Funazushi, the speciality of Shiga prefecture, is fermented buna (crucian carp). The raw fish is packed tightly in salt for a year, then dried and mixed with rice. This mixture is left to “ferment” for 3 years. The rice is changed every year, but the fish is allowed to decompose.
Koyadofu or freeze-dried tofu is one of the most important ingredients in the traditional meal, Shojin-ryori, which is usually consumed by Buddhist monks.
It is believed that the name was adopted from Mt. Koya-san in Wakayama.
Boiled tofu was originally eaten by Buddhist priests in Kyoto. For the same reason, many long-established restaurants offer delicious boiled tofu in Kyoto.
This famous street snack, takoyaki, is a round octopus ball available across the country. However, this snack is particularly famous in the Kansai region, where it is made smaller and is therefore easier to eat.
In Hiroshima, okonomiyaki (savory pancakes) have been a popular snack since before the war. After the war, people started eating these pancakes as a meal, supplementing the poor nutrition at the time by adding additional ingredients such as cabbage, egg, seafood and noodles, which is how the present style was established. The six-layered structure with flour batter, cabbage, then the main ingredients plus noodles and more flour batter, then turned and flattened sunny side up is characteristic of these unique Hiroshima-style pancakes.
Fugu or puffer fish is particularly famous in Yamaguchi where it is enjoyed as a pan dish called fuguchiri.
In Japan, oysters are called the “Milk of the sea” because of their high nutritional value and rich taste. Hiroshima, with its unique cultivation techniques handed down over the ages, is the leading oyster producer in Japan. The large, shiny and supple oysters of Hiroshima are so delicious that oysters from anywhere else will no longer be of interest to you.
Tosa is well known for its high quality bonito fish. One of the famous local dishes is tataki where the fish is roasted slightly.
Tai or snapper is a common fish found in Japan. In Ehime, the whole fish is cooked with rice, which is called tai meshi. Another way to prepare tai meshi is to serve the raw fish with a special sauce together with steamed rice.
Named after Sanuki region in Kagawa, Sanuki-udon is usually served with kelp-based soup seasoned with light soy sauce over the noodles.
Mizutaki is a Japanese dish of chicken and vegetables cooked in broth and served with a ponzu dipping sauce. Native to Kyushu, mizutaki is a nabemono (hot pot) food. The chicken and other ingredients are simmered in dashi soup that is usually cooked at the dining table.
Mizutaki is frequently cooked at the table, and people can pick the cooked ingredients they want from the pot. It is either eaten with the broth or with a dip.
A typical local dish of Miyazaki is hiyajiru. A soup is made from boiled-dried fish such as horse mackerel or dried sardines, and miso is also added. The soup is chilled and poured onto hot, cooked rice and eaten with vegetables such as cucumber and relishes including Japanese basil or ginger.