Japan [Tōhoku]

Turn Tohoku's farming and fishing villages into destinations!

"Fooding Tourism(Culinary Tourism)" travel to satisfy your intellectual and gastronomic curiosity

Journal / Japan (English)Nov. 9, 2017

We have made continuous efforts to collect information from all over Japan, focusing on food and gastronomic culture. Through this background, we are convinced that the essence of the charm of Japan and Tohoku among others is in ordinary “farming and fishing villages” rather than typical sightseeing destinations.
In fact, farming and fishing villages in Tohoku possess a unique food culture matching the Japanese landscape in its original state, handed down in harmony with the climate and natural features of the region.
However, since these villages are not typically sightseeing destinations, it is very hard for many tourists to access the true charm by visiting without sufficient preparation.

The answer is here!
Entitled “*Fooding Tourism”, we have cultivated travel plans designed to facilitate the discovery of food culture in farming and fishing villages. This tour will be sold by our partner travel agencies from October 2017.

*The term “fooding” of Fooding Tourism is a contraction of the words “food” and “feeling”.

Aomori Prefecture
◆Tourism related to Nanbu futo negi, brought back from the brink of extinction!

This is a tour focusing on the delicious Nanbu futo negi, a traditional green onion grown in Nanbu Town, Aomori Prefecture. Enjoy not only experiencing the harvest and learning how to cook Nanbu futo negi, but also sampling other local vegetables and fruits.

[Area]  Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture
[Reference]  http://www.hachinohe-cb.jp/

<To be launched after December 2017>

◆Hachinohe Tour

After shopping at Aomori Prefecture’s Gyosai Market, which is run by Hachinohe City, make your own delicious breakfast by adding rice and miso soup to seafood that you will be able to purchase yourself. For lunch, interact with the farmers of Nanbu futo negi, a traditional vegetable, at Nanbu Town. After touring a local sake brewery, visit the national park on the Tanesashi coast. On a beautiful natural lawn, enjoy a dinner featuring country dishes at a guest house by the beach.

[Area]  Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture
[Reference]  http://beauty-of-japan.com/

◆Discovering Japan’s culinary legacies: Hachinohe, Aomori

Discover and celebrate the legacy of Hachinohe’s local cuisine through its markets, farms, sake breweries and eateries. Choose one- or two-day programs that allow you time to appreciate breathtaking ocean views from the Tanesashi coast and feast on the highest quality natural ingredients. Meet our locally based collaborators who are dedicated in sharing their heritage with our guests. Rather than a program, guests can create a custom plan according to the activities they wish to try.

Learn more about Aomori: wonderful people, food, and natural scenery you can encounter in Aomori
Creating new value from Aomori's culinary past.

Fukushima Prefecture
◆Tasting Aizu’s traditional dishes

*The image is for illustration purposes.

This is a special opportunity to experience traditional life and savor the local specialties of the Aizu people. Dine at an elegant restaurant set within a charming historic structure built 150 to 200 years ago. It is close to many famous spots of the old samurai city of Aizu. Enjoy Aizu dishes not found anywhere else in Japan, such as negisoba (soba with green onion). To eat it, a long stick of green onion is used in place of chopsticks. Diners will also enjoy wappameshi (rice steamed in a wooden utensil known as a magewappa), topped with mountain vegetables, salmon fillet and more.

[Area]  Aizuwakamatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture
[Booking site]  http://www.japanican.com/en/tour/detail/DIN1T01914TTB/?typecd=TOU&destcd=V02&typegrpcd=TPA
[Note]  Explanation is available in multiple languages.

Iwate Prefecture
◆Scenic Winter Kotatsu Boat Ride & World Heritage Site Visit

*The image is for illustration purposes.

Experience the tranquility and mysterious winter views of Iwate Prefecture’s Geibikei Gorge from the warmth of a motor-less kotatsu* boat, carried downstream by the current and steered by the pole of its helmsman. You’ll have an opportunity to take a taxi tour and visit the beautiful Buddhist temples and gardens in the world heritage site of Hiraizumi, which is normally hard to access without transportation. Ichinoseki City is famous for offering more than 300 varieties of mochi (rice cake) throughout the year, and you’ll have a chance to enjoy kaho-mochi for lunch. Legend says that the lucky person who finds a small piece of twig inside one of nine different kinds of mochi can be kaho (happy).

*A kotatsu is a special table with a heater installed underneath that is covered by a futon blanket to keep one’s legs warm.

[Area]  Ichinoseki City, Iwate Prefecture
[Booking site]  https://www.japanican.com/en/tour/detail/PTX1T02111TTB/?typecd=TOU&destcd=V02&typegrpcd=TPA
[Note]  Voice guides (in English, Chinese, Korean, French, German and Spanish) are available at Hiraizumi.

◆Experience home-style cooking and traditional handicrafts while staying at a farmer's home!

*The image is for illustration purposes.

Iwate Prefecture’s Tono City calls itself the “timeless rural heart of Japan” and for good reason. Enclosed by mountains and filled with nature, Tono is a place where traditional ways of living, religion and culture are still part of everyday life. See all of this firsthand by staying overnight at a local farmer's home, and learn about Tono’s legends and folk stories of specters and mythological creatures. Enjoy home-style dishes made using local and seasonal ingredients, and try your hand at creating local arts and crafts.

[Area]  Tono City, Iwate Prefecture
[Booking site]  https://www.japanican.com/

[Note]  Outward transportation from JR Tono Station and one tourist attraction to accommodation.

Learn more about Iwate: wonderful people, food, and natural scenery you can encounter in Iwate
Iwate's enduring food traditions

Miyagi Prefecture
◆Dining with the devils at Namahage restaurant

This package allows you to experience the unique cuisine and traditions of Akita Prefecture at a restaurant in Miyagi Prefecture’s Sendai City. The interior resembles that of an old folk house. First, enjoy local Akita sake paired with food served in traditional wooden craftwork called magewappa. Next, be thrilled as you watch the intense namahage show. Namahage are demon-like beings portrayed by men wearing masks and straw garments who visit homes in Akita to cleanse them of evil and admonish lazy or naughty kids.

*A kotatsu is a special table with a heater installed underneath that is covered by a futon blanket to keep one’s legs warm.

[Area]  Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture
[Booking site]  http://www.japanican.com/en/tour/detail/DIN1T01714TTC/?typecd=TOU&destcd=V02&typegrpcd=TPA

Yamagata Prefecture
◆Experience the life of a mountain monk for a day

Go beyond simply viewing Japan’s religious buildings; venture out on a one-day tour as a yamabushi (mountain priest). This unforgettable opportunity allows you to experience Japanese religion and cuisine with yamabushi, who practice in the mountains, as your guide. Wear the traditional white garments of yamabushi and head into the forest. You will visit a five-story pagoda designated as a national treasure, worship at a mountain-top temple, and savor a shojin-ryori (Buddhist vegan cuisine) meal at a temple guest house.

◆Dewa Sanzan hiking tour

Experience the serenity and beauty of nature as you hike through select areas of the Three Mountains of Dewa, or Dewa Sanzan. This area has been a base for the mountain-worshipping religion of Shugendo since its beginnings in the eighth century. Pilgrims typically hike the three mountains as a spiritual journey; legend has it that visitors will be reborn after completion. Enjoy a shojin-ryori (Buddhist vegan cuisine) meal — made from ingredients such as fresh mountain vegetables and mushrooms — at a hidden hot spring inn.

[Area]  Tsuruoka City, Yamagata Prefecture
[Booking site]  https://www.mytokyoguide.com/dewa-sanzan/264-dewa-sanzan

◆Encounter the food culture of Tsuruoka, the only city in Japan named a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy.

*The image is for illustration purposes.

In December 2014, Tsuruoka became the first Japanese city to be designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. Tsuruoka boasts more than 50 kinds of traditional vegetables. This tour first takes you to a farm restaurant, where you can learn how organic farming is practiced, and on to organic farms and expansive rice fields from which you might catch a beautiful sunset. Then, enjoy local dishes made from delicious ingredients, grown locally with care. After the tour concludes, it’s possible to stay overnight at an authentic Japanese farm residence.

[Area]  Tsuruoka City, Yamagata Prefecture
[Booking site]  http://www.cradle-ds.jp/ryoko/plan/2017food_en.html

◆Yamabushi guide walk and authentic food culture of Tsuruoka

Climb to the top of Mount Haguro, one of the three sacred Mountains of Dewa, wearing traditional white garments with yamabushi (mountain priests) as your guide. You’ll also visit a greenhouse of old-time varieties of vegetables, notable because they are unlike the selectively bred vegetables found in most supermarkets today. Afterwards, enjoy a lunch prepared with 10 to 20 types of vegetables and experience their traditional taste. The Tsuruoka Food Guide will give you a tour of food production sites unique to Tsuruoka.

[Area]  Tsuruoka City, Yamagata Prefecture
[Reference]  https://www.facebook.com/yamabushido/

◆Tsuruoka Food Culture Market "FOODEVER"

Tsuruoka is Japan's only city certified by UNESCO as a Creative City of Gastronomy. This package offers a guided tour through "FOODEVER," an advanced food complex facility established to provide information about Tsuruoka's rich food culture. Visitors can enjoy Tsuruoka's cuisine through the facility’s restaurants as well as its select seasonal ingredients, and taste local sake at the sake bar. Souvenirs can be found here, too.

<To be launched after December 2017>

◆Rediscover yourself among the three Mountains of Dewa

*The image is for illustration purposes.

Take a spiritual and cultural journey to the remote area of Tsuruoka in Yamagata Prefecture. Those seeking a deeper understanding of Japan’s sacred mountains and the ways of its ascetic monks are welcome to join experiences made available by our local collaborators: mountain priests known as yamabushi. Guests will also enjoy local shojin-ryori (Buddhist vegan cuisine) as well as the opportunity to visit some of the region’s most unique temples and shrines in a spectacular mountain setting. Rather than a program, guests can create a custom plan according to the activities they wish to try.

[Area]  Tsuruoka City, Yamagata Prefecture
[Reference]  http://theartoftravel.net/blog/2017/10/22/the-three-peaks-of-dewa-rediscover-yourself/

Learn more about Yamagata: wonderful people, food, and natural scenery you can encounter in Yamagata
Mountains and the sea: Heart and soul of the Shonai Region in Yamagata

photographs by Luuvu Hoang, Hide Urabe