Known for spots like the world heritage city of Nikko, the beautiful Wisteria flower park and the Nasu Plateau, Tochigi is a place you want to visit at least once during your trip to Japan. Did you know that Tochigi is also a treasure cove for gourmet food? Come taste the local specialties in just one hour from Tokyo by bullet train!
You can eat delicious Japanese beef in Tochigi. Here, selected farmers carefully raise the 'Japanese Black' beef breed. Among them, only the highest quality meat of grade A4, B4 and higher with its beautiful marble pattern is selected to be branded as 'Tochigi Wagyu' beef. There are about 200 restaurants in Tochigi Prefecture where you can eat Tochigi Wagyu at more advantageous prices than Tokyo. You can enjoy it prepared in different ways such as steak, grilled and in sukiyaki.
Tochigi has been the largest producer of strawberries for the past half century. Here you can taste different varieties of strawberry such as the staple Tochiotome and the newer, sweet and big Sky Berry variety. Participate in strawberry picking from December to May, or enjoy strawberry sweets all year round.
Utsunomiya is known in Japan as 'gyoza city'. The city is filled with popular restaurants that specialize in these Japanese fried dumplings. Gyoza are the staple of Japanese cheap, fast, and delicious food! Each restaurant has a different recipe that changes the thickness of the skin and the combination of meat and vegetables. Compare different restaurants and find your favorite gyoza!
You can't leave Japan without trying sushi. Utsunomiya city here in Tochigi Prefecture is the city where this dish is consumed the most in Japan. Enjoy delicious sushi in the sushi-loving city.
Tochigi Prefecture is the home of Sano ramen, famous for its chewy texture made by kneading the dough with a bamboo pole. There are also a variety of other ramen restaurants that work with carefully selected local ingredients. In Sano city there are even halal restaurants.
In Nakagawa, Tochigi you can try 'Onsen torafugu', a Japanese puffer fish that is bred in local hot spring water with a moderate salt content. This kind of fish breeding is rare even in Japan. Also, Nakagawa is the area with the largest number of ayu sweetfish going upstream in Japan. You can try the firm texture of this sweetfish right at the fishing weir where they are caught. Utsunomiya has a lot of fish restaurants where the live fish is carefully selected by experts and kept in tanks inside the restaurant. Fish is another must-try gourmet food in Tochigi!
Stimulate your appetite with a pork cutlet laid on a bed of finely chopped cabbage and covered in a special sauce. Ashikaga city is famous for this dish called 'sauce katsudon', and each restaurant has their own unique sauce recipe. In the town of Mashiko there are many tonkatsu restaurants that serve a thickly cut pork cutlet made with locally bred pigs.
Tochigi Prefecture is full of nature and water is also really good. Using underground water and well water we produce a sake with a full and smooth flavor. We also use local rice and yeast to make our sake. Some of the breweries offer tours, so that's a great opportunity to visit the area.
*The above information is from January 2018.