Blessed with clear flowing water, abundant sunshine and access to the Pacific Ocean means Shizuoka produces some of Japan’s best food and drink.
It has become Famous for Food.
From fields of green tea and wasabi in the mountainous interior of the prefecture, to the Izu peninsula, Suruga Bay and a Pacific Ocean coastline full of fresh seafood, Explore Shizuoka simply for its food and drink options – it is a worthy endeavour for any serious foodie.
Shizuoka produces the most tea in Japan, estimated at around 40% of all the tea cultivated in Japan. In fact, Shizuoka has a long history of tea cultivation – and it is thought to have begun as early as the 1200s. With hundreds of years of experience in the making, Shizuoka’s tea is not only Japan’s finest, but one of the world’s finest.
In the World Green Tea Contest 2016, Shizuoka tea farms won the majority of the Grand Gold and Gold prizes, indicating innovation and quality are important to the prefecture, too.
Being the largest large tea-producing area offers Shizuoka the advantage of attracting skilled talent to research and improve the process, cultivation techniques, and of course, the taste and quality of the teas.
In recent years, tea farms have started opening their doors for visitors to see first-hand and take part in the cultivation process, with tea picking, tea rolling and of course, tea tasting experiences.
Check Mt Fuji Travel for info on Shizuoka Green Tea Experiences.
Close proximity to the sea and long stretches of coastline means endless possibilities to try seafood long favored and loved by locals and travellers alike.
Be sure to stop off at a fish market to sample some seafood staples and to exchange friendly conversations with the local fish vendors, or get immersed in the undersea world that Shizuoka brings right to the table with some of these staples found all throughout the prefecture.
Shizuoka is the No. 1 consumer of tuna in Japan with its Shizuoka Port importing the largest volume of frozen tuna in the nation as well.
Visit Kashi no Ichi Market where visitors can purchase everything from maguro sashimi to shellfish, and any marine and local products in between.
Sample dried and fresh products from vendors or sit down at the various restaurants inside or nearby, including an all-you-can-eat maguro bowl shop “Uoichiba Shokudo” inside the Magurokan.
Shizuoka has a long devotion to fresh-water eel found in Lake Hamana (Hamanako). Fresh-water eels called unagi are dipped in sweet eel sauce, barbecued, and draped across a bed of rice. Meanwhile, anago refers to saltwater eel, often prepared as tempura or sushi.
Sakura shrimp are caught in Suruga Bay, dried out, then used as colorful pink toppings for Japanese dishes such as Fujinomiya’s famous yakisoba noodles.
They can also be enjoyed in fried up clusters of tempura, or found in hotpot popular amongst fishermen.
These tiny little fish are caught daily in Mochimune. Often boiled before consumption, they can be enjoyed fresh and raw in Shizuoka.
When enjoyed raw, shirasu are translucent and shiny, like little treasures. Mix them up with a dash of soy sauce or ponzu, grated ginger and of course, Shizuoka’s other famous product wasabi for a flavor kick.
Check Mt Fuji Travel for more information on Shizuoka Seafood
Shizuoka’s temperate climate, awe-inspiring mountainous terrain and infinite supply of fresh, clean flowing water means it has some of the largest wasabi farms and produces close to half of all the wasabi root grown in Japan.
Freshly grated wasabi is not spicy like its packaged counterpart, but offers a complex taste that often surprises and delights.
When it’s fresh, the wasabi will be at its best 5 minutes after grating and will start to lose its true flavour after just 15 minutes. Wasabi can be enjoyed as a condiment for seafood, a dash of “zing” for ice cream, or its leaves can be fried up in tempura batter for a crunch.
Shuzenji, in the eastern part of Shizuoka, offers experiences for wasabi lovers and those new to the plant but willing to give it a try.
Shizuoka Sake, Beer and Whisky
The perfect accompaniment to your meal of fresh seafood and wasabi has to be Japanese sake and as a result over centuries.
Blessed with an abundance of fresh water from and filtered water from Mt Fuji, Shizuoka has developed some of the best sake in Japan and if sake is not your taste recently Shizuoka has started to produce some of the best whisky and craft beer in the World.
No introduction to food and drink in Shizuoka would be complete without at least a shout out to Sake (also known as Nihonshu in Japan) and the award-winning sake that is produced in the region. The clear flowing water lends itself wonderfully to the growing of rice, the main ingredient for sake, and so the sake from Shizuoka is some of the purest, cleanest and freshest sake one can find.
Across the prefecture at the numerous breweries, expert craftsman are combining knowledge handed down over hundreds of years with modern technology to create sake that is enjoyed and lauded not only in Japan, but around the world. To take part in a sake brewery tour and tasting click here and to see a list of the breweries in Shizuoka go here.
Japanese whisky has taken the world by storm. So much so that it’s hard to acquire nowadays in many places overseas and domestically. Kirin, famous for beer just as much as whisky, produces whisky in Shizuoka using filtered water from Mt Fuji. Take a tour and enjoy at tasting at the Kirin Fuji Gotemba Distillery (Fuji-Sanroku Distillery).
New challengers have emerged in the game recently starting with the birth of Shizuoka Distillery, a sleek new distillery inland from Shizuoka City. This distillery prides in its attention to detail on everything from its taste and bottling to the architecture of the distillery itself.
Japan has taken yet another old world-favorite and mastered the craft. The craft beer sensation has taken a place in Shizuoka as well, with the establishment of Baird Beer, a leading brewery known throughout the whole nation. The brewery has multiple branches, but be sure to pop by the Shuzenji location to experience the taste in the prefecture where it all began.
Shizuoka is home to a number of other microbreweries and taprooms. Some local favorites include: Aoi Brewing, Samurai Surfer Beer, Gotemba Koogen Beer, Izu No Kuni Beer, Izu Kougen Beer, and Usami Brewery. Another to note: Bayern Meister Bier, run by the one and only German in Japan who owns his own brewery and makes his own beer.
Shizuoka Street Food
One of the best things about Japan is the different street food that is famous in each area you travel to – exploring back streets and rubbing shoulders with the locals is often the best way to experience a new country or region.
Grab a unique bite in each area of Shizuoka you explore, such as:
It’s hard to go anywhere in Fujinomiya without bumping into a Yakisoba restaurant. The locals make a variety of the popular fried noodles mixed with sakura shrimp.
The city of Hamamatsu is not only famous for its eel, but also for its piping hot and juicy gyoza (also known in English as potstickers or dumplings).
In fact, Hamamatsu is often referred to as the “Gyoza-Capital of Japan” with one of its unique qualities given credit to its beautiful circular arrangement.
With roughly 300 gyoza establishments just within the city, there’s no escaping the smells until they’re tried.
Shizuoka City Oden
The king of Shizuoka City street food is undeniably Oden – which is basically take anything you can find (radish, egg, fish sausage, seaweed) throw it in a broth for more than 12 hours add karashi mustard and serve.
An acquired taste and not one that jumps to the top of many visitors’ favorite food lists, regardless, small Oden restaurants are very sociable places to eat and provide a good chance to mix with the locals and share a few glasses of local sake.
For information on Food related tours and experiences check – Mt Fuji Travel