Aomori, the northernmost prefecture
on Japan’s main island of Honshu, is best known for its summer Nebuta festival
, autumn apple harvest, and its stunning fish and seafood. Here are 10 restaurants from Aomori
that offer a taste of the delicious local cuisine.
Oshokuji Dokoro Osanai
Restaurant, Seafood, Japanese
For a taste of Aomori local cuisine served in economically priced teishoku
meal sets, look no further than Oshokuji Dokoro Osanai. The hotate
scallops here are not only superb but super cheap, and every dish on the menu has a home-cooked taste that will make you feel right at home in Aomori.
Steak Restaurant Miraikan
Restaurant, Steakhouse, $$$
A roadside service station may seem an unusual location for a steakhouse. But, there’s no better place in Aomori to enjoy the local Towadako wagyu
beef from the Lake Towada district, Aomori black wagyu
beef, and Aomori short-horned beef. Be sure to try the bara-yaki
, a local dish from Towada City of grilled beef rib and onions cooked on a hot plate with sweet and spicy soy sauce. Find it within the Michi-no-Eki Oirase Roman Park, by the Oirase roadside station (closed annually December through March).
Gastropub, Seafood, $$$
gastropub Senya is not only a place to enjoy draft beer and regional sakes
, but also reasonably priced bento
lunch and teishoku
dinner sets, as well as a variety of fresh local seafood, including squid and hotate
scallops. Be sure to try the Aomori specialty dish, kaiyaki miso,
featuring miso soup, egg, and seafood cooked over a flame on a large scallop shell.
If you’re looking for something a bit more upscale than teishoku
meals, the superb sushi
experience at Sushi Ichi is sure to satisfy, whether you order a la carte or opt for the omakase
chef’s course. Don’t let the unimposing exterior of this converted wooden house fool you—Sushi Ichi is the highest-rated restaurant in all of Aomori Prefecture. Prices vary by season and market price, so only come here if you’re ready to drop quite a few yen (by reservation only).
Deli, Seafood, $$$
Start the morning right with an incredible seafood bowl, or kaisendon
. At the top-rated Minato Shokudo, you’ll find steaming hot bowls of rice topped with the catch of the day, soy sauce-cured egg yolk, and a dab of freshly grated wasabi
Fishmonger, Seafood, Japanese
Some of the best maguro
tuna in Japan is caught around Aomori’s Omazaki Cape, which is also abundant in squid and mackerel fish — two favorite foods of the bluefin tuna. For the very best tuna donburi
bowls that won’t break the bank, be sure to make a lunch stop at Kaikyoso, located just on the cape. Their ‘Maguro Dake Don
’ (Nothing But Tuna Bowl) is piled high with the holy trinity of fresh tuna: akami
(lean tuna), chutoro
(medium fatty tuna), and otoro
(fatty tuna). Closed for winter from November to mid-April.
Restaurant, Seafood, Ramen
In addition to tuna, Aomori is famous for its sea urchin, too. At Tabiji on the Tsugaru Peninsula, enjoy uni so fresh that it glistens like jewels. Don’t be fooled by the ramen shop sign out front, as they also serve up a fantastic bowl of Aomori-style noboshi ramen here. Uni season runs from late April through the end of July.
Takahashi Chukka Sobaten
Restaurant, Ramen, $$$
made with dried sardines is the representative style of ramen from Aomori’s Tsugaru Peninsula. The dried sardines add a deep smokiness and intense umami flavor to the ramen broth, a practice that has spread all the way to ramen shops in Tokyo. Try it at Takahashi Chukka Sobaten in Hirosaki City, which many locals consider the number one noboshi
ramen shop in all of Aomori.
Aji no Sapporo Onishi
Restaurant, Ramen, $$$
A specialty of Aomori City, miso curry milk ramen is an Aomori style of ramen inspired by the miso ramen found in Sapporo City
, Hokkaido. Creamy milk and curry powder are added to a rich miso-based soup broth, paired with thick wavy noodles, tender pieces of char siu pork, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, wakame
seaweed, and a pat of butter. It’s so tasty, you may wonder why no one thought of the combination sooner!
Taisho Roman Kissa-shitsu
Cafe, Dessert, $$$
At Taisho Roman Kissa-shistu, enjoy uninterrupted views of nearby Hirosaki Park
in bloom from the sunroom of an historic hundred-year-old residence built in the early Taisho period. Now converted into a café, Taisho Roman Kissa-shistu serves six different kinds of apple pie sourced from famous local bakeries. There are scores of apple pie shops around Hirosaki, so if you only have time for one, Taisho Roman Kissa-shitsu is a sure bet. Open early April through late November.