Takayama Cuisine: mMm.. Miso Hungry!

Warning: Side effects for reading this can include mild to severe cravings.

It’s been awhile since we’ve had unbelievably good food. Food that makes you roll your eyes, lick your lips and rub your belly mMm mmm good. I seriously haven’t felt this way about food since our trip to Cinque Terre in 2009.

One of the pleasures of traveling is indulging in local cuisines and Takayama offers many delicious delicacies available from the local land and river. We spent three slow days weaving through the narrow alley and the low wooden buildings in search for good local eats.

This region is particularly famous for their miso, it’s in everything and I couldn’t be happier. I’m in miso heaven. Here are a few of our favorite local dishes from Takayama.

Hoba Miso

Hoba miso is a regional favorite – food seasoned with fermented soybean paste and grilled on magnolia leaves. Typically hoba miso is served with sliced Japanese leeks and shiitake mushrooms placed on the magnolia leaf and cooked over a clay stove called a shichirin. It’s best enjoyed with a steaming bowl of white rice!


from Yu Raku An 

Hida beef

Hida beef is Takayama’s Kobe beef. It’s ideally eaten as steak, sukiya-ki or shabushabu style. We first tried Hida beef for lunch served in a rice bowl. Also to accompany the meal – pickled veggies, sweet tofu, miso soup, salad and a quail egg to go over your rice and beef. We also tried hoba yaki which is hoba miso with thinly sliced raw Hida beef on top.


Ramen Noodles

Takayama is famous for its ramen noodles cooked in a miso stock. You can have it veggie style or with various types of meat. Our favorite is with roasted pork. The roasted pork, while a little on the salty side, is even more delicious if you have it on a bowl of steam rice.


Mitarashi Dango

The smell of grilled miso and soy street snacks in Takayama is so ridiculously amazing it’ll get your senses going. I’m hooked on the mitarashi dango – savory-sweet dumplings made from rice flour, coated in soy sauce, grilled and served on bamboo skewers. Also try rice on a stick slathered with miso, and grilled to perfection.


I love that this region’s cuisine is centered around miso. I would’ve bathe in it at the onsen if I could – it’s that good. Other than Cinque Terre, Takayama steals my heart (and stomach) for best regional cuisine.. bar none.

What’s the best regional cuisine you’ve ever had?

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