Northern Honshū (Tōhoku) restaurants

Top Choice Food Hall in Hirosaki

Kadare Yokochō

In the evening university students flock to this nondescript office building housing eight tiny restaurants, most doubling as bars. It's a lively local hang-out. Hinata-bokko (日向ぼっこ), with the orange noren curtains,…
Top Choice Market in Aomori

Shinsen Ichiba

Cut out the middle man and head straight for the famed Aomori seafood market, where piles of fresh catch – as well as apples, pickled vegetables and a variety of other produce – are laid out for restaurateurs to han…
Top Choice Vegetarian in Sendai

Ohisamaya

Vegetable curries, macrobiotic tofu and fresh, colourful salads are the highlights of this delightful, minimalist cafe, which rotates its menu regularly from a library of cookbooks on display. The occasional fish pr…
Soba in Kakunodate

Kosendō

The best noodles in town are found in this 250-year-old Edo-era wooden schoolhouse. The house speciality is buke-soba served with takenoko (bamboo shoots) and tempura-fried ōba (large Japanese basil leaf). Little ha…
Udon in Morioka

Pairon Honten

Jaja-men (じゃじゃめん; noodle with miso and minced meat) joints are all over town, but this hole-in-the wall is still the leader. Ordering is a breeze: just ask for shō (small), chū (medium) or dai (large). When you're f…
Sweets in Matsushima

Shōkadō

On the 2nd floor, with huge windows overlooking the bay, this light-filled, minimalist cafe specialises in castella, a moist, sponge-like cake originally brought to Japan by Portuguese merchants in the 16th century.…
Market in Niigata

Pia Bandai

Conveniently located on the way to the Sado Kisen ferry terminal, this sprawling complex includes markets and eateries – so you can gawk at the bounty of Niigata's coast and sample it, too. If you're in Niigata with…
Japanese in Aizu-Wakamatsu

Mitsutaya

The versatile soybean is pounded and skewered to perfection at this former bean-paste mill dating from 1834. The speciality here is dengaku – bamboo skewers of tofu, mochi (pounded rice cake) or vegetables basted in…
Seafood in Aomori

Osanai

In a town that knows how to handle a bivalve, Osanai has a stellar reputation among locals for its simple and cheap hotate (scallops). The menu includes marucchi tsumire soba (dumplings made from apple and scallops …
Food Hall in Minami-Sanriku & Kesennuma

Sun Sun Shopping Village

Atop reclaimed land near where the old centre of Minami-Sanriku stood, this new shopping village opened in 2017 to much fanfare. It represents the revitalisation of the tsunami zone, and is thronged with locals on w…