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Need help picking a foodie area in Japan to travel

Going to Japan for our second time. The first time we went to Tokyo & Kyoto. Had such a great time we've decided to come back.

We have about two weeks and would like to go to three foodie areas. Tokyo & Osaka/Kansai are definitely on the list, but need some help deciding on a third area. Initial thoughts are Fukuoka/Kyushu, Takayama, or Sapporo. Sapporo seems cool, but I'm concerned it is too out of the way.

Are there any areas we are missing? We will have a rail pass, so it should be easy to get around.

Thanks for the help!

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  1. i personally enjoy traveling southern part of japan. so fukuoka kyushu sounds good. you could also enjoy the scenery. it is a bit more intact. tokyo kyoto are so industrialized...
    humm, but it might be so uncomfortably hot. so maybe sapporo is a better choice...

    1. I think Fukuoka is far more interesting than the other places you mentioned, for both food and general appeal.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Robb S

        Among the options floated, I agree with Fukuoka. A Takayama-Kanazawa excursion would be another strong alternative. I think both Fukuoka and Kanazawa are better for food than Sapporo.

        1. re: Silverjay

          That's a good idea. Takayama on its own is a bit boring, but combined with Kanazawa makes a nice trip for both food and sightseeing.

      2. Just came back not too long ago touring the Hokkaido region. Sapporo is a good option especially if you love seafood. Like yumyum said, weather is so pleasant now.

        1. Haven't made it to Fukuoka yet after 4 trips (my next trip, I swear) but have been to both Takayama and Sapporo. If you're planning a short stay (i.e., a day or two), Takayama may be fine, but as others have alluded to, it's a SMALL town. That location alone will not hold your interest for more than a day.

          Sapporo, being a much larger city, will offer a lot more and IMO, an interesting contrast to much of the older historical feels of the rest of Japan. Even when compared to big cities like Osaka and Tokyo, I find Sapporo feels different, perhaps because of the Western influence in its city planning. I really enjoyed Sapporo a lot (a very short flight away - which I highly recommend over the train, unless you have time to spare).

          Food-wise, you can get some good beef in Takayama and its also known for mitarashi dango and local yasai. I enjoyed food in Kanazawa more, since it's closer to the sea and offered some good seafood. Sapporo has tons of good food (miso ramen!) and excellent crab, and I got to take home everyone's favorite cookies - shiroi koibito cookies.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kobuta

            I agree about Kanazawa, particularly Zeniya.

          2. Fukuoka!...one of my fav cities in the world...so much variety and deliciousness...the yatai's (tented food stalls w/ 6 or so seats)...the ramen...the mentaiko...the bizarrely tender squid...among my favs there:

            -- Hidden Kitchen (Kakure Daidokoro Hisa Okaya -- sp?)...stunning food-izakaya that just might be my fav restaurant in the world...

            -- Aki-Chan Tempura-ya...a yatai on the northern port side of the city that specializes in tempura but also does yakitori, oden, etc...great fun vibe too...

            -- Yanagawa-ya...a 100-yr-old unagi/hitsumabushi place...the eel smoke is caked into the floors and walls...just a fab little specialist place...

            -- Daruma Ramen...one of the best of many...

            -- the "Furansu-ryori Yatai"...a yatai that, against all odds, serves up fantastic somewhat Provencal-style French food, made to order...

            Plus dozens of amazing izakayas w/ 100+ shochu selections, etc and etc...

            Fukuoka Rules....

            1. I think I'm the only one who would choose Hokkaido, but I'd go specifically for seafood and dairy products. Two full days, and that would be enough for me. Then you could move on to Takayama-Kanazawa for a couple of days, too, since it's between Kansai and Kanto.

              1. I think we'll be headed to Takayama / Kanazawa for a few days. The concern is getting back to Tokyo. Already purchased a rail pass and don't want to be on the train for too many hour. Thanks for all the great feedback!