TripAdvisor

Explore the local culinary adventures in The Hokuriku Shin’etsu!

The Hokuriku Shin’etsu is a region comprised of three prefectures in Hokuriku (Ishikawa, Toyama and Fukui) and two in Shin’etsu (Nagano and Niigata). In this edition, we want to introduce you to local dishes representing each of these prefectures, giving you just one of the reasons you should visit. In our collaboration project with TripAdvisor, ANA digs up wonders across Japan in “Tastes of JAPAN by ANA,” and presents popular regional restaurants based on customer reviews .

Tastes of JAPAN by ANA -Explore the Regions-

“Tastes of JAPAN by ANA-Explore the Regions-” is a regional vitalization project that collaborates with the different prefectures in Japan to present the Land of the Rising Sun in all of its diverse glory. The Tokai and Hokuriku Shin’etsu regions are tripadvisor featured from June to November 2019. Click here for details.

Gourmet Popular in Nagano Prefecture

Togakushi Soba

Togakushi soba comes from the Togakushi region of Nagano prefecture, which is known for being one of the three major soba regions in Japan. Togakushi’s chilled soba specialty is Bochi Soba—soba that is piled on a wicker plate in little bundles. The roots of Soba-eating culture in the Togakushi region stem from long ago when mountain ascetics in the Heian period relied on buckwheat flour as a portable food.

Uzuraya(Nagano)

Uzuraya is a popular restaurant that uses locally produced buckwheat flour, and often has a queue of people formed before the store is even open thanks to its much loved sobagaki (buckwheat bun) and zarusoba (chilled soba). Another must-have at this restaurant is its yama no sachi tempura, made from highland vegetables and mushrooms.

Photo by TripAdvisor member

Photo by TripAdvisor member

It is worth to wait long queue.We sit at tatami and enjoy soba, interesting experience lunch time.This restaurant is 1 minute walk from the bus stop Togakushi Chusha. Easily to find, the only restaurant with many people in the front. Good soba, warm welcome and service.reviewed by romya419
Romen

Romen is a noodle dish made by simmering mutton and steamed noodles in a broth with vegetables and other ingredients. There are lots of variations of romen depending on the restaurant you go to, including ramen-style and yakisoba-style. This famous dish was originally known as charomen but has since come to be called romen.

Ushio(Ina)

Ushio is a restaurant famous for its yakisoba-style romen. The restaurant adds garlic and sesame oil to its dishes to dull the smell of mutton, and there are condiments such as ground cayenne pepper and vinegar for you to flavor the noodles to your liking.

Photo by TripAdvisor member

Photo by TripAdvisor member

Although people are divided on taste due to the mutton, it’s sure to be a taste treat for those who like this type of meat. I always think of ordering romen separately, but the stewed meat has a delicious taste similar to boiled motsu (stewed pork intestines), so I always end up ordering the set.reviewed by mikanginzi
Oyaki

Oyaki are dumplings similar to manjyu which are made from wheat flour or buckwheat flour and filled with ingredients such as vegetables. It was a staple food and in-between meal for many households and is made with various fillings including everything from vegetables to mushrooms, pumpkin or anko (sweetened red bean paste). Northern Nagano is considered to be the dish’s birthplace, but nowadays it is eaten throughout the prefecture.

Irohado Nagano Honten(Nagano)

Irohado is an oyaki specialty shop in a tranquil little town in Kinasa 40 minutes’ drive from Nagano station. The shop’s unique cooking method gives its oyaki a crispy outside layer while keeping the inside nice and chewy. With their plentiful fillings, oyaki from Iroha will satisfy your hunger.

Photo by TripAdvisor member

Photo by TripAdvisor member

The oyaki in Shinshu are a more modern interpretation of the dish, but are delicious nonetheless. It’s nice to receive complementary oyaki while waiting for the items you ordered.reviewed by Jet811595

Gourmet Popular in Niigata Prefecture

Tarekatsu-don

Tarekatsu-don originates from Katsu-don which was first sold at the beginning of the Showa period in a small food stall. Differing from the usual katsu-don cooked in egg, this version was made by placing tonkatsu on rice with salty-sweet soy sauce poured over it. The thin slices of this katsu are a feature that makes it easier to eat with rice.

Tonkatsu Masachan Nuttari Honten(Niigata)

This is a specialty store opened in Niigata Prefecture where the main dish is tarekatsu-don. Apart from their classic tarekatsu-don, they also offer a wide variety of other types like tarekatsu-don with curry or hashed beef rice.

Photo by TripAdvisor member

Photo by TripAdvisor member

The Ton Katsu was tender and perfectly cooked. The sauce was a little thinner, but more tasty, than most Ton Katsu sauces I have had. There are a lot of good Ton Katsu restaurants in Japan, and I would rank this one in the upper fourth. The service was exceptionally good, down to the very friendly and efficient waiter. He really lived up to the “do your best” ideal. It’s great to be a customer in such a place.reviewed by itzmeyoan
Tsubame Sanjo Ramen

One of the five major ramen types in Niigata, Tsubame Sanjo ramen is local ramen that has its origins in Tsubame City and Sanjo City. This ramen, with its plentiful back-fat pork to keep the soup warm and noodles that don’t stretch too easily, was said to be a request from the craftsmen who worked at the factory across the way.

Koshu Hanten(Sanjo)

Koushu Restaurant is said to be where Tsubame Sanjo ramen began. Its greatest feature was the option to choose the amount of fattiness: from “none” to “fattiest” (large serving). The noodles are thick, chewy noodles, and there are plenty of them.

Photo by TripAdvisor member

Photo by TripAdvisor member

I think the soup flavor is on the rich side, which isn’t to say that it’s too salty. It’s an easy-to-eat richness. It gets its richness and sweetness from the back-fat pork, and its invigorating sweetness and sharpness from onion, just as Tsubame-style ramen does, so the richness is just right. That’s what I love about Tsubame¬-style ramen.reviewed by Nomane_City
Italian

This dish was conceived at the Japanese-style sweet café Mikazuki in 1960, and if you come from Niigata, you likely know this yakisoba-style dish. Take thick Chinese noodles, sautéed bean sprouts, a special sauce and grated cheese with miso, top with tomato sauce and voilà.

Mikazuki Bandai(Niigata)

Mikazuki is a mainly Italian, light-meal restaurant that offers soft-serve ice cream and drinks, and now has more than 20 stores in Niigata. The Bandai branch is located inside the bus center, and is popular thanks to its easy accessibility.

Photo by TripAdvisor member

Photo by TripAdvisor member

The taste is kind of indescribable because the yakisoba is covered in a meat sauce and the noodles are on the soft side, but I really love it. The noodles are thick, the sauce has the acidity of tomatoes and the sweetness of onions, and it is accented with the added white ginger. reviewed by Keisaku425

Gourmet Popular in Toyama Prefecture

Toyama Black

Toyama Black is Toyama’s local ramen delicacy. They say that this ramen, with its richly flavored soup and its abundance of soy sauce, was created not long after the war as lunches for laborers and young people. The liberal amounts of pepper in the black soup are characteristic of this ramen and eating it with rice is recommended.

Nishicho Taiki Nishicho Honten(Toyama)

This is the first Toyama Black restaurant. The noodles available are Chinese soba only, and even to this day the restaurant continues to maintain its special flavor. The classic way to order it is with rice and a raw egg.

Photo by TripAdvisor member

Photo by TripAdvisor member

We went to this ramen shop late nigh (the noodles were call “Chuka soba” – 中華そば) The noodle was good but too salty for us, it would be better if we ate with rice. The owner is friendly and since the shop only had 1 part-timer by the time we arrived, it was quite busy ~~~Conclusion, good place to try Toyama ramenreviewed by BluePhoenix1908
Masuzushi

Toyama’s traditional trout sushi is a type of pressed sushi made with salted trout. The beginnings of this trout sushi are said to have come about when a Toyama warrior who was also a chef presented it to the feudal lord. There are more than 20 shops in Toyama City that make this sushi, and each one has a slightly different flavor.

Ogiichi Masuzushi Hompo(Toyama)

The sushi here is characterized by its nearly-raw, thick trout, and the store is so popular that if you don’t order ahead, you won’t be able to get any. The taste of the sushi changes from the first day it is made to the day after, so it’s a good idea to split your sushi and eat it over two days.

Photo by TripAdvisor member

Photo by TripAdvisor member

Purchased after pre-ordering. You’ll be asked when you want to pick it up. As rumored, the trout is extremely thick with the ratio of rice to fish being about 1:1. Prepared similar to rare meat, the fish it is then strongly pressed as sushi.reviewed by sirokumamon
Japanese Glass Shrimp

Japanese Glass Shrimp are small shrimp that live in deep ocean water. The only place they are being fished commercially is in Toyama Bay where the ocean suddenly becomes deep. Due to the faint translucent pink color they have immediately after being caught, they are also known as “Toyama Bay Gems.” As well as being used in sashimi and sushi, the shrimp are also used as ingredients in Italian and French cuisine.

Shiroebitei(toyama)

Shira Ebi Tei is a restaurant located on the first floor of Toyama Station. The restaurant offers sashimi and tempura made from Japanese Glass Shrimp that have each been hand shelled, one by one. The most popular items on the menu are the shira ebi-tendon and the buri-tendon.

Photo by TripAdvisor member

Photo by TripAdvisor member

“There is a resutarunt in the JR TOYAMA station, just 1miniutes. You are able to enjoy local spesialty food ; White shrimp. You choose fried or row bowl. I recomend fried one. It is 1200 yen. If you have few time, it is O.K. However you should wait to eat before eating, so it is easy to find it due to waiting line. You don’t be worry,becuase rotaion may be faster that you think.have fun!”reviewed by KKOBE

Gourmet Popular in Ishikawa Prefecture

Kaga Cuisine

Kaga cuisine is hometown cooking from the Kanazawa region of Ishikawa Prefecture. It is a combination of the Kyoto cuisine that came about in the Sengoku period and the Edo cuisine from the Edo period. It is famous for being served in beautiful lacquerware and porcelain, and its signature dishes are jibuni (poultry stew) and hasumushi (steamed, grated lotus root in sauce).

Saryo Utatsukanazawa(Kanazawa)

Saryo Utatsu Kanazawa is a Japanese restaurant where you can eat your meal while gazing out over the townscape of Kanazawa. The beautiful Kaga cuisine is served in tableware matched to the season and brought by kimono-wearing staff.

Photo by TripAdvisor member

Photo by TripAdvisor member

We thought that it was just another kaiseki restaurant but were pleasantly surprised by the big menu. They have 3 kaiseki sets, plus a very good selection of a la carte dishes. I had Kagoshima beef, tempura, a very fresh western style salad plus steamed egg custard, sounds like a lot but it is fine dining so portions are reasonably small. To my delight, they serve western style desserts and good coffee. I chose the Mont Blanc cake and decided to skip breakfast the next day! My friend chose the mid-price kaiseki course and basically had a tasting menu of 9 different dishes. Delightful if you are used to kaiseki. Ask for the correct private room (it is a private rooms restaurant) and one gets a view of the whole of Kanazawa City. We were there to see the sunset and it was beautiful (May is a good month to visit). This restaurant opens at 5:00 pm for dinner but reservations are ESSENTIAL. It is by no means a walk-in venue.reviewed by Grace S
Kanazawa Curry

Kanazawa curry is a local curry that can be found in Ishikawa Prefecture, in particular in Kanazawa. Kanazawa curry is characterized by its thick curry sauce poured over deep-fried pork cutlet and thinly-sliced cabbage garnish on a stainless-steel plate. Although Kanazawa curry only made a name for itself around 2005, restaurants have been making it for over 50 years.

Turban Curry Honten(Kanazawa)

Turban Curry’s main branch is a leading Kanazawa curry restaurant that opened in 1971. The curry, which uses more than 20 different spices, has a rich, slightly spicy and full-bodied flavor. As well as being served with katsu, there are many other options, including hamburger patties and wieners.

Photo by TripAdvisor member

Photo by TripAdvisor member

Like their curry, quick and good price. The rice is sweet and just yummy. We ordered the pork cutlets and just wow. My wife ordered Hamburger curry and also deliciousareviewed by evanstedy
Hanton Rice

Hanton rice is a western dish made by placing thinly-cooked egg on top of ketchup rice and then adding fried white fish with a tartar sauce. It became popular in Kanazawa in the late 1960s. Different restaurants vary their recipes by adding fried shrimp or a demi-glace sauce.

Grill Otsuka(Kanazawa)

“Like their curry, quick and good price. The rice is sweet and just yummy. We ordered the pork cutlets and just wow. My wife ordered Hamburger curry and also delicious”

Photo by TripAdvisor member

Photo by TripAdvisor member

We had a very enjoyable lunch here and it is something you should not miss out on when coming to Kanazawa. I highly recommend ordering the Shrimp Omelette. The staff were extremely welcoming to tourists and appreciated our efforts in trying to speak Japanese.reviewed by Daniel A

Gourmet Popular in Fukui Prefecture

Echizen Gani

Snow crabs caught in Fukui Prefecture are called Echizen gani. Off the shores of Fukui there is a lot of food such as plankton and small fish that snow crabs like to eat. The snow crabs here grow larger than anywhere else. With their sweet, firm meat and plentiful hearty innards, these crabs are called the “champions of winter taste.”

Echizen Kani no Bo(Sakai)

Echizen Gani no Bou has been established as a direct seller to Japanese inns specializing in cuisine since its foundation in the Meiji period. From its seasonal seafood chirashi-don to its full winter Echizen gani course, Echizen Gani no Bou has a menu with your fill of Fukui seafood.

Photo by TripAdvisor member

Photo by TripAdvisor member

we enjoyed the lunch full of Echizen crabs. price is not cheap but good quality there is lunch set, crab rice box or whole crab feasts that suits your budget. a pretty popular among locals. we got to wait for a table, but our hotel in Osaka said not taking reservationreviewed by yrtx4e
Echizen Soba (Spicy Daikon)

Echizen soba is a simple soba dish with grated daikon. How you eat Echizen soba differs from restaurant to restaurant as some offer grated daikon with dashi broth dipped in tsuyu, and others offer grated daikon on soba with squeezed daikon juice and dashi broth poured on top.

Kenzo Soba(Eiheiji)

This is a popular restaurant that serves handmade 100% buckwheat flour soba made with buckwheat berries purchased from contract farms in Fukui and Hokkaido. Its oroshi soba has a special broth that has grated daikon in it.

Photo by TripAdvisor member

Photo by TripAdvisor member

The menu we were given was only in Japanese (don’t think they had one in English), however the choices are extremely limited. Two sizes of noodle servings: regular or big and two styles of noodles: “Oroshi-soba” (with grated ‘daikon’ = Japanese horseradish soup-stock-sauce) topped with “katsuo-bushi” (bonito flake) and “negi” (chopped chives) … or “Kenzosoba” with a spicy-hot ‘daikon oroshi’ soup-stock-sauce (naturally, this seems to be their specialty). They don’t offer any other style of dishes …However, they do have a soba soft ice-cream which was unusually yummy (highly recommend as something different) and a “purin” = an egg custard pudding – but, we didn’t try it – as we were too full after all of the noodles we ate.reviewed by VanessaY650
Sauce Katsu-don

This is a simple katsu-don that places thinly sliced loin pork katsu on rice with a special secret sauce poured on top. The originator of sauce katsu-don returned to his hometown of Fukui after the hardships of the Great Kanto Earthquake in the Taisho period. It was at this time that katsu-don became popular in Fukui.

Yoroppaken So-Honten(Fukui)

This is a western restaurant opened by the originator of sauce katsu-don in the Taisho period. Now, they have 19 stores open. With a mix of sweet, spicy and hint of sour flavors in its secret sauce, the katsu is to die for.

Photo by TripAdvisor member

Photo by TripAdvisor member

Word is that this is the birthplace of Sauce Katsudon. Honestly, as a bad foreigner living in Fukui, I haven`t really tried enough others to judge whether or not it is the best, but I left quite happy. The crunch of the pork with just enough sauce to add a perfect flavor balance along with a typically great set meal made me regret having not tried this recommended place earlier. There is always a line at the busiest meal times, but when I went at about 4:30 on a Sunday, there was no wait, just a constant and in and out of customers.reviewed by inaka_rob

From hometown cooking that uses the bounty of the sea and ingredients from the mountains to original western food creations thought up after the war, you can experience a variety of local gourmet flavors and dishes in the Hokuriku Shin’etsu region. With its many restaurants that have people lining up before they’ve even opened, Hokuriku Shin’etsu is well worth visiting. Take a trip to discover the taste of regional gourmet food for yourself.

Tastes of JAPAN by ANA -Explore the Regions-

“Tastes of JAPAN by ANA-Explore the Regions-” is a regional vitalization project that collaborates with the different prefectures in Japan to present the Land of the Rising Sun in all of its diverse glory. The Tokai and Hokuriku Shin’etsu regions are tripadvisor featured from June to November 2019. Click here for details.

Menu