If you head to western Honshu, bordering along the Sea of Japan, you will come across Tottori prefecture. Known for its rugged coastline featuring the long stretch of the famous sand dunes and hot springs with restorative properties, there is also an adventure waiting to be discovered when it comes to food.
Let’s discover 5 foods you should eat when you visit Tottori prefecture.
Despite crabs being most famous in the Hokkaido prefecture, Tottori harbour and the Sakaiminato port stands as the largest producer of crabs in Japan. The delicious and dense male snow crab, also known as the Matsuba, is well sought after when the season arrives, usually from November to early March.
Why is it so popular within this prefecture then? Due to the quality of water and depth, this provides optimum living conditions, but their flavourful crabmeat is credited to the plankton-rich seafloors of this region.
Being one of the prefectures’ quintessential winter foods, these claws come packed with delicious meat and delicate flavour. The most common preparation method is by boiling, but the best way to preserve such quality is by having it as sashimi.
Many other ways this is eaten can be in miso soup, grilled, or a winter favourite, in nabe (hotpot), which warms you up inside. However, if you are aiming for a luxurious meal, be sure to order a full on Matsuba crab banquet!
If you are still questioning the popularity of the Matsuba and why you mustn’t miss the chance to have this, the prefecture actually holds a “Matsuba crab day” event each year. Hope that is proof enough for you!
Pears are called nashi (梨) in Japanese and when asked about pears in Japan, there are just so many varieties. However, when it comes to Tottori prefecture, the Nijisseiki pears are a popular local speciality (also known as 20th century pears).
These are known for their noticeably green-yellow colour, roundish shape and larger size when compared to western pears. They carry a delicate sweetness and are brimming with juice! Don’t be surprised as you are touring to find this juicy fruit in juices, jellies or even ice-cream!
They are named 20th century pears as they were first found growing wild at the turn of this century, and you can find a great deal of these fruit orchards on the Northern coast hillsides of Tottori. The original tree can still be found here to this day as the growers carefully tend to the trees by hand pollination to produce annual, bountiful harvests.
With just a 3 minute drive from the famous sand dunes, enjoy this delicious fruit and go pear picking around mid-August till November, but make sure to call ahead as it will close once the pears have run out!
HUGE BONUS!: a bountiful harvest of these pears will not go to waste as you can easily be refrigerated for up to 6 MONTHS! What a save for these delicious treats.
Grab the ultimate taste of the summer season in Tottori by eating these huge shells of plump deliciousness, also known as ‘Rock Oysters’. Caught and brought to land by free-divers, these can be up to 20cm in length and 1Kg in weight.
Loaded with a soaring amount of vitamins and minerals, it is often referred to as “the milk of the sea”! Locals highly recommend you try them raw with lemon squeezed on it, but if raw is not your thing, you can always opt for a cooked oyster set.
Some would even claim that when you eat this, it helps you recover from fatigue in the summer months! (Yes, I definitely need some fatigue relief).
While Ramen is well known for its mouth-watering pork or chicken broths, Gyukotsu Ramen makes a different appeal to the culinary scene. With the soup stock made from beef bones, this gourmet style dish is said to have originated from Yonago City.
Most people would think this is out of the ordinary when it comes to the style of ramen, however, for the people in Tottori, they think it is quite normal! This ramen is so tasty, flavourful and hearty that it has become like the standard flavour of the prefecture.
With a unique flavour, you can still adjust the taste further to your preference as soy sauce and salt is offered. Find it in many restaurants, cafeterias, pubs and shops to try this delicious bowl of ramen!
Daisen G Beer
Named after the beautiful Mt. Daisen, found in Tottori prefecture, savour the clear, flowing, spring waters with a wide variety of this craft beer. The crystal water is well known for its pure flavour but also is believed to have a hint of sweetness to it!
With this sweet undertone to make a complete drink, this beer holds the prestigious world beer award for the year 2011 and has thus remained etched in the hearts of the locals as a go-to beer.
You can find their usual line up all year round, but what’s more exciting is grabbing hold of their seasonal finds!
Every prefecture always has a special something that makes them stand out, and this coastal prefecture has a lot to share other than the famous sand dunes!
Hope you put Tottori down on your itinerary for your next Japan trip, and make some delicious memories!
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