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  • Writer's picturePhillip Radcliffe

Local Food of Yamaguchi Prefecture

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

(Japanese translation below)

By Koko Okuyama

Japan has 47 prefectures. There are local dishes that are widely passed down in each region, using local ingredients and cooking methods that are unique to the region. This time, we will introduce the local food of Yamaguchi Prefecture, which is located at the southernmost tip of Honshu.

Surrounded by rich nature, Yamaguchi Prefecture has sea, rivers, mountains, and villages, and is a land where the culture of gastronomy has flourished since ancient times. Nationally, many of the dishes that are regarded as luxury and high-class items are at restaurants and ordinary household dining tables. At the same time, local cuisine with a rustic flavor has also been handed down, allowing you to experience the lifestyle and warmth of the local people.

The first is Kawara Soba. This dish was inspired by Satsuma cuisine, which uses roof tiles instead of pots to cook meat and vegetables. On a well-heated roof tile, green tea noodles, beef, thinly sliced omelet, nori seaweed, small green onions, etc., are served, and dipped in a sauce containing grated maple leaves to enjoy. It is often served at restaurants and inns, but it is also made in Yamaguchi prefecture as a home-cooked dish.

The second is blowfish sashimi. Blowfish, a luxury fish, is a representative food of Yamaguchi Prefecture. It is famous for its blowfish, but once a soldier who ate blowfish died of poison, it was banned. However, in 1899, the ban was lifted only in Yamaguchi Prefecture. The blowfish is sliced thinly and arranged like a chrysanthemum flower or arranged to resemble a crane. It is common to eat blowfish sashimi by dipping it in ponzu sauce. Because it is a high-grade fish, it is often eaten on special occasions such as celebrations, but it is also sold at fresh fish stores and supermarkets and can be eaten at home by adding it to miso soup or deep-frying it.

The third is hanakkori, a vegetable born in Yamaguchi Prefecture made by combining saishin and broccoli. The burden of cultivation is relatively low, and it is spreading not only in the prefecture but also outside the prefecture as a green and yellow vegetable in winter, which tends to be in short supply. It has an elegant appearance that resembles a rapeseed flower and is characterized by a slightly sweet taste and a mild taste. Furthermore, since the leaves, flowers, and stems are all edible, there is no waste. It’s a vegetable with many good points. It is delicious boiled and used in salads, stir-fried in oil, and can also be used for tempura. Hanakkori is a vegetable that has just been born, so new menu items are still being devised.

There are many other attractive local foods that can only be eaten in Yamaguchi Prefecture. There are also many delicious local foods in other prefectures. It is very exciting to travel to various prefectures in order to learn the history of the cuisine and the secrets that have been loved by the locals since ancient times.


奥山 瑚々








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