Foods / Local Specialties
Because it is situated on the Pacific Ocean, Ibaraki provides a wide variety of marine products, and there are plentiful seafood restaurants where you can savor them. Ibaraki boasts the largest haul of both mackerels and Japanese sardines in the country. And in winter you can relish anko nabe (anglerfish hot pot), a local specialty in Ibaraki.
Hitachi Buckwheat Noodles
An original local brand of buckwheat noodles, Hitachi Aki Soba is highly praised nationwide. Eaten since early times in Japan, buckwheat grains are used to produce soba noodles, which are eaten by dipping them in a mixture made from soy sauce and a broth derived from a dried-bonito base. There are many soba connoisseurs in Japan, so Ibaraki has a great variety of delicious soba restaurants.
Hitachi beef is a quality brand of beef. The highly evaluated meat is lean, with just the right amount of thin layers of fat. There are many great restaurants throughout Ibaraki that serve delicious Hitachi beef dishes.
Natto (Fermented Soy Beans)
Natto is a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soy beans, and it is said to be good for your health and beauty. Before eating it, you should stir it up thoroughly with your chopsticks, and then place it on top of a bowl of rice.
Ibaraki has always been an agricultural center owing to its mild climate, so you can find many kinds of fruit throughout the year. In particular, Ibaraki is known for its melons, strawberries, apples, grapes, pears, persimmons, mandarin oranges, and blueberries, as well as for its chestnuts and sweet potatoes.
Anko (Angler Fish)
Anko (anglerfish) is a collagen-rich deep-sea fish that is often served in a hot pot dish, anko nabe, in the winter. Like natto, anko nabe is especially associated with Ibaraki. Nutritious anko nabe also contains fresh vegetables, such as Chinese cabbage and green onions, making it a healthy dish indeed. Why not try it if you have the chance?
Blessed with plentiful water sources, Ibaraki has nearly 40 Japanese sake breweries, and among them, Japan’s oldest sake brewery in Kasama, Sudo Honke, is to be recommended. Come and discover the great varieties of sake that can be found in Ibaraki.
Hoshiimo (Dried Sweet Potatoes)
Ibaraki produces around 90% of Japan’s hoshiimo. Hoshiimo is a healthy traditional snack food made from steamed and air-dried sweet potatoes. The drying process condenses the nutrition in the hoshiimo, and they have a natural sweetness.