Saturday, August 27, 2011

Summer holiday in Hokkaido: The Food


Hokkaido, situated as it is in the north, is known for its fresh and plentiful fish. So of course a trip to Hokkaido would not be complete without some sushi. Even better, we had dinner at a popular sushi restaurant in the port city of Otaru. (See yesterday's Summer holiday in Hokkaido: The Sights post for photos of Otaru's historical canal).


To go with the sushi, Hakkaisan Junmai Ginjo sake.

Hokkaido has many other specialties too, not just fish. Lamb is not very common in the rest of Japan but as Hokkaido is also known for sheep farming, barbecued mutton is very popular. This famous Hokkaido dish is called Genghis Khan, (or as the Japanese pronounce it ジンギスカン "Jingis Kan"), named after the famous Mongolian warrior. 

Genghis Khan

The meat, along with a few vegetables, is cooked on a round dome-shaped metal grill. And then dipped into a special sauce. Beer is the accompaniment of choice.

Genghis Khan restaurant

Now I'm not a huge meat-eater, but H is quite the carnivore so I couldn't deny him this. We went to a very popular little hole-in-the-wall Genghis Khan restaurant in Asahikawa and when we left, people were lined up down the street to get in!

Hokkaido is also the home of beer in Japan. Most of the big Japanese brewers are located in Hokkaido. Although the production has been moved out of the city, in the centre of Sapporo, the old Sapporo Beer Factory has been preserved and is now a shopping mall, office, and museum complex.

Sapporo Factory

It also houses many restaurants. Here we had handmade soba, buckwheat noodles. I ordered mine cold, to be dipped into a warm sauce. H explained that soba in Tokyo is usually made with wheat flour mixed in with the buckwheat flour, making it milder. The soba we had in Sapporo was definitely stronger tasting, and delicious!


What with all the cows, and the open spaces for them to graze in, Hokkaido is home to many dairy farms as well. A lot of the butter, milk and cheese found in the supermarkets here in Tokyo actually comes from Hokkaido. So last but not least, it wouldn't be a trip to Hokkaido without some ice cream!

Furano Ice Cream Factory

Grape gelato from the Furano Ice Cream Factory

These are only a few of the culinary treats Hokkaido has to offer, but I hope this gives you a little taste of what we ate, and drank, while we were there. All in all it was a great trip!

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads.
The small print: Photos were taken by me and cannot be used without permission.  For more information please visit my About Page.


  1. I don't know much about Japanese foods, but that looks very nice.

    All of Japan (the pictures you show) seems so very civilized! Not that I expected it to be uncivilized particularly but I just noticed it. :-)

  2. Oh that sushi looks fabulous! Looks like it was a delicious trip!

  3. I'm glad you had a wonderful trip in Hokkaido. Every food pictures you shown here are so delectable and mouth watering... after looking at these pictures I'm going to cook myself some instant noodles now! :)

  4. When I lived in Hawaii I fell in love with Japanese food -- the kind served at home and in small cafes as well as the more well-know dishes served in restaurants. Now that I'm in Pennsylvania, I never get real Japanese foods.

    What a great post -- I love soba noodles, and that shot of saki looks so cold and refreshing. Yum.

  5. Loving the look of the fish & apart from beer there's also a whisky distillery there Yoichi it was founded in 1934 by the legendary Japanese whisky figure, Masataka Taketsuru. He decided to leave the Suntory company and the Yamazaki distillery that he helped to establish, and build his own distillery. The site that he selected was on the northern island of Hokkaido and was his original choice as the site for Yamazaki. Taketsuru believed it the island had the closest environment that he could find to a Scottish one. He had visited Scotland and studied whisky making techniques before supervising the setting up of Yamazaki. The original name was the Hokkaido distillery .
    quite the romantic tale, whilst in Scotland it wasn't just whisky he was enamored by, he married a Scottish lass.

  6. Yummy, yummy, yummy! I want sushi soooo badly, and you're killing me with the pics. I loved it all. Thanks for sharing!

  7. my my, Great pictures, once again! My mouth is now watering.. since i'm surrounded by mountains, inland of eastern state, it's very hard to get Fresh fish.. luv SOBA too. Korean BBQ isn't that popular where i live now either... Fried Fish isn't the same as Sushi!! lol...

  8. Oh, my this looks so good, the sushi, yummmmmm. You well deserve it with all that has happened to Japan.

  9. Oishiso! The Sapporo Beer Factory looks wonderful.

  10. It's funny...I had a dream about Sapporo last night, specifically the Therme Hotel LOL!!! When I visited, I think the brewery was still open. One of the things that stuck most in my mind was how GOOD the milk was! Almost an almond taste to it...amazing!

  11. also, there was a glass factory in I want to say a lovely piece there!


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