Local Food and Souvenirs

Local Cuisine

Soba (buckwheat noodles),

Nikko
Imaichi
Kinugawa - Kawaji Onsen
Yunishigawa, Kawamata and Okukinu Onsen

Soba of Nikko is cooked by the hands of craftsmen by using high-quality buckwheat and fine water supplied from the feet of the mountains in Nikko. The city of Nikko is known as a town of soba, and the soba festival is held in autumn when freshly-harvested buckwheat is sold in the market.

Nikko-yuba

Nikko
Kinugawa - Kawaji Onsen
Imaichi

One of the most traditional local cuisine in Nikko is yuba (tofu skin),, which is made by picking up the skin appeared on the surface of boiled soymilk. You can relish yuba as sashimi (raw food), to be served immediately after the skin is picked up, or as dried yuba to be fried and eaten in combination with other food like soba.

Photographs: By Ochiai Shoten

Shisomaki Togarashi (Red Pepper Rolled with Japanese Basil),

Nikko

This spicy food that offers perfect combination with rice is made by rolling each hot red pepper pickled in salt with Japanese basil one by one in a careful manner. It is said that ancient itinerant priests in Nikko carried this food to keep their bodies warm.

Tamarizuke / Robatazuke

Imaichi
Kinugawa - Kawaji Onsen

Japanese pickles made by marinating fresh local vegetables in “tamari,” liquid produced in the process of maturing miso (soybean paste),, or “tamari shoyu,” thick soy sauce produced by using more soybeans than regular shoyu.

Shojinryouri (Buddhist Cuisine),

Nikko

Vegetarian diet cooked for Buddhist priests who are forbidden to eat any meat. Nikko’s local products such as yuba, tofu, konnyaku (paste made from the starch of the devil‘s tongue),, fu (breadlike food made of wheat gluten), and seasonal vegetables are cooked in a manner that keep original flavors of ingredients.

Kaiseki Ryori (Sophisticated Traditional Japanese Cuisine Brought in Courses),

Nikko
Kinugawa - Kawaji Onsen
Okunikko
Yunishigawa, Kawamata and Okukinu Onsen
Imaichi
Ashio

Washoku (Japanese cusine), that was registered as the World Heritage is served one by one as a course of dishes at ryokans, hotels and ryotei (Japanese-style restaurant),. Use both your eyes and tongue to relish high-quality seasonal ingredients cooked and arranged in a sophisticated way.

Yoshoku (Western-Style Cuisine),

Nikko
Kinugawa - Kawaji Onsen
Okunikko

Yoshoku was born by recreating Western-style cuisine brought to Japan in the Meiji period into the Japanese style. You can try a variety of popular Japanese yoshoku-style home-cocking meals such Hamburg steak, omurice (omelet with a filling of ketchup-seasoned fried rice), and hayashi rice (rice with hashed meat),.

Heike Ochudo Ryori (Fleeing Heike Warrior Cuisine),

Yunishigawa, Kawamata and Okukinugawa Onsen

This cuisine is named after the old legend that fleeing Heike warriors surrounded fire and baked the foods that they got in the mountain and river. You can sit around a fire pit and enjoy the cuisine.

Local Ingredients

Japanese Beef

Nikko
Kinugawa - Kawaji Onsen
Okunikko
Yunishigawa, Kawamata and Okukinu Onsen
Imaichi
Ashio

The honor of being the brand beef is given to Tochigi wagyu (Japanese cow), and Nasu wagyu that provides tender, juicy, marbled meats, as well as Nikkokogengyu, Otawara gyu and Tochigi Kirifuri Kogen Beef (crossbreed of Holstein ox and Japanese Black cow),. Enjoy the brand beef as sukiyaki, shabushabu, steak or yakiniku.

Branded Pork (Nikko Pork),

Nikko
Kinugawa - Kawaji Onsen
Okunikko
Yunishigawa, Kawamata and Okukinu Onsen
Imaichi
Ashio

Because the pigs are bred on the rich soil of Nikko, quality of the meat are maintained at a high level. This specialty pork is tender, has no smell, and has appropriate amount of fat in the lean.

Freshwater Fish Cuisine

Nikko
Kinugawa - Kawaji Onsen
Okunikko
Yunishigawa, Kawamata and Okukinu Onsen
Imaichi
Ashio

The city of Nikko that is proud of its clear-water rivers produces fresh and delicious freshwater fishes such as iwana (chars), and ayu. Simply broiling these fish with salt is, of course, wonderful, but you should also try cocked or fried fishes.

Tochigi’s famous strawberry “Tochi-Otome”

Nikko
Kinugawa - Kawaji Onsen
Okunikko
Yunishigawa, Kawamata and Okukinu Onsen
Imaichi
Ashio

“Tochi-Otome,” Tochigi-produced strawberries distinguished for its bright red color, large size, and perfect taste balance between sweetness and sourness is Nikko’s seasonal taste that you can enjoy between winter and spring. The city of Nikko offers a variety of cakes using local strawberries, as well as sweets suitable for souvenirs. You can also enjoy strawberry picking.

Nikko Maitake Mushroom

Nikko
Kinugawa - Kawaji Onsen
Okunikko
Yunishigawa, Kawamata and Okukinu Onsen
Imaichi
Ashio

Nikko maitake mushrooms are cultivated at the feet of the Nikko Mountains without pesticides. Thanks to Nikko’s natural environment and with modern equipment, Nikko Maitake mushrooms are excellent in resiliency, taste and flavor, and is counted as one of the best maitake mushroom breed in Japan.

Edible Wild Plants

Nikko
Kinugawa - Kawaji Onsen
Okunikko
Yunishigawa, Kawamata and Okukinu Onsen
Imaichi
Ashio

Warabi (bracken),, taranome (leaf buds of Japanese angelica tree), and fuki (Japanese buterburs), are gifts from mountains that you can eat only in the season. Sansai soba, tempura or ohitasi (boiling), are recommended cooking styles to relish them.

Nikko-Produced Koshihikari Rice

Nikko
Kinugawa - Kawaji Onsen
Okunikko
Yunishigawa, Kawamata and Okukinu Onsen
Imaichi
Ashio

“Kamijishi-mai,” Nikko-produced Koshihikari rice, is grown by using the underflow water of the Nikko Mountains at the district called Kobayashi, Nikko, which lies downstream of the limpid Kinugawa River. The rice attracts widespread popularity as one of the best “brand rice.”

Sweets

Manju

Nikko
Kinugawa - Kawaji Onsen
Yunishigawa, Kawamata and Okukinu Onsen

Traditional Japanese sweets in Nikko are manju that wraps oguraan (sweet azuki bean paste containing both mashed and whole beans), is wrapped with flour dough and steamed. These sweets have many variations such as “Onsen Manju,” typical souvenirs of Onsen resorts, “Yuba Manju” wrapped by yuba skins and “Sake Manu” using Japanese sake. Why not eat and compare them?

Shaved ice made from Nikko‘s natural water

Nikko
Kinugawa - Kawaji Onsen
Imaichi

Nikko has 3 of 5 icehouses that currently exist all over Japan. Nikko’s natural water that was frozen and preserved in natural cold air is just wonder; the produced ice is so soft and does not cause headaches even when eating it hastily. Each shop has its own specialty of shaved ice, such as ujikintoki with maccha (powdered green tea), syrup and an (bean jam), on the top, and standard ones with strawberry or melon syrup. So, why not compare the flavor of the specialty of each shop?

Yokan (Sweet Bean Jelly),

Nikko

Yokan is a Japanese sweet produced by adding agar to azuki (sweet bean paste), to set a shape. It is said that the yokan of Nikko was produced as the gift to World-Heritage shrines and temples, then became popular among the worship-visitors as their souvenirs. Nikko yokan has the characteristic of being smooth and moderately sweet.

Beverage

Nikko‘s natural water

Nikko
Kinugawa - Kawaji Onsen
Okunikko
Yunishigawa, Kawamata and Okukinu Onsen
Imaichi
Ashio

Rains that fell on the mountains in Nikko is gradually filtered over long time and finally turns to rich spring water and underground water. Let’s relish fine and beautiful water in Nikko, the city of water resources.

Local Sake of Nikko

Imaichi

Local sake of Nikko is brewed at traditional breweries that are located at the feet of the Nikko Mountains. Produced by using local rice, high-quality water and yeasts, “Nikko Homare” is one of the most popular ginjoshu with no added alcohol.

Traditional Crafts

Nikkobori (Nikko Carving),

Nikko

It is said that Nikkobori originates from the arts of the famous craftsmen who renovated the World-Heritage Nikko Toshogu Shrine. These excellent craftworks are made with carefully sculpturing designs of cherry flowers, peony flowers and dragons on furniture, trays and hand glasses, and coating with urushi (japan),.

Nikko Geta (Wooden Clogs),

Nikko

Nikko geta was originally produced as footwear used to walk in the sacred precincts of the shrines in Nikkko. Because the wooden bases are sawn to the back surfaces of zori (Japanese sandals),, the clogs has stability and are suitable to walk in the towns of Nikko that have many slopes and snow days. They give cold feeing in summer and warm feeling in winter, and can be worn with both kimono and Western clothes.

Photographs: By Ippitsu Ryu Kousyuuya

Ippitsu Ryu (Dragon Drawn by a Single Stroke),

Nikko

Ippitsu ryu (a dragon drawn by a single stoke), is said to bring good luck like Nakiryuu (roaring dragon), in the Nikko Toshogu Shrine. It is magnificent to see that even details of a dragon such as the body, scales and palps is drawn by a single stroke.

Ashioyaki (Ashio Ware),

Ashio

A ceramic art that uses slimes taken out of the closed Ashio Copper Mine. Each ware has different taste and texture depending on the pottery, and simplicity and warmth of the products has gained general popularity.

Model Courses

Onsen Manju

Onsen manju (a bun stuffed with azuki-bean paste), has many variations in its ingredients such as soybeans and wheat flour, original recipe handed down over time, colors and shapes, and tastes, because each shop has its own characteristic. Why not try as many types of onsen manju as possible, and discover the difference of each manju?