Japanese Culture and Food: Aomori

In our last blog, we looked at Japan’s northernmost prefecture, Hokkaido, but in this blog, we’re travelling slightly down south to Aomori to discover the culture and food that awaits any eager travellers looking to experience this side of Japan. There is plenty of Japan left for us to explore, so keep reading to learn more about the bountiful land of Aomori.

Aomori

As you can see, Aomori and Hokkaido are, geographically, quite close, but Aomori has a lot of character and unique style that has informed tourist trips and the kinds of experiences they can hope to enjoy there. Aomori has a large coastline with tall mountains in the centre, meaning that if you were to visit this prefecture, you could be lost in the mountains or enjoying the beach; Aomori has it all.

Japan administrative map. Regions and prefectures. Vector illustration

Like Hokkaido, Aomori is one of the northernmost prefectures and therefore experiences a similar climate, enjoying heavy snows and brisk spring temperatures, with comfortable summers and productive falls. The name Aomori translates to the blue-green forest, combining the words for blue or green, aoi, with forest, mori, but it has only held this name since the 17th century.

In the early 16th Century, the eastern and western sides of Aomori were at war with one another for almost a hundred years, and tensions remained high for decades after the war eventually concluded. It wasn’t until the late 19th Century that the east and west came together and celebrated themselves as the Aomori prefecture, one at last. This history influences the Nebuta Matsuri, Hachinobe Sansha Taisai Matsuri and Goshogawara Tachineputa Matsuri, which are three amazing festivals all held here in August. All three festivals make use of fearsome floats and brilliant costuming which brings in hoards of tourists every year.

Being a northern mountainous prefecture, Aomori has as many as eight different ski resorts and plenty of hot spring resorts, with one of Japan’s oldest and most famed existing right here at the base of the Hakkoda mountains. The Sukayo Onsen has been in business for over three centuries and is known for its healing properties, as well as its beautiful surroundings.

 

Food from Aomori

Aomori is most famed for being Japan’s primary producer of apples, but like Hokkaido, it’s also well known for its sake and seafood. Having such a huge coastline, you can expect a lot of fish here:

Ōma Maguro

Literally ‘Ōma Tuna’, this refers to tuna dishes sourced from Aomori’s Ōma port which is famous for its tuna. Eating Ōma tuna fresh in Aomori is the best way to enjoy an extremely fresh tuna dish with a low carbon footprint and subtle tastes that you won’t get elsewhere in Japan. If you’re in Ōma, this is your chance to try some of the best tuna in the world.

bluefin tuna ouma maguro

Senbei Jiru

This is a rice cracker soup from the Hachinohe area of Aomori. The senbei, rice crackers, soak up a soy, miso, or salt-flavoured soup with meaty stock to create a flavourful and textured meal. In winter, extra elements are added to make the dish more substantial, such as fish, pork and chicken.

 

Beautiful Apples

Aomori produces over 50% of the apple market in Japan and has recently been used in Japanese cider brewing –alcohol which has only recently seen popularity in Japan and is still slowly gaining traction. Aomori apples are used to create a variety of tasty dishes and puddings including giant apple pies which are sold at Hirosaki Sakura Festivals and come to an impressive 6.5 feet in size.

Tourists and visitors can attend an apple market and apple sorting tours to learn about the importance of the apples to Aomori, and the effort that goes into making them so tasty. The apple is so important to Aomori, that some hot springs even suggest bathing with the apples to recoup health benefits.

At our Japanese restaurant, you can find apples on our drinks menus, such as our fabulously sweet non-alcoholic cocktail, Green Dragon, which combines apple juice, lychee juice, aloe, lemon, and elderflower.

Apple cider vinegar in glass bottle and basket with fresh apples

You can expect a taste of Japan from the UK in either our sushi bar in Manchester or our sushi bar in Liverpool. We not only offer authentic Japanese cuisine from highly trained sushi chefs; we offer a unique experience as we cook to impress in front of a live audience. If you’re hoping to venture to the land of the rising sun soon, why not test some of our food before you go?