The rice farms and sake breweries of Akita Prefecture, located north of Tokyo, are its main attractions. With nature trails like the Shirakami Sanchi, it’s also a good spot to get away from big cities. After you’ve had your fill of enjoying mother nature and some hiking, try a few of these Akita specialties.
1. Iburigakko (smoked radish)
Iburigakko is a simple but flavorful dish. Everyday daikon (radish) is smoked over a hearth for a few days by the villagers. It’s pickled in fermented rice or salt before it’s been served.
The rest of Japan normally sundries daikon, therefore this smoking process is peculiar to Akita. Akita’s style developed as a result of the requirement to smoke food in order to preserve it. Iburigakko is now known for its distinct aroma and savory flavor.
2. Hatahata fish
Hatahata is a kind of fish that migrates to the shore of Akita in the winter. Back when food was limited, this was viewed as a blessing. Because they reside in muddy sand and their lack of scales, the fish appear slimy at first glance. Locals in Akita regard this as an advantage because these characteristics make the fish extremely easy to catch and thereafter, prepare for dishes.
Broiled, fried, pickled, you name it, these tasty fish are prepared in a variety of ways. Even the fish’s roe is regarded as a delicacy (but quite salty).
3. Kiritanpo (pounded rice)
Akita’s pride and delight is Kiritanpo. Cooked rice is pounded until it is pliable enough to mold into a cylinder. The rice is then pierced with Japanese cedar, grilled over an open fire, and coated in delectable sweet miso paste.
It’s great for on-the-go or as a festival snack, but you can also serve it in a hot pot with meat and veggies without the miso. The chewy food is best enjoyed after a visit to Akita’s Yokote Kamakura Snow Festival in the winter.
4. Inaniwa udon
Udon (wheat flour noodles) are not all made equal. The medium-sized Inaniwa udon noodles are from Akita’s own Inakawa-machi. They’re frequently hand-kneaded and then dried for a few days, giving them a peculiar, springy texture.
It’s a long process, but it’ll be worth it once you get to enjoy these delicious, chewy noodles in your mouth. You can choose to have it hot or cold.
5. Babahera ice cream
You can’t go to Akita without trying babahera ice cream! This rose-shaped homemade ice cream is as lovely as it is delicious. The consistency is more like sherbet than conventional ice cream.
It gets its name from the sellers displaying it on pushcarts, or from baba (old lady) and hera (young lady) (ice cream scoop). The flavours vary, but the most popular is banana.