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Iwate gourmet produce – thanks to discerning producers and Mother Nature

The rich produce of Iwate is made possible by nature, its mountains and seas. It is also the result of the care taken by farmers in nurturing organic soils and ensuring that livestock receive the best feed and purest water. Be sure to taste Iwate’s finest products, including some of its many luxury rice, wagyu beef, apples and oyster brands.

Tender wagyu that melts in the mouth

Even in Japan, the home of wagyu, the quality and production of beef in Iwate is top class. Cattle are raised with painstaking care from calves, enjoying clear air and beautiful water. The “Iwate-gyu” beef brand is the leader in quality, safety and confidence, characterized by the umami and sweetness of the marbling in Japanese Black beef. This is Japan’s top brand, clinching the title for No. 1 meat quality in the national contest no less than 11 times, the most of any wagyu brand.

Nutrition-packed seafood, harvested from the wild

Three major ocean currents meet in the Pacific waters off Iwate, making it one of the world’s three greatest fishing zones, with a diverse array of species available. The little coves and bays along the coastline are also home to an abundance of seaweed, oysters, scallops and other seafood that promote health and beauty. Seaweed and seafood are rich in nutrition and flavor as a result of nutrients from mountain forests and soils, dissolved by rain, washing down the rivers and streams and into the sea. Taste our fresh sashimi and sushi.

Iwate’s unique soba-scoffing challenge

Wanko soba is eaten in a unique way in Iwate: each bowl contains a mouthful of noodles, and is quickly replaced by the next. Diners compete to see who can demolish the most bowls. The roots of this custom are said to lie in the tradition that good hospitality means ensuring guests eat a lot. The waitress stands beside the challenger, adding a bowl of soba just as soon as the last one is finished and not stopping until the challenger places a lid on the last bowl. The waitress urges the challenger on with unique phrases like “dondon!” and “janjan!”, producing an exciting atmosphere that leads to more and more noodles being consumed. Some restaurants offer a memento to customers achieving 100 bowls, so why not take up a memorable challenge during your stay?

Try a regional sake paired with local cuisine

There are more than 20 sake rice wine brewers in Iwate, applying traditional skills passed down the generations that make Iwate one of the top three sake regions in Japan. Sake is made from rice and water, both of which carry unique local flavor characteristics, and the brewer also brings a subtle influence to bear on the taste of the final product. While sake brewers along the coast tend to create flavors that complement seafood, inland brewers supply a wide variety of brews to match any cuisine. Enjoy the marriage with food from the same region.

Distinctive craft beers like “Oyster Stout”

Iwate is home to six local beer breweries, including some that have taken out top prizes in beer contests in Japan and overseas. There are highly distinctive offerings in Iwate, from beer brewed using techniques from the sake brewery, beer that uses locally-produced hops, and flavored beers that use local food ingredients like yuzu, wild grapes, strawberries and oysters. Try a few different drops and find one you love.

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