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The 10 Best Restaurants in Akita Prefecture

Akita’s local specialty, <em>kirtanpo nabe</em> | © Tak H. / Flickr
Akita’s local specialty, <em>kirtanpo nabe</em> | © Tak H. / Flickr
The secluded prefecture of Akita is located on the Sea of Japan side of northern Honshu, a long way away from the busy streets of Tokyo. What the area lacks in big city entertainment, it more than makes up for in traditional attractions and a delicious local culinary scene centered around gourmet ingredients like Hinai jidori heirloom chicken and Akita wagyu beef, as well as delicious down-home cooking.

Honke Abeya Akita

Restaurant, Japanese, $$$

Honke Abeya Akita specializes in yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) and oyakodon (chicken and egg rice bowls) made with Hinai chicken, Akita’s native poultry that’s considered one of the great jidori heritage breeds of Japan.

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Sato Yoske Main Store

Restaurant, Japanese, $$$

Inaniwa udon is one of the three great udon noodles of Japan, characterized by its chewy wheat noodles — thicker than ramen but thinner than other udon varieties — produced in small batches using traditional techniques with aged dough that’s kneaded, stretched, and cut by hand. Try it at the main factory and flagship store of Inaniwa udon noodle manufacture Sato Yoske.

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Ganso Murasaki

Restaurant, Japanese, $$$

Perhaps the most famous local dish in Akita, kiritanpo is a cylindrical rice cake made from pounded rice that has been wrapped around a wooden skewer and roasted over hot coals. It’s often enjoyed in a hotpot dish called kiritanpo nabe, the specialty of Ganso Murasaki.

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Idehaya

Restaurant, Japanese, $$$

Enjoy the down-home cooking of Akita Prefecture at Idehaya in Yokote City. The city is famous around Akita for its local blue-collar dish Yokote yakisoba, made with wavy yakisoba noodles stir-fried with meat and cabbage in a sweet and savory soy sauce-based sauce and topped with an egg fried sunny side up and Japanese pickles.

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Marutake Shokudou

Restaurant, Ramen

Marutake Shokudo specializes in Akita’s local style of ramen noodle, Jumonji ramen — no relation to the movie Jumanji. It’s made with thin wavy noodles served al dente in a light broth made with dried sardines, pure spring water from Tohoku’s Ou mountain range, and local Akita soy sauce.

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Izakaya Akita No Taki

Gastropub, Japanese, Pub Grub, $$$

The traditional Japanese gastropub Akita Notaki offers an extensive menu of cold, crisp locally brewed sakes and Akita-specific nabe dishes.

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Akita Gyu Gen Tei

Restaurant, Japanese, $$$

Akita is known for its high-grade local brand of wagyu called Ugo-gyuu. The black-haired Japanese cattle is raised in the Ugo-machi region of Akita on pure alpine mineral water and local rice and grains. Try this succulent marbled beef at the yakitori barbecue restaurant Akita Gyu Gen Tei, which offers an amazing lunch deal.

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RB Steak House

Restaurant, Steakhouse

RB Steakhouse is a Western-style steakhouse in Akita City that uses the same succulent marbled Ugo-gyu beef as its sister restaurant Akita Gyu Gen Tei. Their juicy ribeye steaks are to die for.

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Nihon Ryori Takamura

Restaurant, Japanese, $$$

It’s worth making the trip up to Akita for the kaiseki dining experience at Nihon Ryori Takamura alone, where head chef Hiroki Takamura cooks up traditional Edo cuisine using Western ingredients. Due to its extreme popularity, the restaurant has become “invite-only,” but you can score a reservation if you know someone who is already a “member.”

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