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Regional Japanese Cuisine

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Looking for some expert advice from the board. I am still trying to sort out the regional specialties we need to try during our 3 weeks in Japan next month. We will be in Tokyo, Kyoto, Miyajima, Okayama, Osaka for a sumo tournament and Sapporo.

Which type of food would you not want to miss in each location, and which are the best places to sample it, expensive and inexpensive? For example, I was reading today that tempura is better in Kyoto than Tokyo.

We also want to try some Kobe beef but will not be in Kobe itself. Any recommendations regarding Kobe beef in the cities we will be visiting? We are all too aware that we cannot try it all, but we would hate to miss the standards. Joanne

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  1. For Osaka, Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki

    Kobe Beef
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/35799...
    http://r.gnavi.co.jp/c536900/

    I just sent my friend in Tokyo (originally from Hiroshima) to this restaurant. She said it was the best beef, not just Kobe beef, she's ever had in her life.

    The owner/chef serves only heifer meat and uses Kishu Bichotan for charcoals.
    The lunch combo is 2100 yen, but the charcoals are used only for dinner.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kuidaore

      Do you know if Ishizawa (Ishisawa?) requires reservations for either lunch or dinner, or both?

      1. re: prasantrin

        I don't think It's required. It's a very small, casual place. It might be crowded during lunch time.

      2. re: kuidaore

        The restaurant in your link serves Wagyu beef, it does not specifically say it is Kobe beef. So technically it is not serving Kobe beef.

        Not sure if OP is asking for "kobe-style" beef or actual kobe beef, so just to point this out in case if OP is strictly asking for kobe beef.

      3. Kyoto is known for its tofu and vegetables, and for shojin-ryori (temple vegetarian cuisine) and kaiseki-style restaurants. Yaoya no Nikai (http://www.bento.com/kansai/rev/7006.... ) has a great vegetable-centered lunch for Y2000 (reservations are recommended). I doubt that Kyoto has better tempura than Tokyo, since it's not especially known for its seafood (being an inland city).

        Sapporo is known for its crab and other seafood, and of course for ramen.

        Unagi (grilled eel) is a regional specialty of Tokyo. And you can find lots of regional cuisines from other parts of Japan in Tokyo as well.