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Mar 27, 2012 10:38 AM

3 Week Southern Japanese Food Tour - Where Should I Go?


I'm the owner of a food blog, and I'll be making a 3 week food tour of Japan at the end of April with a friend, and to visit my brother who's been teaching there a couple years.

Here's where we're going:


and potentially Okinawa, we haven't decided yet.

I was looking to get some picks on the best places to go in all of these cities. We're looking for things in all price echelons, preferably more mid-range meals, with a couple select expensive ones, like kaiseki in Kyoto, or oysters in Hiroshima, or Kobe in . . . Kobe. Any information would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!

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  1. We've done threads on all of this in the past. Suggest you do a search and build an itinerary, post it here, and we can fill in or fine tune for you. I personally would drop Kobe and continue on after Hiroshima as far as Fukuoka, which is a better dining desination than Kobe.

    1. Southern Japan? Southern Japan to me is Fukuoka on southwards all the way to Okinawa. Maybe Hiroshima if you stretch it. I wouldn't consider Osaka or Kobe "southern Japan", more like "Western Japan."

      5 Replies
      1. re: Uncle Yabai

        After a tour on food specials, you can do also :
        A tour on sake : Fushimi (near Kyoto)
        A tour on ceremonies : fire ceremony in a bouddhist temple in Koya-San(near Kyoto), tea ceremony(in Kyoto),
        A tour on 'matsuri(festivals)' : depending on the season
        A tour on nature spots like a one day course to the sea and a 2 hours course on Kamakura'hill.. and after stay on an onsen in a kimono in front of the sea !!!
        The tours are endless, so.. if in Kyoto, for myself, it will be udon, kaiseki, okonomiyaki, and small house and legendary washoku.. in Tokyo, I will definitely eat sushi, and tempura soba for lunch..

        1. re: Ninisix

          Silverjay - Will Do!

          As far as dropping Kobe, is it fair to assume Kobe Beef can be attained throughout the Kansai region? As it's getting closer my itinerary is becoming more solid and I'll be in Tokyo for 4 days in the Minato district so as to be near the Tsukiji Fish Market for the ultra fresh sushi.

          After that begins Golden Week and I'll be staying in Osaka for 6 days as base camp to hit up Kyoto and Nara

          After that It's going to be a few days in Hiroshima to eat the oysters and then on to Fukuoka.

          I've heard from a lot of people Fukuoka has great food, but what are some of their specialties, and as far as skipping Kobe, I've heard that they have some great western foods, including some of the best cheeses in Japan.

          Ninisix, thanks a lot for the heads up! I'm definitely going to be hitting up an onsen or two, I'm extremely excited for the okonomiyaki, takoyaki, and kaiseki, but what is Small house and legenedary washooku?

          Thanks so much for helping me out, and I apologize for being a Chowhound Noob!

          1. re: eatinginbed

            There are better brands than Kobe beef and they are available in any major city. Takayama is famous for Hida beef and at least that is an interesting historic spot. Kobe is a lovely place but I wouldn't consider it a culinary or really tourist destination...and I'm not sure I can really compute why someone would go out of their way to go there to eat cheese.?.?...

            Tsukiji is great for the experience and budget conscious. It's not the best and freshest or anything like that. But Minato ward is a good location nonetheless.

            If you are visiting Kyoto and Nara during Golden Week I would book as much in advance as humanly possible- including hotel, restaurants, even trains. That is the peak of the peak season for those places.

            Fukuoka we have done in-depth previews and coverage a couple of years ago. You need to set the search parameters out a few years...The peak of oyster season will be long gone by the time you're in Hiroshima, but I'm sure they are available to some extent. Okonomiyaki never goes out of season though.

            1. re: Silverjay

              Tsukiji market was my first destination every week end, until i understood that Ginza sushi-yasan are not so expensive and really better in the way of eating it, as you seat at a small counter. For me, the best products and preparation are made by Ginza sushi yasan, just try for ex. Sushi Taichi at lunch (menu at around 2,000, 5,000 ...)
              Kyoto is full of old houses, even tea houses. I have a friend who is a designer of kimono, and she introduced me to the best hidden places, but it is with recommendation. You can try this one, near the Kyoto university, the house is so old, that blankets are provided, it is more an izakaya style(very cheap) !!

            2. re: eatinginbed

              Late April-May is a little late for oysters in Hiroshima. All the good restaurants that are known for local cuisine will probably no longer have oysters on their menus. Though tourist places like Kakibune Kanawa will always have them. I don't think any of the okonomiyaki places will offer oysters as a topping at that point either. Among the places that will probably be serving oysters, I would recommend getting a kaki-nabe, one of the more unique Hiroshima specialties.

              As Silverjay points out, there are many places to get quality beef in Japan. "Kobe" beef is just an international marketing success, while in Japan, it's just another branding of a good regional product. If you're interested in beef, you might want to head east from Osaka/Nara to Mie prefecture to Matsuzaka as well. Lots of good food to be had along the coast there, including ise-ebi. That's some of the best surf n' turf you'll find anywhere.

              In Kobe, look to try akashi-yaki, the local version of takoyaki (also described as agedashi takoyaki).

              I am located in Hiroshima so if you need non-food info, you can contact me through the email in my profile.