Savor Local Food and Drink of Setouchi!
The Setouchi region refers to the coastal area of the Seto Inland Sea and consists of that sea and coastal areas of several prefectures – Hyogo, Okayama, Yamaguchi, Tokushima, Kagawa and Ehime.
Okonomiyaki (savory pancake), Kobe Beef and oysters are some famous foods of the Setouchi area but this time we would like to introduce you to its local foods that the att.JAPAN editors explored when they actually visited there. Also, there are many sakagura (sake breweries) in the Setouchi area so we will pick up some local sakes made in those areas, local specialty products made with sake, and events featuring sake.
Local people call it “tamagoyaki,” too. It melts and the flavor of broth and egg spreads out in your mouth the moment after you put it in your mouth after dipping it in the hot dashi.
Drink: Japanese Whiskey
There has been a lot of sake production from long time ago in Akashi thanks to the nice climate, high quality water and quality rice production. And now, its whiskey is also attracting attention. “Akashi” is whiskey created by toji, experts of Japanese sake production, and has fans all over Japan.
A local food that puts demiglace sauce on a pork cutlet. The smooth demiglace sauce that is similar to miso sauce disguises the fattiness of the cutlet, so you will be eating a lot of rice before you know it.
Drink: Liqueur using fruits
Blessed with abundant fruits, Okayama is home to various liqueurs using fruits, such as white peaches and pione grapes, which are specialties of Okayama.
A local food that is grilled on an iron plate, and made of flour, cabbage and any ingredient you like, such as meat or seafood. It’s different from other okonomiyaki in the point that it has noodles in it. Try different kinds of local okonomiyaki: some use local oyster; famous sake spot Takehara’s okonomiyaki is added with sake lees to make it taste mild; and minced meat is used in that of Fuchuyaki, which has a crispy texture.
Drink: One of the famous sake producing places in Japan
Hiroshima Prefecture cultivates excellent rice for sake and also is blessed with soft water. This rice and water make the local sake rich and mellow. Why not compare sake from Nada, another famous sake producing area in Setouchi, which uses hard water? Major production places of Hiroshima are Saijo, Kure, and Takehara, with brands of Fukubijin, Ugo no Tsuki, and Suishin.
You can make okonomiyaki yourself at “OKOSTA,” which has direct access from Hiroshima Station.
For more information:
This is a local dish of Shimonoseki City. Chasoba noodles are placed on a hot kawara (tile), topped with ingredients, such as salty-sweet sliced beef or shredded egg strips. It is eaten with warm soy sauce-based soup. The crispy taste of the singed noodles is the key to the taste of kawarasoba.
Drink: A variety of local sake
Yamaguchi Prefecture is rich in nature and grows a lot of rice, including rice for sake making, thanks to the intense temperature differences. We recommend you to try some of the brands, such as Toyobijin, Gangi, and Gokyo, in addition to the world famous Dassai.
This is a local specialty of Tokushima made by adding sweet simmered kintoki beans and shrimp tempura to okonomiyaki. The sweetness of the kintoki beans matches the sweet but salty taste of the okonomi-sauce surprisingly well, and you will get hooked on the taste. This combination is unique to Tokushima Prefecture, where it is said that people developed an affinity for sweets precisely because the area had a lot of salt fields.
Drink: Liquor of sudachi
Liquor using juice of sudachi, Tokushima’s local citrus, has a refreshing flavor. Drinking a chilled one straight is fine. On the rocks or with soda are also good.
KagawaFood: Sanuki udon
Kagawa Prefecture is so famous for its udon noodles that it is called a “the udon prefecture.” Flour and salt are ingredients of udon, and Kagawa has long been producing them. The area is dotted with Sanuki-udon shops (Sanuki is the old name of Kagawa Prefecture), and they have various menu items using lemon and sudachi from Setouchi, and others using raw egg and black pepper. The tempura eaten with the udon is delicious, too!
Drink: Local sake that goes well with udon
Thanks to high-quality water from springs, which is suitable for sake brewing and obtained from the Sanuki Mountains in the southern part of the Kagawa Prefecture, there are six breweries in the prefecture, including Kawazuru, Kinryo, and Ayagiku. It is said that local sake from Kagawa Prefecture goes well with udon.
EhimeFood: Yakibuta tamagohan
A local food famous in Imabari City. Grilled pork and half-fried egg are put on rice with a sweet and spicy sauce. The yolk of the half-fried egg blends with the roast pork and stimulates the appetite.
Drink: Mikan liquor
Ehime Prefecture is a major production area of mikan (mandarin oranges). Using mikan from Ehime that have a good balance of sweetness and sourness, the mikan liquor blended with honkaku shochu (authentic distilled spirits) goes down well and has a clear taste without bitterness or unpleasant taste.
Calendar of Annual Sake Events in SetouchiEvents that features sake are held throughout the year in the Setouchi region. They start preparing new sake in autumn and winter, so October 1 is called “the Japanese sake day.” Many sake festivals are held especially in this season.
Feb. 22 Shikoku Sake Festival (Tokushima)
Mar. 7—15 The Okyaku of Tosa 2020 (Kouchi 《extra edition》)
Mid-Apr. Sake from Kurashiki Sanzen Shinshu Festival (Okayama)
Late Jul. Shikoku Sake Festival 〈summer〉 (Tokushima)
Late Aug.–early Sep. Bicchu Tamashimaminato Sake Festival (Okayama)
Early Sep. Shikoku Sake Festival 〈autumn〉 (Tokushima)
Mid-Sep. Okayama Autumn Sake Festival (Okayama)
Oct. 1 Hiroshima Sake Festival (Hiroshima)
Early Oct. Horoyoi Festa (Ehime)
Mid-Oct. Saijo Sake Festival (Hiroshima)
Mid-Oct. Walk Around Kabe〈sampling local sake〉 (Hiroshima)
Mid-Oct. Yuda Onsen Sake Festival (Yamaguchi)
Late Oct. / Early Nov. Nada no Beppin Sake Festival (Hyogo)
Late Nov. The 20th Feast of Kinryo Hatsu-shibori (Kagawa)
There are several places where you can enjoy local sake from Hiroshima throughout the year in “ekie,” a commercial facility in a station building with direct access from Hiroshima Station.
Shigetomi Beer Stand https://www.ekie.jp/ekie/shop/?shop_id=135
SAKE PLACE https://www.ekie.jp/ekie/shop/?shop_id=153
Liquor store Hishimasamune https://www.ekie.jp/ekie/shop/index.html?shop_id=154
Sake Masu-Masu https://www.ekie.jp/ekie/shop/?shop_id=88
*The information herein is as of November 2019.