are lots of good places to eat seafood in Ishikawa (Kanazawa etc.).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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