Northern Honshū 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 perilla leaf). Little has chang…
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

Shodako

One 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…
Soba in Morioka

Azumaya Honten

Customers line up and tour buses roll in for this hugely popular wanko-soba restaurant. As per tradition, the waiter will refill your tiny bowl with soba (buckwheat noodles) as soon as you've put the last one down. …
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). Located at the beginning of busy Shinmachi-dōri, the menu includes marucchi tsum…