Enjoy the Food of Takayama
For many if not most international visitors, love of Japanese cuisine or ‘washoku’ is one of the primary reasons they travel to Japan. The country is proud of its food culture – best demonstrated by its heritage-listing of ‘washoku’ with UNESCO – offering a diverse and delicious world of food to indulge in.
Firmly established as a foodies city, talking food and Takayama can only start with one thing – beef.
Located nearby the Hida region of Gifu Prefecture, many visitors to Takayama come to try some of Japan’s best beef. Hida beef or ‘Hida-gyu’ is the name given to a specific type of beef, produced from black-haired Japanese cattle.
Known for its intense marbling, the flavor is rich and sumptuous to eat. Considered the match of internationally acclaimed ‘wagyu’ and Kobe beef, for many Japanese Hida-gyu is the best beef in Japan.
Many Japanese and international visitors come to Takayama just for the beef. As a result, the city’s numerous Hida-gyu restaurants are packed every night of the week. If you have your eye set on a specific eatery, make sure to book in advance and don’t waste that booking!
Hida Beef Sushi
Whether eating in a restaurant or simply strolling the streets of the old town, you are sure to come across Hida beef sushi.
Much like the fish equivalent, thin cuts of raw or slightly grilled beef are place atop of a bed of vinegar sushi rice and go down particularly well with a cold beer.
Hida Beef Skewers
As you wander through the old town, you are also sure to come across beef skewers usually costing around JPY500 per skewer.
It’s a great option for trying the region’s acclaimed beef while on the move and without breaking your budget.
While ramen is found throughout Japan, true aficionados of the salty soup noodles flock to Takayama for its distinct and delicious variation. Thin curly noodles and a light soup made from ‘shoyu’ (soy sauce) give Takayama a notably different flavor, texture and appearance and can of course, can be served with beef.
Much like the city’s best beef restaurants, the most popular ramen shops often have queues stretching down the street so make sure to get there early and even then, be ready to wait.
‘Miso’ (fermented soybean paste) is a staple of the Japanese diet and a must in any Japanese kitchen. Takayama produces one of the country’s most desired miso pastes – Hoba Miso. Often served with leek and mushroom with fish or beef on a magnolia leaf, sampling this delicious dish is a highlight of any food tour in Takayama.
The old town is also home to several excellent ‘sake’ and miso breweries. Known as ‘nihonshu’ in Japanese, sake is the national drink and Takayama is home to some of its best breweries.
When searching the streets for a brewery simply look-up for the hanging ‘sugidama’ (cedar balls) which typically dangle above the entrance inviting you in to sample and buy a bottle.
Takayama Morning Markets / 06:00 to 12:00 (or from 07:00 in winter)
Two morning markets (asa-ichi) are held every day of the year. The small market in front Takayama Jinya sells local produce while the much larger market following the Miyagawa River sells food, coffee, produce, local crafts and more!
We recommended getting along the Miyagawa River market and sampling everything you can get your hands on – a great way to take a culinary tour of the city and get your day-off to a delicious start!