If you are planning to go to Japan and you like, like us, to taste all the dishes, we recommend you to go to gastronomic festivities where you will not only find a festive, friendly, joyful and hectic atmosphere with many animations as well as food stands (yatai) everywhere. Here are 8 gastronomic festivals not to be missed in Japan from September to January.
September: Sanma Fish Festival in Meguro, Tokyo
In Japan, the autumn months are famous for all the delicious foods they offer, like shiitake mushrooms persimmons, chestnuts and sweet potatoes. One of the most representative foods of autumn is sanma fish (さんま), or “Balaou of Japan”. This fish is usually cooked on long barbecues topped with a thin grill on which the fish is grilled and seasoned with salt.
In the district of Meguro, Tokyo, is held every year the Sanma Matsuri festival where you will find many stands of grilled sanma.
September: The meat festival, Nikupaku in Fukuoka
This festival is, as its name suggests, for meat lovers! At the Nikupaku festival, indulge in a variety of meat dishes from different restaurants and caterers in Kyushu. Think of wagyu beef cubes, hamburgers yakiniku and karaage and yakitori and much more! A must to discover and rediscover.
September – October : Hokkaido Gastronomy Festival
The large Odori Park in Sapporo hosts many events, one of the most delicious of which is the Hokkaido Food Festival. Under the theme of Sapporo Hokkaido Cuisine, seasonal ingredients and local culinary delights are served at booths representing localities throughout Hokkaido
This event is organized in collaboration with municipalities throughout the prefecture and private companies with the aim of revitalizing all of Hokkaido
Of course, many booths are selling Hokkaido’s iconic beer, Sapporo. So don’t hesitate to go there if you are in the area!
November: Utsunomiya Gyoza Festival in Utsunomiya
Utsunomiya is famous throughout Japan for its gyoza. It is only natural that an annual festival dedicated to these Japanese ravioli is held in the city. The Utsunomiya Gyoza Festival has been held in early November since 1999, with members of the Utsunomiya Gyoza Committee setting up numerous stalls to sell their famous Japanese ravioli.
Visitors will be able to enjoy many original gyoza creations as well as fill their empty stomachs at a low cost! A portion of three to six pieces of gyoza, whether fried, boiled or steamed, will cost only about 200 yen… A great way to treat yourself…
December : Ramen expo festival in Osaka
Satisfy your craving for authentic Japanese ramen by attending theOsaka Ramen Expo, where you can sample varieties of ramen from some of the best outlets in Japan. World-renowned stores from all over the country offer their version of the traditional Japanese dish
This four-weekend event takes place in December at the Expo Commemoration Park in Osaka, easily accessible by train and bus from Osaka Central Station, Umeda. If you are a ramen fan, go and visit it!
December – January: Mochitsuki Mochi Festival all over Japan
In the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, Japanese people start pounding rice to make ramen mochi (rice cakes) a traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day. Making mochi is a fairly laborious process that usually takes two days and involves several people, so many local communities seize the opportunity to get together.
In fact, this festival is so ingrained in the social calendar that many consider mochitsuki an iconic symbol of Japan along with sakura cherry blossoms and sumo wrestling. Grab your wooden mallet and join in!
January: Furusato Matsuri at Tokyo Dome, Japanese food festival
Furusato Matsuri Tokyo is an annual Japanese food festival held in January for about a week. It is a unique festival that features local specialties from each prefecture, as well as other activities that highlight Japanese culture and history. It is an opportunity to experience the best of traditional and modern Japanese cuisine, drinks, desserts and more!
Furusato Matsuri Tokyo is a unique culinary experience in Japan, with approximately 400,000 participants gathered in the Tokyo Dome. It is one of the biggest events in Japan with the theme of “traditional performances” and “food from all over Japan”.
February: Oyster Festival in Miyajima, near Hiroshima
In Japan, from January to March, it is the oyster season! The Miyajima Oyster Festival is the first oyster festival to be held in Hiroshima Prefecture. It is held every year on the second Saturday and Sunday of February, when the oysters are at their tastiest
Enjoy a variety of popular Japanese dishes brimming with oysters, such as steamed oysters, rice porridge, zucchini, and rice balls japanese oyster melt you can also enjoy a variety of popular Japanese dishes brimming with oysters, such as steamed oysters, zosui rice porridge and fried oysters
On the stage, wadaiko drumming and other performances help make the Miyajima Oyster Festival a lively event. Go there without reservation you will not be disappointed!
If you go to Japan, outside these periods you can always read our article on theme parks and museums dedicated to Japanese cuisine. There are many festivals in Japan throughout the year, and we highly recommend you to do one during your stay in Japan. Find out in this article what you can eating in a festival in Japan
Did you know any of these festivals? Have you ever done one of these festivals? Don’t hesitate to post your comments!