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What to Eat in Wakayama

While Wakayama and its cuisine is often seen to live in the shadow of its neighbour Osaka, referred to as “Japan’s Kitchen”, the prefecture has its own impressive bill of fare. As Japan’s biggest producer of mandarin oranges and Japanese plums as well as home to what some believe to be the best ramen shops in the country, a trip around the Kii Peninsula is sure to not disappoint the foodies among us.

What to Eat in Wakayama
  • Ramen

    Ramen

    Ramen

    It goes without saying that there is no shortage of ramen shops around Japan. However, the noodle soup served up in Wakayama is said to be some of the tastiest you can get your hands on. On a trip to Wakayama City, even jumping in a taxi can help direct you towards a good bowl of noodles with the Wakayama Ramen Taxi drivers trained specially to share their knowledge about the best of the ramen the city has to offer. Many a ramen connoisseur is sure to recommend Kuku restaurant. Located in the north of the city towards the Kinu River this Chinese restaurant serves various Chinese dishes but the tonkotsu ramen and hitokuchi gyoza (bite sized dumplings) are a must-try.

  • Japanese lunch set

    Japanese lunch set

    Japanese lunch set

    While visiting Wakayama City, a half-day at Wakaura Bay should be on everyone’s itinerary. Brimming with inviting cafes and restaurants, there should be no difficult scheduling in lunch or dinner into your trip. Lunch deals are common and often come in at around 1,000 yen, although it’s also worth hanging around the bay into the night when you can get similar sets at a slightly higher price. Wakaya Tsuya, found alongside one of the rivers that flows into the bay, offers colourful and varied lunch sets and cosy, date-worthy seating. Originally the Wakayama Fishing Association building, Wakaya Tsuya has kept its traditional charm and some Japanese staples such as rice, soup, and pickles with the welcome addition of some modern fried favourites.

  • Shirasudon

    Shirasudon

    Shirasudon

    With many of Wakayama Prefecture’s towns looking onto the Pacific Ocean, the choice of seafood is vast. The historical seaside town of Yuasa harvests the most whitebait, a small white fish known as shirasu, in the prefecture whose subtle flavour works perfectly over a bowl of rice and topped with sauce. Just one minute from Yuasa Station among the wooden houses sits Kadoya Shokudo, a family business opened in 1946. Now run by the grandchildren of the original owners, Kadoya is not only proud of its shirasudon - raw or cooked shirasu served over rice - but also its tare, a special sauce unique to the shop.

  • Takoyaki

    Takoyaki

    Takoyaki

    Semi-cooked octopus may sound like a challenge but one bite into a takoyaki ball is sure to have you convinced. Made from the same pancake mix as okonomiyaki, takoyaki’s secret ingredient is the chunk of octopus that is inserted into its centre before they are fried into balls. Most commonly eaten as a snack, there are several spots around Wakayama Prefecture that serve takoyaki including at the Toretore Market in seaside town Shirahama. While the octopus in your standard takoyaki is well hidden away, the bite-sized snacks from Toretore Market are keeping no secrets with the octopus legs dangling freely from one side.

  • Umeboshi

    Umeboshi

    Umeboshi

    Producing more Japanese plums than any other prefecture in the country, Wakayama is the place to try out umeboshi. Umeboshi are plums pickled in vinegar which are so sour and salty they are usually eaten with rice, most commonly in onigiri or as part of a bento box. Shirahama’s Toretore Market sells a plenitude of umeboshi flavours which can be bought as quirky gifts or to take home for your own rice balls.

    Wakayama
    Address
    Wakayama Pref. Wakayamashi Misonochou 5 chome
    Phone
    Wakaya tuya
    Address
    Wakayama Pref. Wakayamashi Wakaurahigashi 2-6-2
    Phone
    0734440525
    Yuasa
    Address
    Wakayama county town Yuasa
    Phone
    Kadoya Shokudo
    Address
    Wakayama Pref. Aridagunyuasachou Yuasa 1109-1
    Phone
    0737622667
  • Nanki Shirahama Toretore Market
    Address
    Wakayama Pref. Nishimurogunshirahamachou Katata 2521
    Phone
    0120811378
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