Japanese Culture and Food: Miyagi

As we continue our journey south through Japan’s many prefectures, our next stop is in the Miyagi prefecture. Miyagi is where you’ll find a plethora of kokeshi dolls, Onsen, and a glimpse of the Showa period in Iroha Yokocho. Learn more about Miyagi’s food and culture with us here.

miyagi onsen spa

Miyagi Culture

Just south of the last prefecture spotlight, Iwatev, Miyagi was also struck hard by the 2011 tsunami. Miyagi lost over eleven thousand lives to the disaster. Despite this devastating day, Miyagi’s story has since been one of rebirth and building.

Miyagi is a beautiful prefecture to visit, with no less than 23% of its land being part of the Rikuchu Kaigan National Park, and the farming and sake production also results in a lot of beautifully maintained land. Fishing is also incredibly important in Miyagi; no less than 23% of Japan’s oysters are farmed in Miyagi, but it also contributes 15.9% of the nation’s saury fish.

Miyagi also has a plethora of highly esteemed colleges and universities. As part of the Tohoku region, Miyagi is the proud host of ‘Tohoku University’, ‘Tohoku Institute of Technology’ and ‘Tohoku Pharmaceutical University’.

Miyagi has a lot of exciting festivals throughout the year too, which you might want to consider attending if you were planning a trip to Japan. Early in the year, there is the May Aoba festival in spring, the Shiogama Port Festival in summer, the Narugo Kokeshi Festival in autumn and the Sendai Pageant of Starlight in December. Miyagi is an energetic prefecture dedicated to its thriving communities; its determination to keep its festivals alive is a message to its citizens about the importance of community, tradition, and celebration.

 Japan administrative map. Regions and prefectures. Vector illustration

Miyagi Food

Celebrations and festivities aren’t the only things that keep communities together; recipes and food are just as important when it comes to keeping people together. Without further ado, let’s consider which dishes make Miyagi stand out from the rest of Japan.

 

Matsushima Oysters

If you visit Matsushima between October and March, you absolutely must try their oysters. You’ll be able to find these oysters in most restaurants in Matsushima city where you can order oyster in a variety of fashions, whether you like it raw or fried.

When visiting during Japan’s autumn or winter, you’ll certainly find ‘kaki-don’ offered around Matsushima. This is a tasty dish with marinated oysters and steaming hot rice, but in the summer the oysters are swapped for eels – which are also very popular in this region.

Oysters on stone plate with ice and lemon

Fried Beef Tongue

Gyu-tan Yaki, fried beef tongue, is a speciality in Sendai’s Ichiban-cho area. It became popular following World War II, and while some Brits might feel a bit squeamish about the idea of eating a tongue, we assure you Miyagi’s fried beef tongue is exquisitely prepared. The ability to turn the less popular parts of an animal into a truly delectable dish is a highly prized skill and is something you should convince yourself to try if you find yourself in Sendai.

The beef tongue is typically fried in a restaurants personal secret blend of flavourings that could be salt, miso, or something else entirely. The beautifully fried beef is usually plated alongside servings of rice and barley, an oxtail soup and some pickled vegetables.

Gyutan yaki; grilled beef tongue (ox tongue), Japanese cuisine.

Kesennuma Shark Fin

The Kesennuma shark fin soup is one of the best in all Japan. Kesennuma city in Miyagi allegedly contributes to 90% of the county’s shark fin trade, making the Kesennuma blue shark famous.

The shark fin is a delicacy used in restaurants across Japan, but the fin isn’t the only part of the shark that is used. Making good use of animal resources is important, and so the other parts of the shark are typically used to create supplements like liver oil, leather, and even fish sausages.

shark fin soup

You won’t have to wait till you can travel to Miyagi to enjoy authentic Japanese food, you can visit our Japanese restaurant in Manchester or our Japanese restaurant in Liverpool for a quick bite to eat or an extravagant dinner – it’s your choice. We also offer teppanyaki, which is perfect for parties – be amazed as our talented chefs whip up an amazing meal with the flair and creativity of an artist, but the flavourings of a master chef.

We look forward to seeing you at our restaurant soon!