Making our way through Japan while sampling various regional cuisines has led us to Kyushu (meaning nine provinces). The nine ancient provinces have since given way to seven prefectures: Fukuoka, Oita, Miyazaki, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, Nagasaki and Saga. Most of Kyushu’s population is concentrated in the northwest in Fukuoka City and Kitakysushu City (North Kyushu City).
Located southwest of the main island of Honshu, Kyushu is the third largest island of Japan and home to the most active volcano in the country, Mount Aso as well one of the most famous hot spring (onsen) in Japan, Beppu Onsen. Miyazaki and Kagoshima enjoy a subtropical climate and major agricultural products include rice, tea, tobacco, sweet potatoes and soy.
Kyushu is also known for the various types of porcelain that have been produced in the region over the years including, Imari, Satsuma and Karatsu.
The Kyushu area can well satisfy the seasoned traveler as well as the most exacting gastronome. The regional cuisine ranks right along with the area’s other famous offerings! Among the dishes to sample are the Mizutaki (a stewed dish consisting of chicken and vegetables eaten with ponzu dipping sauce), Hakata Ramen (noodles in a tonkotsu / pork bone stock soup topped off with beni shoga/ pickled ginger, sesame seeds and pickled greens), Motsunabe (stewed beef or pork intestines), Champon (a ramen-like dish consisting of seafood and vegetables), Chicken Namban (batter-fried chicken served with tartar sauce), Dango Jiru ( Wheat dumplings served in a miso or soy based soup with vegetables and pork), Kakuni (pork belly stewed in a sweetened soy broth) and Toriten (tempura chicken that is typically dipped in a soy based sauce that is popular in Oita.)
Finally, if you still have room for dessert, try the Castella (a sweet, rectangular sponge cake that was introduced in Nagasaki by the Portuguese). This item is also popular as a souvenir for anyone visiting Kysushu to bring home to the friends and loved ones.
Our journey will take us to our final destination of Okinawa where we will introduce you to some very distinct regional dishes, so stay tuned!