We scope out the best specialities that each region in Japan is known for
Japan is so beautiful and huge – it’s hard to decide on which parts to visit. Each region is known for a unique specialty dish, so every corner of the country is calling out to be explored.
We take a look at selected parts of Japan and the best offerings to look out for, so you can plan your trip around them!
Hokkaido Specialty: Seafood
This northernmost prefecture of Japan is famous for its sweet and succulent offerings fresh from the sea. The Rishiri and Rebun areas are especially loved for sea urchin. Other highly-coveted seafood include crab, squid, salmon roe, and scallops.
Hokkaido’s fish markets are also popular, with hot favourites like Sapporo’s Nijo Market and Hakodate’s Morning Market.
Kyoto Specialty: Tofu
Never underestimate a good plate of tofu, especially if it’s from Kyoto. These milky-white cubes are soft and silky-smooth, and are prepared in a variety of ways.
They can be sprinkled with toppings such as green onions, bonito flakes, or ginger, or soaked in a light soy sauce called shoyu. Kyoto’s tofu is often heralded as the best in Japan!
Tokyo Specialty: Monjayaki
Although Tokyo has many specialities from all over Japan, its most popular dish is the pan-fried monjayaki, or “monja”. It’s a deliciously savoury mixture of ingredients such as white cabbage, eggs, cheese, bacon, octopus and squid, topped with mayonnaise, sweet sauce and bonito flakes.
This quick-serve dish is similar to okonomiyaki, but with the runnier consistency of melted cheese.
Osaka Specialty: Takoyaki
Osaka’s takoyaki is the real deal, and it’s way better than what you can get in Singapore. These creamy treats are filled with chewy octopus, and the outside is fried to crispy perfection.
The tokoyaki balls are then topped with bonito flakes, mayonnaise, and sweet sauce. Osaka loves its takoyaki so much, it even has a takoyaki museum!
Nagasaki Specialty: Castella sponge cake (“kasutera”)
This famous confectionery was brought into Japan by the Portuguese in the mid-16th Century, and it has remained the pride of Nagasaki ever since, becoming the region’s iconic souvenir. The original recipe is a simple yet delectably elegant mixture of eggs, flour, and sugar, with many different flavours also available. Notable varieties include green tea, brown sugar and honey.
By Pamela Chow