Hida beef is a highly esteemed brand of kuroge wagyu beef from the Gifu area in central Japan. Black-haired Japanese cattle are raised to produce beef of the topmost quality, meeting stringent industry standards for marbling, color, texture, and aroma. Compared to other kuroge wagyu brands, Hida beef has thinner muscle fibers; furthermore, its exquisite marbling appears not only on steaks but also on flank, shoulder, and round cuts. This results in a light and tender beef that, lacking the heaviness of many other meats, possesses instead a smooth and sweet flavor. A fine marble coating also protects the meat when stewing, resulting in only the juiciest and most tender cuts.
The Roppongi district is known as Tokyo’s upscale center of entertainment, complete with high-end hotels, chic bars, and a fantastic nightlife. Bordered by two large commercial hubs, Roppongi Hills at one end and Roppongi Midtown at the other, this peerless shopping destination offers the allure of numerous luxury brands, while the sheer variety of museums, galleries, and art installations in the area create a bustling art scene. Due to its close proximity to a number of foreign embassies, Roppongi draws a diverse crowd of esteemed overseas visitors, so it’s no surprise then that the area is home to one of the best dining scenes in Tokyo and throughout Japan. For visitors looking to enjoy the finest in Japanese cuisine, here are 7 Roppongi sushi restaurants that not only provide the best sushi in Roppongi but also furnish the ultimate seafood dining experience.
Japanese food culture is one of the most highly prized in the world, with Japan becoming the only country aside from France to have its cuisine included on the UNESCO cultural heritage list. In particular, Japanese delicacies, which often vary according to the changing seasons, are notable not only for the exceptional care and attention given to their preparation, but for the unprecedented flavor that preparation ultimately yields. To guide you on your dining adventures, here are 10 luxurious Japanese ingredients that you will want to try when visiting this culinary mecca to the East.
Kaiseki is the quintessential Japanese haute cuisine, a tasting course characterized by the perfection of its preparation and elegant presentation. Originally a meal of small dishes meant to accompany the bitter green tea of Japanese tea ceremonies, kaiseki has become a dazzling culinary tradition unto itself. Kaiseki eschews strong sauces or overly complex arrangements, instead presenting every dish with stark simplicity around natural themes that highlight the superior quality of seasonal ingredients. This absence of artifice means that every ingredient must be selected at the height of freshness and then carefully prepared to showcase its true flavor.
Shabu-shabu is the Japanese epitome of self-cooked gourmet dining. Much like fondue, shabu-shabu is a social meal best enjoyed in the company of friends and family. While many do choose to indulge at home, by far the best shabu-shabu can be found in fine restaurants throughout Tokyo as well as the rest of Japan. The primary difference lies not only in unparalleled service and hospitality, but also in the use of stellar ingredients, often rare and always delicious.
Centrally located on Japan’s main island of Honshu, Nagano prefecture’s well-deserved reputation as an area of great natural beauty makes it a popular travel destination. Surrounded by picturesque peaks, carpeted with wildflowers and blessed with fast-running rivers and pure mountain lakes, the startling diversity of Nagano’s natural settings is matched only by the plethora of sumptuous cuisine that the region has to offer. From fine traditional washoku to Japan-western fusion food and more, here are eight Nagano restaurant recommendations for exploring the region’s culinary richness.
From top-notch farms to artisanal kitchens and into the waiting mouths of hungry patrons, Japan’s elite offering—premium kuroge wagyu Japanese beef—is fast taking its well-deserved place among Western high-end beef standards such as filet mignon and veal. While internationally recognized Kobe beef is one of the most highly regarded, flavorful and least easy to obtain outside of Japan, it is by no means the only kind Japan has to offer. Read on to discover the world of kuroge wagyu beef, and learn why these succulent cuts should be at the top of your list when deciding where to dine in Japan.
Japanese alcoholic beverages run the gamut from bittersweet nigorizake (cloudy sake) to robust lager beers, subtle whiskys, and shochu that dances across the tongue. Drinking has long been an indelible part of Japan’s social fabric, and today it is common to see people raising their glasses in a gesture of “Kampai!” (cheers), savoring a quiet nightcap at a favorite haunt, or chatting over a glass brimming with a fragrant tipple. Once you discover the diverse range of beverage options—as well as the varieties of each—you will no doubt want to join them.
The island of Okinawa is the unsung jewel of Japan, a crowning natural achievement sporting breathtaking azure skies and a deep blue sea to match. Pristine beaches above and stunning underwater creatures below offer an idyllic feast for the senses, to say nothing of the actual feasts to be had. Okinawan cuisine possesses a rich history and taste that is wholly unique to the island chain, one that must be tried to be believed. For enterprising epicureans in the know, all that remains is to make the trip across the Pacific—to discover this delectable treasure trove for themselves.
For Japanese, the ubiquitous “yakiniku party,” may be the greatest social affirmation of group identity—the tiny, tender cuts of meat, each like a bite of heaven on the tongue, are simply much too good to be eaten alone. Yakiniku’s close cousin, teppanyaki—named for the flat iron grill upon which the ingredients are cooked—is an equally social cuisine that eschews an entirely meat centered approach to include fresh vegetables, seafood chicken and an array of exotic spices and sauce. In perhaps the ultimate expression of luxury, this inviting combination is typically cooked to order right in front of you by master chefs who transcend the boundary between cuisine and performance. Once you feast your eyes on these 5 Osaka teppanyaki restaurants, you’ll never want to cook meat for yourself again.