about North Japan


Many customs and cultures exist in northern Japan. For example, Hokkaido is home to the Ainu culture. The Ainu people have long lived in Hokkaido and have their own culture, language, music, dance, and costumes. Even today, there are activities to respect and pass on the Ainu culture.

In addition, there is a custom in the Tohoku region called “Mochitsuki” (rice cake pounding). This is a ritual to make rice cakes for New Year’s. Families and neighbors get together to make rice cakes in cooperation. It is a traditional event that has been practiced since ancient times, and there are various forms depending on the region.

In addition, the Hokuriku region is home to traditional crafts such as Kaga Yuzen and Noto Washi. Kaga Yuzen is a silk fabric made in the Kanazawa area and characterized by beautiful patterns and colors. Noto Washi is a Japanese paper made in the Noto Peninsula, characterized by its softness and durability, and is used for calligraphy paper and sliding door paper.

Yamagata Prefecture is also rich in delicious agricultural products such as cherries, rice, and tea. In particular, cherries are often regarded as the best in Japan and are famous throughout the country.

Northern Japan is a region of rich nature and beautiful seasonal scenery, and a food culture that makes the most of fresh ingredients has taken root. Below are some characteristics of the food culture of northern Japan.

First, northern Japan, centering on Hokkaido, is rich in nature, with its oceans, mountains, vegetables, and fruits, and there are many dishes that make use of fresh ingredients from their respective regions. For example, Hokkaido is famous for seafood such as sea urchins, crabs, squid, and scallops, and many types of seafood are landed in Hokkaido, especially in the East Hokkaido region. Hokkaido also has its own local cuisine, such as lamb, Genghis Khan, and soup curry.

Next, in the Tohoku region, there are many local dishes such as beef tongue, wanko soba, zenzai, and imo nimono. Gyutan is a dish made from tenderized beef tongue by a special cooking method, and is mainly eaten around Sendai City. Wankosoba is a local dish of Yamagata Prefecture, where large quantities of thin buckwheat noodles are eaten, a must for noodle lovers. Zenzai, another local delicacy, is a sweet red bean confection, often eaten in Iwate and other prefectures.

Finally, the Hokuriku region is famous for Kaga vegetables, Echizen crab, and seafood from the Sea of Japan. Kaga vegetables are grown in Ishikawa Prefecture, especially around Kanazawa City. Echizen crabs are caught in Toyama Bay and around the Noto Peninsula, and are highly popular throughout the country because of their filling and sweet taste.

The customs and culture of northern Japan have been created and passed down through the region’s history, environment, and climate. In addition, the food culture has its own unique cuisine rooted in the abundant nature and regional characteristics. It is highly recommended to taste local food during your trip to learn more about northern Japan and to enjoy a good meal.