3 carefully selected Akita gourmet dishes (specialties/local dishes, etc. that you must try)

🕓 2023/3/16


About Akita's gourmet food

Akita Prefecture's gourmet cuisine is characterized by unique dishes that make use of seasonal ingredients obtained from its rich natural environment. For example, in winter, Kiritanpo hot pot, which takes advantage of the cold climate, and hot dishes using Inaniwa udon, which is unique to Akita prefecture, are popular. Akita is also known for its sake production, and you can enjoy deep-tasting local sake made from local rice suitable for sake brewing. Juicy yakiniku made with fresh Akita beef and richly flavored dishes made with Hinai chicken also offer local flavors. Furthermore, you can enjoy dishes that use wild vegetables and seafood grown in the great nature of Akita Prefecture, which vary in taste depending on the season. These gourmet dishes symbolize Akita Prefecture's rich food culture and continue to leave a deep impression on visitors.

3 carefully selected gourmet dishes in Akita

1. Kiritanpo pot

石狩鍋 (7) (1)

● The charm of Kiritanpo hot pot

When you visit Akita, you can experience its history, culture, and warmth while enjoying Kiritanpo Nabe with the locals. Kiritanpo is a traditional local dish of Akita Prefecture, and its simple yet deep flavor attracts many people. The star of this dish is the chewy ``danpo'' made by crushing new rice into sticks and grilling them over an open flame. By simmering this danpo in Akita Prefecture's unique miso and soy sauce-based soup, a simple yet rich flavor is created.

The charm of Kiritanpo lies in its unique cooking method. By using freshly harvested rice, the danpo itself has a concentrated sweetness and aroma, and by baking it over an open flame, you can enjoy a slightly crispy texture on the outside and a chewy texture on the inside. Furthermore, by simmering this with local vegetables, chicken, and sometimes wild vegetables from Akita, the flavors of each ingredient are harmonized and the dish is completed as a single hot pot.

● History of Kiritanpo Nabe

Kiritanpo nabe is a traditional local dish of Akita Prefecture, Japan, and its origins are said to date back to the Edo period (1603-1868). This dish originally developed as a preserved food eaten by farmers during the winter. It started by making use of fresh rice after harvesting and baking the excess rice into sticks to make it easier to store. This is said to be the origin of Kiritanpo.

At that time, Akita Prefecture experienced harsh winters and it was difficult to secure food during the agricultural off-season, so Kiritanpo was highly prized. In addition, wisdom was born to make effective use of resources, such as using rice scraps produced in the process of making kiritanpo to feed livestock.

The history of kiritanpo being eaten as a hot pot dish is relatively recent. Originally, the main style was to eat grilled kiritanpo as is, or to eat it again after coating it with miso and grilling it again. Kiritanpo nabe as a hot pot dish is said to have become popular around the early Showa period (1926-1989). Around this time, the style of simmering kiritanpo in dashi stock and eating it with vegetables and chicken was established.

● If you want to eat Kiritanpo hotpot, this is the place! !

  • Store name: Toppinpararinopu
  • charm:
    At our restaurant, which specializes in ``Koryu Yamada Style Kiritanpo Hot Pot,'' you can enjoy all the deliciousness of Akita Prefecture. We are proud of our extensive lineup of sake from almost every sake brewery in Akita Prefecture, and the ultimate Kiritanpo hotpot made with ingredients we have diligently searched for locally. For our specialty ``Atomic Yaki'', we have adopted the technique that is said to be Japan's best grilled fish in Miyagi Prefecture, and pursue the perfect perfection of grilled fish.

    Inside the restaurant, we offer appetizers made with delicacies from the mountains and sea, as well as carefully prepared dishes that go well with sake. The name of the restaurant is taken from the ending of a folktale, and it is a robatayaki restaurant that prides itself on local cuisine and local sake.

  • Address: Akita Ekimae Building 5F, 4-5 Chiaki Kubotacho, Akita City, Akita Prefecture
  • Access: 3 minutes walk from the west exit of Akita Station, 168m from Akita Station
  • Google Maps:https://maps.app.goo.gl/fSfb8Jrf3KnhAEP36




2. Inaniwa udon


● The charm of Inaniwa udon

Inaniwa udon is a traditional handmade udon noodle from Akita Prefecture, Japan, known for its delicacy and smooth texture. These udon noodles are carefully kneaded over a long period of time using carefully selected flour, salt, and water. In the manufacturing process of Inaniwa udon, the process of folding and stretching the noodles is repeated many times in order to spread them evenly. This allows the noodles to be surprisingly thin and yet have a strong chewiness.

Another feature of Inaniwa udon is the drying process. By using only air drying, the noodles retain their unique flavor and texture. This traditional method ensures that the udon noodles dry evenly, ensuring that the noodles are finished in optimal condition, independent of the environment.
The best part about eating Inaniwa udon is its smooth texture that goes down easily. When heated, the noodles become even softer and take on a unique translucent quality. This udon is usually served cold, but it can also be served in warm soup without losing its properties. It is customary to keep the soup simple and keep the ingredients sparing so that you can enjoy the original taste of udon.

● History of Inaniwa Udon

The history of Inaniwa udon dates back to the Edo period. It is said that the origin of udon noodles began when a man named Kyuemon Sato, who lived in the Inaniwa area of ​​Akita Prefecture, began making udon noodles after training in Kyoto. Based on the noodle-making techniques he learned in Kyoto, Kyuemon developed a unique manufacturing method tailored to the climate and water quality of his hometown, Akita. At this time, Inaniwa udon as we know it today was born.

Due to its manufacturing method and high quality, Inaniwa udon quickly became famous not only in its hometown of Akita but also in other regions such as Edo (present-day Tokyo). In particular, its unique smooth texture, strong body, and delicate flavor have fascinated many people. In the Edo period, udon was prized mainly for special occasions and gifts, and Inaniwa udon was considered a particularly high-class item.

As time passed and we entered the Meiji period, Inaniwa udon became even more widely known. Around this time, as noodle-making techniques improved, the number of households producing Inaniwa udon increased, and the traditional method was passed down from generation to generation.

Even in modern times, Inaniwa udon still maintains its manufacturing method while seeking further improvements in quality. You can see noodle making factories that use modern techniques while still maintaining the traditional manual manufacturing method, pursuing even greater depth of flavor and high quality.

● If you want to eat Inaniwa udon, this is the place! !

  • Store name: Yosuke Sato main store
  • charm:
    Yosuke Sato Inaniwa Udon, a fusion of Akita Prefecture's tradition and innovation, continues to explore new flavors while preserving the historic Inaniwa udon manufacturing method that has been around since 1665. Our shop was founded in 1860, at the end of the Edo period, and has continued to pass down the skills passed down from generation to generation. The name ``Sato Yosuke'' was named after the second generation Sato Yosuke, and they value this traditional technique.

    Currently, there are nine stores in Akita Prefecture, including the main store in Yuzawa City, and we are spreading the essence of Inaniwa udon widely. The exterior of the store is formal and looks luxurious at first glance, but with surprisingly reasonable prices, anyone can casually enjoy authentic Inaniwa udon.

    To fully enjoy Inaniwa udon, ``kake udon'' and ``soy sauce steamer'' are simple dishes that allow you to enjoy the original taste of udon. Furthermore, at ``Nimi Seiro,'' you can enjoy different flavors with the restaurant's signature two types of soup: sesame miso and soy sauce.
  • Address: 80 Inaniwa, Inaniwa-cho, Yuzawa City, Akita Prefecture
  • Access: Approximately 20 minutes from Yuzawa Yokote Road/Yuzawa IC; Approximately 20 minutes by bus from Yuzawa Station on the JR Ou Main Line
  • Google Maps: https://maps.app.goo.gl/DbGKNXJAd37KTiSw7




3. Hatahata shottsuru hotpot

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● Charm of Hatahata and Shotsuru Nabe

Hatahata shottsuru nabe is a winter tradition in Japan, and is especially representative of the traditional taste of Akita Prefecture. The main characters of this hot pot dish are the fish called sandfish and the fermented seasoning called shottsuru, and their unique combination gives the hot pot dish a deep flavor. The charm of Hatahata Shotsuru Nabe lies in its simplicity, rich flavor, and uniqueness that gives you a taste of the local food culture.

Hatahata is a small, silver-colored fish that is caught in large quantities along the coast of Akita Prefecture during the cold season, making it a prized winter delicacy among the locals. This fish is fatty and has a unique sweetness and flavor. On the other hand, shottsuru is a liquid seasoning made by fermenting sandfish, and is characterized by its deep umami and complex flavor. By combining these two, Hatahata Shotsuru Nabe creates a taste like no other.

The charm of Hatahata Shotsuru Nabe lies in its simple yet deep flavor. The umami of the shottsuru brings out the sweetness of the sandfish, and by adding ingredients such as vegetables and tofu, you can enjoy a variety of textures and layers of flavor. With just one pot, you can gather your family and friends around hot food and have a cozy time even on cold winter nights.

● History of Hatahata and Shotsuru Nabe

The origin of Hatahata Shotsuru Nabe is rooted in Akita Prefecture's rich sea and harsh winter natural environment. Akita Prefecture is an area facing the Sea of ​​Japan and is known for its abundance of sandfish. Sandfish is an important protein source for the people of Akita Prefecture, and has been used in a variety of dishes since ancient times.

Shotsuru is a liquid seasoning made by salting and fermenting sandfish, and has been a traditional preserved food in Akita Prefecture since ancient times. This fermentation technology is the result of wisdom for the local natural environment, allowing us to preserve and eat fresh fish even during the winter. The method of making shottsuru has been passed down from generation to generation in Akita Prefecture households for centuries.

Hatahata shottsuru nabe has only been enjoyed in its current form in relatively modern times, but the underlying culture of using hatahata and shottsuru has a long history. The custom of local people gathering together in the cold winter and sharing a hot pot together has played an important role not only in food culture but also in strengthening bonds within the local community.

● If you want to eat Hatahata/shottsuru nabe, this is the place! !

  • Address::Iroriya
  • charm:
    "Iroriya" is a stylish restaurant with a Japanese feel, located about 16 minutes walk from Akita Station. This restaurant is especially known as a place where you can enjoy traditional hot pot dishes from Akita Prefecture. The interior of the restaurant has a wide range of seating options, from tatami-style seats to counter seats, and offers a relaxing atmosphere. It's the perfect place to enjoy delicious food while enjoying conversation with friends and family.

    Iroriya's signature menu is Akita's specialty, Hatahata Shotsuru Nabe. Offered at an affordable price, this hot pot is a local dish with heart-swelling deliciousness, made with slowly simmered sandfish whose meat falls apart when cooked. This is a must-try dish when you visit Akita.
  • Address: 4-2-26 Omachi, Akita City, Akita Prefecture
  • Access: Approximately 16 minutes' walk from the west exit of Akita Station. Approximately 2 minutes' walk from the west exit of A
  • kita Station by bus from Akarenga Kyodokan-mae stop.
  • google map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/2U2dcRDEA1bSbCGz6