3 carefully selected gourmet foods in Fukushima Prefecture (specialties/local dishes that you must try)

🕓 2023/3/23

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About gourmet food in Fukushima prefecture

You can enjoy different dishes depending on the season, and Fukushima Prefecture has a unique food culture, such as preserved foods made in the bitter cold of winter, fresh vegetables harvested in spring, and juicy peaches and grapes in summer.

Among them, Kitakata ramen is one of Fukushima Prefecture's most representative gourmet foods. It is characterized by its unique soy sauce-based soup and thick, chewy noodles, and is loved not only by locals but also by people visiting from far away. There are many ramen shops in Kitakata City, each offering unique flavors.

Furthermore, Fukushima Prefecture is rich in fruits such as cherries, peaches, and grapes, and you can enjoy dishes and sweets using these fruits. ``Aizu horse sashimi'' is also a specialty of the prefecture, and there are many restaurants serving fresh and flavorful horse sashimi, mainly in the Aizu region.

Fukushima Prefecture is famous for producing sake, and there are a wide variety of local sake made from locally produced sake rice, and there are many izakayas and sake bars in the Aizu region and around Fukushima City where you can enjoy these local sakes.


3 carefully selected gourmet foods in Fukushima Prefecture

1. Kitakata Ramen

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● The charm of Kitakata ramen

The main feature of Kitakata ramen is its soup. This soy sauce-based soup is often made by simmering chicken or pork bones for a long time, and is characterized by its delicate yet rich flavor. This soup uses pure water from the cool climate of the Kitakata region, which adds an extra layer of depth and refreshing taste.

Next, pay attention to the characteristics of the noodles. The noodles used in Kitakata ramen are generally medium-thick and curly, and are characterized by their firmness. These noodles really bring out the flavor of the soup, and the more you chew, the more the wheat flavor spreads throughout your mouth. Local water is also used to make the noodles, so the taste reflects the unique characteristics of the region.

In addition, Kitakata ramen requires simple but carefully selected toppings. The basic ingredients such as menma, chopped green onions, and tenderly braised chashu pork are carefully prepared, and each plays a role in enhancing the flavor of the soup and noodles.

● History of Kitakata Ramen

There are various theories about the origin of Kitakata ramen, but it is generally believed that it began in the early Showa era when a small restaurant began serving it in Kitakata City. At that time, local people began to enjoy this ramen on a daily basis as a convenient noodle dish. Kitakata ramen was passed down over the following decades and developed into a traditional dish that continues to be loved by locals.

The special feature of Kitakata ramen is largely due to the use of clean water unique to the area. The Kitakata region is rich in high-quality water, and using this water to make noodles and soup creates a flavor that sets ramen apart from other regions. In addition, the wisdom of local residents to overcome the harsh winters was that they recognized the importance of eating meals rich in nutritious ingredients, which made Kitakata ramen even more appealing from a nutritional perspective.

From the Showa era to the Heisei era, Kitakata Ramen gradually spread its fame and gained fans all over the country. In particular, the competitive efforts of local ramen artisans to pursue unique flavors greatly contributed to the creation of Kitakata's richly diverse ramen culture.

● If you want to eat Kitakata ramen, this is the place! !

  • Store name: Sakauchi Shokudo
  • charm:
    We offer a clear soup with a light but deep flavor, a hearty special chashu pork that is so soft it melts in your mouth, and flat, chewy, aged, water-added noodles that go perfectly with the soup. As a famous Kitakata ramen shop, the exquisite taste that is particular about ``handmade'' and ``freshly made'' will amaze visitors.
    It is also recognized as one of the "Three Kitakata Ramen Shops" and is a symbol of the ramen culture of Kitakata City, Fukushima Prefecture.
  • Address: 7230 Hosoda, Kitakata City, Fukushima Prefecture
  • Access: Approximately 15 minutes walk from JR Kitakata Station
  • google map:https://maps.app.goo.gl/aDWxRfGeYWN9qh1R6




2. Kozuyu

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● The charm of Kozuyu

Kozuyu is a traditional local dish made with a combination of chicken, vegetables, and unique seasonings, and is a dish that warms the winter cold and makes you feel the warmth of home.

One of its charms is the use of fresh ingredients grown locally in Fukushima Prefecture. The chicken is tender, and the slow simmering allows the broth to come out well, giving the soup a special flavor. In addition, the vegetables used may change depending on the season, and the natural sweetness and texture of each vegetable enhances the taste of kozuyu.

Kozuyu is also unique in that it has a unique seasoning. By seasoning it with mirin or soy sauce, and sometimes adding a small amount of sugar, it maintains the perfect balance of sweetness and flavor. This simple yet well-thought-out seasoning makes kozuyu an even more special dish.

● History of Kozuyu

It is said that it originally began as a winter meal for farmers in the Aizu region of Fukushima Prefecture, and has been passed down as a wise way to warm up and nourish the body during the cold winter months. The name ``Kozu'' for kozuyu comes from the Aizu dialect that means ``red bean,'' and the name reflects that the dish was originally a dish with azuki beans as its main ingredient.

As time progressed, kozuyu evolved into a meal with richer flavor and higher nutritional value by using not only azuki beans but also plenty of fresh locally grown chicken and vegetables. In particular, by using vegetables harvested in the winter and chicken that is rich in fat during the cold season, it has become a dish that warms the body from the inside and is suitable for the cold season.

Additionally, since kozuyu is often eaten together by families and local communities, preparing and enjoying it has served as an opportunity for communication and has played an important role in strengthening bonds. This is a custom that symbolizes the traditional Japanese family bond, where families gather in winter, the agricultural off-season, to celebrate the past year's labor and share hopes for the future.

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

  • Store name: Shibukawa wholesaler
  • charm:
    Shibukawa Tonya is a long-established restaurant that dates back to the Edo period, and is a valuable place that passes on traditional local cuisine that has survived Aizu's harsh winters to the present day. This shop is located in a building built during the Meiji period that used to be the store, mansion, and product warehouse of the largest seafood wholesaler in Aizu. Just stepping into the building makes you feel like you've traveled back in time. remember.
    What is served here is Aizu's local cuisine, which is characterized by its rich flavor and volume, such as simmered dishes and soups made with Aizu's three major dried foods: herring, cod, and scallops. In addition, menus such as ``Matsuri Gozen Tsuru'' and ``Matsuri Gozen Kame'' are special dishes that allow you to fully enjoy the local flavors, offering visitors new discoveries and excitement.
  • Address: 3-28 Nanukamachi, Aizuwakamatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture
  • Access: 3 minutes walk from JJR Tadami Line “Nanakamachi” station
  • google map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/YyQcw4M9Ts4ZE4c97




3.  Takato green onion soba


● The charm of Takato Negisoba

The appeal of Takato Negisoba lies in the way it is eaten to bring out its unique flavor and texture to the fullest. In particular, Takato green onions, which are abundantly used when eating this soba, are an important element that determines the flavor of the dish. Takato green onions are characterized by their sweet taste and crunchy texture, and go perfectly with soba noodles. By placing plenty of green onions on top of the soba noodles, the flavor of the soba and the fresh taste of the green onions are perfectly fused, creating a unique deliciousness.

This way of eating is one of the ways to bring out the characteristics of Takato Negisoba most. By eating with green onions, the gentle flavor of soba and the juicy sweetness of Takato green onions melt in your mouth, providing a completely different eating experience. Also, by adding green onions, you can enjoy a variety of textures by adding a fun crunchy texture that contrasts with the smoothness of soba noodles.

● History of Takato Negisoba

When Masayuki Hoshina became the lord of the Aizu domain from the Shinshu Takato domain, he conveyed his love for soba to the Aizu region and established it as ``Takato soba,'' which is garnished with grated radish. Takato Town itself valued soba as a local food, and making soba was so valued as a daily life skill that there was a saying, ``A woman who can't make soba shouldn't be married.'' However, while soba was routinely made at home, soba shops themselves were almost non-existent for many years.

When I visited Aizuwakamatsu City in Fukushima Prefecture in 1997, I witnessed the commercial success of soba by the people of Takato Town in Nagano Prefecture under the name ``Takato Soba'', which deepened ties between the two regions. This served as an opportunity to spread Takato soba to more people.


● If you want to eat Takato Negisoba, this is the place! !

  • Address: Misawaya
  • charm:
    Misawa-ya Honten, located in Ouchi-juku, continues to attract many visitors as the birthplace of the Negi Soba style that was born in this area. This restaurant, which originally operated as a liquor store, is now known for a variety of local Aizu dishes, including Takato soba. You can enjoy your meal there. Its historic building and ambience with an irori hearth enhance the deliciousness of the food served.

    Inside the restaurant, you can enjoy local flavors such as the famous green onion soba (Takato soba), freshly made mochi, kozuyu, and pickled herring with sansho.
  • Address: 26-1 Yamamoto, Ouchi, Shimogo-machi, Minamiaizu-gun, Fukushima Prefecture
  • Access: 5.6km from Yunokami Onsen Station on the Aizu Railway Aizu Line
  • google map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/GSAhXKF5uCd6s9Pq6