Food in Japan: An Instagram Tour

by Mary Jo Manzanares on February 17, 2014

From Michelin stars to hearty country, my visit to the Kanagawa, Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures of Japan was a whirlwind of culinary experiences.

From unusual dishes to peaches from a local farmer’s stand, come along on this foray into the art and flavors of food in Japan, Instagram style.

Breakfast

If you believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then you’ll appreciate all the little bowls of bits and bites offered at many hotels. Many hotels also serve buffets.

Lunch

There’s nothing like the comfort of a big bowl of Udon soup. Udon had its start here it the Mt. Fuji area; it was the hearty meal that fueled visitors making the pilgrimage up the mountain.

Another popular option is the Fujinomiya Fried Noodle Lunch Boxes. This is a huge plate of yakisoba noodles that moments ago were being prepared for you.

If you don’t want a big lunch meal, or perhaps just want to grab a snack on the run, you can pick up a large, luscious peach. Called Momo, these peaches are much larger than what you might find at your supermarket at home and have a soft white flesh. You can pick one up from a fruit stand or greengrocer. Sweet and delicious.

Appetizers

Even the simplest appetizer is artfully prepared and presented. This is a tip we can implement at home, creating pleasant plating arrangements just seems to make the food taste better.

Bits and bites never looked or tasted so good.

My first meal after arriving in Japan started off with this delicious appetizer.

Dinner

Sukiyaki is a traditional Japanese dish, made and served in a hot pot with a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and mirin. The thin slices of beef are slowly simmered in the broth along with vegetables, tofu, noodles, and other ingredients, and you remove them from the pot when you’re ready to eat. The meal is served with a pickles and a variety of other little tidbits on the side.

Meals are often cooked tableside, oftentimes with a personal grill for patrons to cook their own (on the left in above photo).

Eel is a popular dish in the Mt. Fuji area, no surprise given the pristine waters beneath the mountain and spreading out into the surrounding areas. There are restaurants that specialize in this dish.

Watermelon is a popular dessert and was served at the end of several meals. Sweet and refreshing, it provided a nice to finish to the flavors of Japanese food.

Beverages

Sake is an oft served beverage, and it often starts in barrels like these.

You can find it on the shelves at a variety of price points.

And sometimes it comes in unexpected flavors, like this yogurt flavored sake.

And don’t forget beer. The craft beer scene is growing with regional selections increasing in popularity.

Worth a Try

While half of the fun of culinary exploration is wandering about and finding your own personal favorites, here are a few ideas for your consideration.

  • Araiya – Upscale sukiyaki in Yokohama.
  • Hachinoki – A Michelin starred vegan restaurant in Kamakura for lunch.
  • Shirasu Udon – For the famous – and genuine – Udon noodle soup (in Fujiyoshida).
  • Ide Sake Brewery – Take a tour and then find a favorite in the tasting room. The sake earns its reputation from using the fresh spring water beneath Mt. Fuji.
  • Japanese barbecue – Put put the meat (fish, shrimp, beef, pork, duck, scallops) and vegetables on skewers, baste with a little sauce, and cook to your preferred doneness.
  • Fujinomiya Fried Noodles – Walk around and find a place, you can’t go wrong with a filling plate of yakisoba noodles.
  • Fuji Takasago Sake Brewery – A nice selection of sake and plum wine in their tasting room.
  • Suminobo –  Mishima eel, grill yourself, tableside.

Photo credit:  All from personal Instagram collection of Mary Jo Manzanares

Disclosure Notice:  My trip to Japan was a part of “The Visit Japan Project,” a part of the country’s efforts to promote International tourism and visitors to the Kanagawa, Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures. Arrangements for the trip were handled by JTB and their partners. While my expenses were covered, my participation in this trip was with the understanding that I was free to create the editorial content of my choosing, specifically that which I most enjoyed and would be of most interest to you, my readers.

| Mary Jo Manzanares is a founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine proving informational and inspirational travel recommendations for curious Baby Boomer travelers. She has been a speaker at various industry events and has a personal travel blog at Traveling with MJ. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Mary Jo's top travel destinations are Italy, Portugal, and the Caribbean.

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