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8 Japanese Food Festivals to Get a Taste of Local Culture




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Ah, Japan. It stands out as a destination where people return to time and time again for so many reasons. They have a unique culture, cutting edge technology, breathtaking sceneries, and of course, a mouthwatering cuisine. We can point you in many directions when it comes to the best places to eat, but one of them is of course – Japanese food festivals!

If you’re one of those foodies whose travels revolve around eating, make sure to read on and bookmark this page! You’ll only be experiencing the best of the best in these Japanese food festivals.

1. Ramen Expo, Osaka

japanese food festivals - ramen expo
Photo credit: prtimes.com

Ramen is one of the most popular foods in Japan, and Osaka dedicates every weekend in December to celebrate the dish! Visitors get a chance to taste the best ramen from all over Japan at this event. Wanna taste test the difference between Nagoya ramen and Sapporo ramen? Each weekend features ten different vendors, so you could technically try at least 40 different ramens! 

2. Nikupaku, Fukuoka

japanese food festivals - nikupaku
Photo credit: tripzilla.com
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Meat lovers, unite! At Nikupaku, indulge in a variety of meat dishes from different Kyushu restaurants and eateries. Think wagyu beef cubes, hamburgers, karaage, yakitori and many more! The event takes place every year in March, but last year it was rescheduled to September due to the pandemic. And since Japan has been in a state of emergency, there is no news yet about Nikupaku 2021. Here’s hoping that it will resume soon, and the situation around the world gets better!

3. Miyajima Oyster Festival, Miyajima

japanese food festivals - miyajima oyster festival
Photo credit: facebook.com/Visit.My.Japan

The Miyajima Oyster Festival is one of the most well known Japanese food festivals. Held every February in front of Miyajima Pier, visitors can get the freshest oysters here at cut throat prices! Popular dishes include grilled oysters, oyster okonomiyaki, oyster dote nabe, and oyster stew. Just imagine sipping on that in the cold winter! This is one festival you cannot miss if you’re an oyster lover. Miyajima in 2022, anybody?

4. Furusato Matsuri, Tokyo

japanese food festivals - furusato matsuri
Photo credit: iamafoodblog.com

Here’s a food festival that lets you get a taste of all of Japan at once! Furusato Matsuri happens in the second week of January within Tokyo Dome, so you can just imagine its scale. Visitors can try local cuisine from all over Japan, and preview different cultural customs at this exciting event. There are also special performances and activities that you can take part in! Part of the profits also go towards supporting the disaster areas of Tohoku and Kyushu, so you’re basically eating for a good cause!

5. Sake Spring, Kyoto

japanese food festivals - fsake spring kyoto
Photo credit: sakeinternational.org
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Sake is one of, if not the most iconic drink in Japan. At this festival in Kyoto, you’ll get to try over 200 different types of sake! There are also food stalls, perfect for pairing with sake when you get the munchies. In addition to booze and grub, there are also movie showings, as well as music by local DJs. Sake Spring Kyoto is usually held in April, but it will be postponed to December this year.

6. Kyushu Beer Festival, Fukuoka

japanese food festivals - kyushu beer festival
Photo credit: yokonavi.com

If you prefer beer over sake, then the Kyushu Beer Festival will be right up your alley. Once a year during Spring, Japan’s most famous breweries gather for this event. Apart from a wide variety of craft beers, there is also usually lots of meat. Think sausages, yakitori, steaks and many more! Due to the virus, the event will take place this September instead.

7. Nabe Festival, Tokyo

japanese food festivals - nabe festival
Photo credit: tokyocheapo.com

November marks the start of winter, and what could be better than having hot pot during the cold? The Nabe Festival celebrates the winter season by inviting visitors to enjoy delicious hot pot with different vegetables and meats. Vendors from all over Japan will come to serve their own version of the hot pot dish, so make sure to stop by this if you plan to make a winter trip to Tokyo!

8. Mochitsuki, all over Japan

japanese food festivals - mochitsuki
Photo credit: re-discoveryjapan.net
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Every Lunar New Year, the Japanese people come together to welcome the new year with mochitsuki. Residents prepare and pound their own mochi, a specialty eaten at new year. Mochitsuki can take place within a household, at a shrine or a neighborhood. There are often other foods and entertainment too! If you’re celebrating Lunar New Year in Japan, make sure to get in on the mochitsuki festivities!

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