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Food Treasure Trove in Tohoku, Ninohe City!
Ninohe City in Iwate Prefecture is located at the northern end of the Prefecture and is blessed with a rich natural environment such as Oritsumebasenkyo Prefectural Natural Park, the Kitakami Mountains, the mountains consisting of the Ou Mountains, and Kindaichi Onsen. The city is formed on the banks of the Mabechi River, which runs north and south.
Besides beautiful nature and abundant blessings, the area is filled with extremely sweet vegetables (which come over the harsh winter!), millet culture that has taken root for a long time, and famous sake that is distributed in more than 50 countries around the world. These reasons make Ninohe city become one of the popular travel destinations for tourists who are looking for delicious foods, in addition to its access which takes less than 3 hours Shinkansen ride from Tokyo.
Restaurants we review in this article are using local foods that we are excited to introduce!
1. Sushi Takeda (Sushi)
Sushi Takeda is a place to have vegan sushi topped with vegetables and mushrooms grown in the fertile land of Ninohe and fresh seaweed from the coast off Sanriku, professionally served by the skillful chef. You can enjoy the excellent combination of fresh yet sweet vegetables and the sushi rice that the craftsmen are particular about, especially the mekabu gunkan sushi!
*Mekabu is a type of seaweed with a chewy texture
|46-4 Horino Baba, Ninohe City, Iwate Prefecture〒028-6105
Close on Sunday
2. Rontanshuka (Chinese cuisine)
The restaurant has a chic atmosphere where you can have Chinese classics such as Szechuan tantanmen and vegan mapo tofu. The skill of the owner who trained at a famous store in Tokyo is just real, as you can enjoy various authentic Chinese food in vegan using the best local ingredients and careful work. The taste is just top-notch, and there aren’t many places in Japan where you can eat vegan Chinese foods at this level.
|10-3 Fukuoka-Hashiba, Ninohe City, Iwate Prefecture 〒028-6101
Close on Saturday and Sunday
3. Shiki no Sato (Soba)
Shiki no Sato makes soba from zero starts from peeling the shell to make it into a dough and serving it to customers. The restaurant only offers soba that is made on the day, so it is fragrant and has a chewy texture that is freshly served to your table. If the common soba soup is made from bonito soup stock, the soup on the vegan soba meal comes with vegan soup stock. In addition, you can purchase the vegan-certified Nanbu Senbei (rice cracker)!
|Shiki no Sato
|49-1 Arase Ishikiridokoro, Ninohe City, Iwate Prefecture 〒028-6103
Close on Monday
4. Teppanyaki Rai (Teppanyaki)
Speaking of Ninohe, this teppanyaki restaurant will pop up in our minds! In Teppanyaki Rai, you can enjoy not only delicious dishes but also amazing performances by the chef right in front of you!
Ninohe city has a culture of eating tofu steak for a long time, so this is definitely the place to go!
|92-7 Horino Okawarage, Ninohe City, Iwate Prefecture 〒028-6105
Close on Sunday
Bonus: The World’s First Vegan-Certified Japanese Sake, The Nanbu Bijin!
In 2019, Nanbu Bijin obtained the world’s first vegan-certified product for Japanese sake which led to all of their products becoming vegan certified. Currently, the product is exported to more than 50 countries overseas and it is no exaggeration to say that it is representative of Japanese sake to the world. There are many products that can only be purchased at Nanbu Bijin’s brewery, and you can also have a tour (and tasting the sake!) in the brewery for 1,000 yen (currently suspended due to COVID-19 outbreak).
|Nanbu Bijin (sake brewery)
|13 Fukuoka Kamimachi, Ninohe City, Iwate Prefecture 〒028-6101
Close on Saturday, Sunday, and national holiday