Occupying the southern-central region of Honshu, Japan’s main island, Kansai oozes history and culture with many popular destinations such as Kyoto, Nara and Osaka. In addition to visiting their exceptional temples and gardens with friendly deer, another experience not to be missed in Kansai is sampling its food delicacies!
Funazushi in Shiga
Funazushi is super fresh Funa that has been marinated Narezushi-style with salt and rice, giving it a unique level of sourness along with a subtle, appetising smell. Pairing it with sake will send discerning diners on a rocket to heaven. There are plenty of restaurants offering this delicacy around Lake Biwa in Shiga province.
Temarizushi in Kyoto
Temarizushi is ball-shaped sushi rice topped with wonderful ingredients such as Namafu, fish and other fresh ingredients. The word ‘Terami’ refers to a local round-shaped toy made from wool, which the shape of this type of sushi resembles. Temarizushi in Kyoto has a particularly delicate look, making it a favourite among ladies.
Yudofu in Kyoto
Originally served only in monasteries, Yudofu is a simple-looking vegetarian hotpot with boiled tofu and seasoned with ponsu sauce, yuzu, negi, shredded radish and dried Katsuo fish. It’s a stand-out with delicate, soft tofu that’s beautifully complemented by kombu soup. If a hotpot alone will not sate your hunger go for one of the many Kaiseki dinners available in Kyoto, which will serve Yudofu alongside a multitude of other dishes.
Kakinohazushi in Nara
Nara’s local specialty is Kakinohazushi, which is saba or salmon sushi wrapped with kakinoha (persimmon leaves) so as to preserve its freshness. This method of preserving has been used since the ancient Edo period, before refrigeration was invented. Peel the leaf away and you will discover a very traditional sushi that will taste even better if it has been left in its wrapper overnight! These bites can easily be found in department stores around Nara.
Kuenabe in Wakayama
The most loved meal to eat during autumn when in Hidaka-cho city is Kuenabe, a filling hotpot crammed with vegetables, konjac, tofu and white Kue fish (a local fish). This is the not-to- be-missed specialty for visitors to Wakayama.
Takoyaki in Osaka
In addition to Okonomiyaki and Monjayaki, Osaka is also well-known for its iconic Takoyaki – grilled spheres of batter stuffed with octopus (tako) and picked ginger. What’s special about Osaka’s Takoyaki is their ever-so crispy shell with every-so creaminess inside. Takoyaki is commonly found in the areas of Umeda, Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori.
Kobe Beef in Hyoko
Kobe, Hyoko Prefecture’s capital city, is already a foodies’ favourite for its world-famous Kobe Wagyu beef that is superlatively tender, even compared to Wagyu from other areas. You can enjoy Kobe Wagyu all over Kobe city in numerous forms such as steak, yakiniku, shabu-shabu, and even in rather simple dishes such as hamburger or ramen.