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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....