From Regional Dishes to Ramen! 5 Must-Eat Local Specialties of Hida Takayama
Hida Takayama, a popular tourist destination that is known for its traditional townscape, is home to many delicious local ingredients and dishes such as Hida beef. Read on to get to know five local dishes that you have to try when you visit Hida Takayama!
What Sort of Place Is Hida Takayama?
Hida Takayama refers to Takayama City in Gifu. It is located at the center of Hida region in northern Gifu, so people often call it “Hida Takayama”. Takayama’s old town center, nicknamed “Old Town” (Sanmachi-dori), is popular as a sightseeing spot thanks to the castle-town streets and merchant buildings from the Edo period (1603 – 1867) that have remained intact. Hida Takayama is also overflowing with local culinary delights, such as the famous Hida beef. There are also plenty of dishes to try during a walking food tour through the town.
Getting to Hida Takayama from Tokyo will take around 4 hours by a combination of shinkansen (bullet train) and limited express train. From Osaka, it will take around 3 hours by shinkansen or limited express train.
1. Hida Beef Kushiyaki: Ideal for Eating While Walking!
Bred in nature-rich Gifu, Hida beef is a distinction that is only given to Japanese Black cattle raised and fattened for at least 14 months in Gifu that meet the highest standards of meat quality. It is characterized by its fine, tender meat with a rich aroma and robust taste. If you visit such sightseeing spots as the Old Town, you will see plenty of stores selling Hida beef kushiyaki (grilled skewer) with bite-sized beef pieces. People love munching on this delight while walking around town.
2. Hida Beef Nigiri Sushi: A Must-Have for Lunch!
If you want to enjoy the delicious savory taste of fat and the melt-in-the-mouth texture of Hida beef, you have to try Hida beef nigiri sushi (hand-formed sushi). It is the kind of sushi with rare or lightly broiled slices of Hida beef on top of sumeshi (sushi rice that is seasoned with vinegar, salt and sugar). The sauce covering the sushi depends on the shop, varying between soy sauce-based, salty-sweet, or other kinds of sauces. There are even shops that will put the nigiri sushi on top of a senbei (rice cracker) if you order at the storefront, so you can have it to go. Of course, this sushi is also perfect for a more leisurely lunch or dinner.
3. Hoba Miso: Hida Takayama’s Famous Local Dish
Hoba Miso is a dish of miso (fermented soybean paste), sliced spring onions, shiitake mushrooms, and other ingredients that are grilled on a dried hoba (magnolia leaf). It is a local dish of the Hida region that was cooked on magnolia leaves that fell in the autumn and were collected; at one point, it was frequently seen atop kitchen tables in the area. It was originally a simple dish, but it has recently been served together with Hida beef in ryokan (traditional Japanese-style inns), restaurants, and other establishments. This dish also goes well with rice and is a great companion to alcoholic drinks.
4. Goheimochi: A Tasty Salty-Sweet Sauce!
Goheimochi is mashed cooked rice that is grilled on a skewer and then topped with sauce. It is a regional dish that has long been loved as a snack or light meal not only in Gifu, but in other mountainous regions such as Aichi and Nagano. This delight’s delicious taste comes from soy sauce and miso, the combination and intensity of which depends on the region or store where it is sold. You will also find stores that add seasonings such as mirin (a seasoning made with Japanese distilled liquor as a base, which is then mixed with glutinous rice and malted rice), Japanese sake, and sugar, and even walnuts and sesame seeds. You will surely get hooked on the delicious aroma and salty-sweet taste of the lightly browned sauce and the springy texture of the mochi!
5. Takayama Ramen: Hida Takayama's Specialty Ramen
Ramen may be one of Japan's most popular dishes, but if you visit Hida Takayama, their Takayama ramen is definitely something you shouldn’t miss. This ramen is known for its refreshing soy sauce-based broth and thin, curly noodles. Takayama ramen is the ramen eaten by Taki, the main character in the worldwide blockbuster animated movie “Kimi no Na wa”. By the way, the locals more often call it “Chuka Soba” or just “Soba”.
What do you think? Aside from the above dishes, there are many other famous delights in Hida Takayama such as Mitarashi Dango (mochi dumplings on a skewer) and Hidagyu Nikuman (Hida beef bun). So, if you ever visit Hida Takayama, make sure to enjoy the tasty dishes that are unique to the area.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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