Discover Japan: A Guide to Japanese Cuisine by Region

Discover Japan: A Guide to Japanese Cuisine by Region

Welcome aboard - today, we're taking you on a culinary journey through Japan!

Japan, with its rich cultural tapestry and diverse landscapes, offers an extensive array of flavours and dishes that vary greatly from region to region. With every city comes different regional specialties, with traditional Japanese food meaning something else depending on where you go.

Cooking techniques, ingredients, and serving methods couldn't be more different as you travel across Japan. We're delighted to take you through our favourite regions in Japan, and explore the unique products they bring to the table.

Exploring regions of Japanese cuisine and traditional dishes


Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, is renowned for its pristine landscapes and fertile fields. Hokkaido's cool climate and nutrient-rich soil provide an ideal environment for agriculture, resulting in an abundance of fresh produce.

From the famous Hokkaido potatoes, which are prized for their creamy texture and earthy flavour, to the succulent Hokkaido scallops, revered by top chefs worldwide, this region is a treasure trove.

And, let's not forget Hokkaido's dairy products, including rich butter and creamy cheeses, which are beloved all over the world!

Famous Hokkaido dishes include Hokkaido ramen - home to Sapporo, Asahikawa and Hakodate ramen varieties. Hokkaido's incredible fish exports makes their Kaisen-don a must-try, where steamed rice is topped with fresh sashimi (raw fish).

Jingisukan, or Genghis Khan, is a grilled mutton dish with a soy sauce or sake-based sauce, cooked with beansprouts, onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers. Originating in Hokkaido as a blue-collar dish, it is now popular around the world. Natto, or fermented soy beans, is another popular Hokkaido dish, often served with Japanese rice.

Learn about Japanese cuisine by region online at The Wasabi Company


Kyoto is Japan's ancient capital, and a bastion of tradition and culture. Kyoto is renowned for its refined culinary traditions, which have been meticulously preserved for centuries.

We can't discuss Kyoto without mentioning matcha, the finely ground green tea powder that is a cornerstone of Japanese tea culture. Kyoto's matcha is prized for its vibrant green colour and complex flavour profile, making it the perfect ingredient for a variety of sweet treats, including delicate wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets). Another sweet treat originating from Kyoto is ogura-an, a kind of sweet red bean paste.

Kyoto is also famous for its pickles, known as tsukemono, which are made using traditional fermentation techniques and a diverse array of seasonal ingredients.

You can't visit Kyoto without trying a bowl of nishin soba. Containing buckwheat noodles served with dried herring, this Japanese soup is extremely popular in Kyoto.

Obanzai is a traditional style of Japanese meal, native to Kyoto. Made up of lots of small portions of seasonal vegetables and seafood local to the region, the cuisine reduces waste by making use of everything, and prioritises creativity in Japanese cooking. It's a must-try meal if you're visiting Kyoto!

Discover Japanese cuisine by region online, matcha tea is very popularKagoshima

Kagoshima, located on the southern tip of Kyushu Island, is blessed with a subtropical climate and fertile volcanic soil. The city boasts an array of unique ingredients that reflect its vibrant natural surroundings.

One such ingredient is kurobuta pork, also known as Berkshire pork, prized for its exceptional marbling and rich, succulent flavour. Kagoshima is also renowned for its sweet potatoes, which are used to produce shochu, a traditional Japanese distilled spirit with a distinctively smooth and mellow taste.

No visit to Kagoshima would be complete without sampling the region's famed kurozu, a type of black vinegar known for its robust flavour and purported health benefits.

Another distinctive dish from Kagoshima is satsuma-age, a fried fishcake. It can be eaten plain, dipped in soy sauce and ginger or mustard, or used with nimono, oden, sara udon, miso soup or udon noodles.

The famous Mount Fuji is located in the heartland of Japanese cuisine


Our final destination is Okinawa, Japan's southernmost prefecture and a captivating blend of indigenous Ryukyuan culture and tropical allure. It's also famous for its distinctive cuisine, often labelled as the reason that Okinawans live longer.

Okinawan cuisine is characterised by its emphasis on fresh seafood, vibrant tropical fruits, and unique local ingredients. One such ingredient is goya, or bitter melon, which is celebrated for its detoxifying properties and distinctively bitter flavour. Goya chanpurū, a delicious Okinawan stir fry with bitter melon, is a vibrant, protein-rich dish.

Another iconic Okinawan ingredient is mozuku, a type of edible seaweed prized for its slimy texture and umami-rich taste. Awamori is another incredible Okinawan product - Okinawa's indigenous distilled spirit, made from long-grain indica rice and aged to perfection, resulting in a smooth and fragrant libation that captures the essence of the islands.

We stock genuine Okinawan Black Sugar, or kokuto, at The Wasabi Company. It has a rich, unique taste, with a bitter, sweet warmth. We also stock Okinawan Gin, which interestingly includes goya.

Okinawa is famous for Japanese cuisine including sugar and salt

Try authentic Japanese food from The Wasabi Company

So, that brings us to the end of our culinary journey through Japan. We hope that you've gained a newfound appreciation for some of the diverse regions and unique products that make up the country. As you've learnt in this blog post, each region offers its own distinct flavours and culinary traditions, reflecting the rich tapestry of Japanese culture and heritage.

At The Wasabi Company, we take great pride in sourcing the finest authentic Japanese ingredients, allowing you to embark on your own culinary adventures from the comfort of your kitchen. We are extremely passionate about Japanese foods, and we stock ingredients that will allow you to make most Japanese dishes for yourself.

Why wait? Dive in and discover the flavours of Japan today!

Older post Newer post