Local gourmet in the Tokai area that you need to try
Here we will introduce local gourmet foods from various locations in Aichi Prefecture, Mie Prefecture, Gifu Prefecture, and Shizuoka Prefecture that are a must-try if you visit. We will present a wide selection of foods ranging from dishes made from local specialties to creative ideas that will give you a flash of inspiration. ANA carried out a project in collaboration with “Tastes of JAPAN by ANA,” which works to discover the most charming locations all over the country, and TripAdvisor, to introduce popular shops from each location based on customer reviews.
Gourmet Popular in Aichi Prefecture
Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture has a distinctive food culture called “Nagoyameshi”. Miso-katsu is one of the archetypal nagoyameshi dishes and consists of a deep-fried tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlet) topped with a sauce made from a red miso base with sugar and soup stock added. In addition to specialty stores, you can also eat it at yoshokuya (western style cafes).
Yabaton Yabacho Honten（Nagoya）
This is a Miso Katsu specialty store that has opened more than 20 stores mainly in Nagoya. Its specialty is “Teppan tonkatsu,” where they spread cabbage on a hot plate, place a sirloin tonkatsu on top and cover with a miso sauce.
This is a local cuisine that has been made around Nagoya since the Meiji era, where grilled eel is finely chopped and topped on rice. It is unique for how it is eaten. First, you separate the bowl from the wooden container and eat it as it is. The second bowl is served with onions such as leeks and wasabi, and the third cup is served with tea and soup.
Atsuta Horaiken Honten（Nagoya）
This long-running store was established as a high-class Japanese-style restaurant in 1873 and is a popular restaurant that sees long lines for consecutive days. The Hitsumabushi made with eel grilled to perfection by skilled craftsmen, with its secret sauce that has been continuously perfected since the Meiji era, is an particularly delicious.
Kishimen are flat udon noodles. There are flat udon noodles throughout the country, but it is only in Aichi Prefecture that they are called kishimen, and it has become a specialty of this region. There are a variety of ways to eat them, as with normal udon, such as kake (plain soup), cold and curry, but it is often characterized by topping with bonito flakes and agedama (crunchy bits of deep fried flour-batter).
This is a specialty store for kishimen located in the grounds of Atsuta Jingu shrine, which enshrines “Kusanagi Mitsurugi,” a legendary Japanese sword and one of the three Imperial Regalia of Japan. You can taste various toppings such as tempura and tororo (grated yam).
This is toasted thick sliced bread, spread with butter or margarine, and topped with anko (red bean paste). It is standard fair in cafes in Nagoya and there are versions with the anko served separately and others which sandwich the anko inside the bread.
When one thinks of coffee shops in Nagoya, they are known for their “Morning” sets, where if you order just a drink, toast and so on are included as standard. Lyon is famous for providing morning sets throughout the whole day during opening hours, and you can also eat their ogura toast.
Gourmet Popular in Mie Prefecture
This is a kind of udon consisting of thick noodles with black rich soup made with tamari soy sauce and soup stock. The noodles are boiled for more than 25 minutes, so they have a unique soft texture. It is a local dish of Ise city, which is very near Ise Shrine, and has been served to sankeisha (pilgrims) visiting Ise since the Edo period.
This is an Ise udon specialty store located in “Okage Yokocho”, the town in front of Ise Jingu’s naiku (inner shrine), Kotaijingu. In addition to the simple “Ise udon” topped with green onion, you can eat Ise udon with eggs, tororo, tempura and so on.
Matsusaka ushi is a brand of beef that is often referred to as “the art of meat.” Only cattle that have cleared certain conditions such as being raised in a specific area centered around Matsusaka City and being a heifer (a cow that has not borne a calf) are recognized as Matsusaka cattle. The smell of the meat is sweet and refined, and it has a mellow, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Ever since the Meiji era, this restaurant has been committed to high quality meat and is known as being a place where you can eat the highest quality Matsusaka beef. As well as specialty sukiyaki, you can also enjoy Matsusaka beef cooked as mesh grilled cuts, steaks, and so on.
This is a thick cut of pork, sautéed with garlic and a thick sauce, accompanied by shredded cabbage. After the war, it is said that it was born at a Chinese restaurant in Yokkaichi city, and now it has become a staple menu in western style cafes, restaurants and izakaya (Japanese pubs) in the areas centered around Yokkaichi city.
Matsumoto no Rairaiken（Yokkaichi）
This is a popular restaurant opened by a master who perfected his skills while working for over 10 years at the restaurant that was the birthplace of Tonteki. It is famous for its “Otonteki”, which is made by roasting 250g of pork shoulder loin and garnished with garlic and sauce.
During the Edo period, the sankeisha who visited Ise Jingu shrine from various places around Japan were said to like mochi because they could be eaten quickly along the way and were relatively filling. For this reason, the Sangu Kaido (Sangu Highway), which runs from Haruna in Mie Prefecture to Ise, is also called the “Mochi Kaido”, and even now, the towns along the highway still sell specialties such as akafuku mochi and yasunaga mochi.
Founded in 1707, this store is located in the town in front of Ise Jingu Naiku and is open every day at 5 o’clock to treat visitors. Here you can taste the freshly made akafuku mochi in the store.
Gourmet Popular in Gifu Prefecture
This is a local ramen that has long been loved in Takayama City, located in the northern part of Gifu Prefecture. Its basic form combines thin, curly noodles with a light soy sauce soup made with a chicken bone base. In Takayama, it is so popular that if you say “soba” it is assumed you are referring to Takayama ramen.
This is one of the most popular shops with many local regular customers that maintains its commitment to its traditional taste. It also sells home-use ramen to enjoy authentic Takayama ramen at home.
Kei chan is a local cuisine in the area around Gero City and Gujo City. Chicken meat is marinated in a miso and soy sauce-based sauce and is sautéed with vegetables such as cabbage and onion. The ingredients and seasonings differ depending on the area and shop, and you can enjoy the numerous variations.
This is an old-fashioned public dining area with restaurants located along a national road that passes north to south through Gifu Prefecture. Here you can not only eat keichan but dishes using meat other than chicken, such as pork and beef, which are also popular.
Hobamisoyaki is a local dish that has been passed down in the Hida region of Gifu Prefecture. It is made by placing miso and green onion on a dried honoki (Japanese bigleaf magnolia) leaf, which are numerous and native to the Hida region, and heating the leaf from the bottom. In recent years, it has gained popularity as a regional cuisine plus it is popularly eaten using Hida brand beef.
This restaurant is built in the traditional architectural style of Takayama and serves regional cuisine. With the hobamiso steak set meal you can choose from between 65g or 135g of Hida beef. There are many foreign tourists and a vegetarian menu is also available.
This is a traditional dish that has spread widely to mountain areas from Gifu Prefecture to Nagano Prefecture and Toyama Prefecture. Rice is pounded to a point where some grains remain, pierced with thin flat sticks or skewers, covered in a sauce and grilled. It is molded into waraji (straw sandal) shapes, dumplings, etc. and the sauce also has a number of variations such as miso, soy sauce and walnut flavor.
Nakatsugawa’s gohei mochi usually consists of three bite-sized dumpling pierced with skewers. This store’s gohei mochi is grilled with sesame or walnuts, plenty of peanuts, and a soy sauce and sugar-flavored sauce.
Gourmet Popular in Shizuoka Prefecture
Hamamatsu locals are known as vying for the position as the top gyoza lovers in Japan. Hamamatsu gyoza are defined as “gyoza made for more than 3 years in Hamamatsu”, and the standard are a light flavored gyoza made with plenty of cabbage. Hamamatsu has a large number of gyoza specialty stores, and many people buy them as take-out, along with eating in them in the store.
This store is located 3-minutes walk from JR Hamamatsu Station, and customers come from inside and outside of Shizuoka Prefecture. The slightly thin-skinned gyoza are arranged in a circle on a plate, and the center is garnished with boiled moyashi (mung bean sprouts).
Shizuoka Oden simmers ingredients in a jet-black soup made from adding soy sauce etc. to a dashi soup stock created by boiling beef tendon. It is also characterized by the fact that all ingredients are served on bamboo skewers, and it is served with aonori (green laver) and dashiko (dried sardine shavings). Besides izakaya, it is also sold at candy stores and is a staple as a children’s snack.
This Izakaya is known for its Shizuoka Oden, which is simmered in large pots installed at the entrance of the store. I recommend the black hanpen (pounded fish cakes) and soft boiled eggs.
These are fried noodles that have been eaten since ancient times in Fujinomiya City, and were also a driving force for the “local gourmet” boom that began around the year 2000. The most characteristic feature is the use of al dente noodles, and the meal is completed after frying them in lard with meat shards and topping with mackerel or sardine shavings.
This is a casual restaurant located near the sightseeing spot, the “Shiraito Falls” in Fujinomiya City. In addition to hearty Fujinomiya yakisoba, the okonomiyaki made with a large amount of cabbage is also popular.
Shizuoka Prefecture is Japan’s No. 1 producer of tea, and there are more than 20 production areas in the prefecture. Depending on the natural environment of each area, sencha (medium grade green tea), fukamushicha (deep steamed green tea), or gyokuro (highest quality green tea) are grown. There are many sweets using matcha (powdered green tea), and you can taste them at cafes run by tea companies and stores selling sweets as souvenirs.
This store is run by a tea factory with over 100 years of history, and its specialty is matcha gelato. In this store, seven types of matcha gelato are prepared according to the concentration of matcha, and the No.7 is said to be the world’s strongest matcha gelato..7は世界一濃い抹茶ジェラートといわれています。
The Tokai area has a wide variety of dishes, ranging from traditional dishes that have been around since the Edo period to sweets that have recently attracted attention. How about going out on a trip to eat these local gourmet foods that are full of surprises?