Nagasaki is overflowing with delicious food, to the extent that you will certainly find something to tempt you when you visit, not to mention things that will make you want to come here just so that you can taste them. With its bountiful natural environment, Nagasaki boasts many delicious foodstuffs from both the land and the sea, which are renowned across the entire country. There are also multiple layers of history and culture, which are reflected in the region’s cuisine as well. During Japan’s period of national isolation, Sakoku, a unique food culture was born out of the exchange between different cultures that was concentrated here, giving rise to numerous unique dishes.
Shippoku 卓袱 -The first Japanese fusion cuisine, a mixture of traditional Japanese, Chinese and Western dishes.-
This is a traditional, Nagasaki style of cuisine that entails a round table adorned with many dishes, overflowing with food that is shared by all diners. Using a wealth of ingredients from Nagasaki, Shippoku is an opportunity to taste the exquisite flavors of a cuisine that brings together elements of Chinese, Japanese and Western dishes. This style of eating and the recipes themselves developed during the Edo period as a result of the exchange which took place between Nagasaki and other countries. Nowadays Shippoku is usually enjoyed at establishments such as ryotei, traditional Japanese restaurants.
Did you Know? Dining and Geisha Culture in Nagasaki.
The people of Nagasaki can enjoy fine cuisine in the company of traditional Geisha from the Nagasaki Kenban, at some of the top Japanese food and Shippoku Restaurants in the prefecture. The Nagasaki Kenban is a group of traditional Geisha (or ‘Geiko’ as they are called here), known as first-class entertainers and artists, skilled in singing, dancing, conversation and traditional Japanese instruments such as the shamisen and the koto, which they use to play historic songs of Nagasaki. Nagasaki was home to one of the most famous Geisha quarters in Japan, and during the era of national isolation, the Geishas acted almost as informal diplomats, as they were the only women allowed into Dejima. It was their conduct which was introduced to the West as the embodiment of Japanese culture, and in return, the Geishas of Nagasaki were the first people to experience outside cultures at that time. These ‘memoirs of a Geisha’ in Nagasaki became the inspiration for artistic works such as the opera ‘Madame Butterfly’ as well as for a recent Japanese film “Nagasaki Bura Bura Bushi” . The number of Geisha in Nagasaki is currently declining, but they are still prominent and popular for welcoming guests on special occasions. Furthermore, their performances form a part of Nagasaki City’s huge autumn festival, Okunchi. Recently, the Hana Festival has been held in the area of the former Geisha quarter, Maruyama, to recall the golden days of the Edo period.
Nagasaki is a Treasure-Chest of Seafood.
The coastline of Nagasaki is long and intricate, with remote islands, coves and bays. This coastline, along with the sea current, creates one of the best locations for fishing in Japan, resplendent with all the blessings of the ocean. The fish catch in Nagasaki is the second largest in Japan, with a wide variety of species available in each season and region, from Japanese horse mackerel, chub mackerel, and red sea bream, to grunt, squid and more. Whenever you visit, you will have the luxury of being able to eat the fresh, delicious fish of that particular season in a variety of menus including Sushi, Sashimi and Seafood Rice Bowls. This is something we are very proud of in Nagasaki.
Nagasaki Wagyu: The Greatest in Japan
Every five years, the National Japanese Beef Quality Competition, also referred to as the “Wagyu Olympics”, is held. The 10th such event was held in 2012 in Nagasaki, where Nagasaki Wagyu beef won the Prime Minister’s Award, earning recognition as the best Wagyu in Japan. The animals graze in mineral-rich pastures that are fed by the salty sea breeze, under the passionate dedication of the producers. This is evident in the high quality of the beef, which offers a superb balance between lean and marbled meat, allowing diners to get their fill of the beef’s intrinsically pleasant, savory taste. Nagasaki Wagyu is also characterized by its soft texture.
Castella is a sweet, moist sponge cake. Based on a recipe originally introduced by Portuguese missionaries in the mid-16 century, and then developed by the people of Nagasaki, it is now a popular souvenir of Nagasaki.
Momo Castella, a peach-shaped version of Castella, is another popular Nagasaki cake. It reflects the Chinese belief that peaches brings good luck. It is just one of a range of delicious Nagasaki sweets that combine the best of Japan, the West and China.
Oysters farmed in Nagasaki are well grown and feature full firm meat. When the season turns to fall and winter, you can enjoy delicious barbecued oysters at little huts along the coast, or oysters steamed over natural hot springs, as well as Oyster Festivals.
At the mention of Nagasaki, many people immediately think of Champon. This dish is loved not only by tourists, but by the locals as well. The story of the origin of Champon is that, during the Meiji period, a local Chinese restaurant made the dish with the aim of providing students from China with a filling and nutritious meal. “Toaku”, an ingredient unique to Nagasaki, is used in the noodles to give them a springy texture. This delicious dish also includes fried vegetables and seafood, brought together with the noodles in a rich soup. Sara Udon is another famous dish representative of Nagasaki; one can choose either crispy, thin noodles or thick Champon noodles.
The Sasebo Burger made its debut in around 1950, by way of American Navy Forces stationed in Sasebo. These handmade burgers are characterized by the meticulous care taken by each store and by their rather filling portion size. Enjoy a taste of Sasebo made especially for you.
Toruko Rice, a famous Western-inspired dish from Nagasaki City, pilaf rice and spaghetti are piled onto a plate along with a pork cutlet generously covered in sauce. Different shops use different ingredients and toppings, creating many different varieties.
Appropriately for a dish that was originally served to feudal lords returning victorious from battle, the brilliant colors of Omura Sushi make this local dish look as good as it tastes. Layers of sweet vinegared rice alternate with slices of fish and finely chopped vegetables.
Chewy, shiny-textured noodles, which slip smoothly down your throat. and have a chewy and shiny texture.
Goto Tenobe Udon (hand-stretched udon) is one of the three most famous types of udon noodles in Japan, alongside Sanuki Udon in Kagawa Prefecture and Inaniwa Udon in Akita Prefecture. During the Goto noodle-making process, the noodles are stretched while camellia oil, also produced in Goto, is added. The stretched noodles are then dried in Goto’s perfect climate, as the island sea breeze wafts by.
This is a local dish from the Shimabara region, made with mochi rice cakes and over 10 kinds of ingredients gathered from the local sea and mountains, with a wholesome flavor brought out by the combination of the light soup and pleasantly savory ingredients.
Japanese liquor: Sake & Shochu
Several Sake breweries in Nagasaki Prefecture offer brewery tours and Sake-tasting. U Many sake breweries in Nagasaki Prefecture offer brewery tours and Sake tasting.Perhaps the most famous type of Sake in Nagasaki is 'Nagasaki Junmai Ginjo Sake'. Made from special Koji rice, this sake earns its rare, premium status by adding a secret type of yeast during the fermentation process.
Iki is the birthplace of barley shochu. Using shochu-making methods originally brought over from China, distillers on Iki developed their own distinctive barley liquor. In 1995, Iki Shochu was awarded a ‘geographical indication’ by the World Trade Organization, earning it a place among the world’s top liquors. There are currently 7 breweries on the island, offering factory tours and shochu tasting.
Did you Know?
Nagasaki Prefecture, with its long history of international exchange, was introduced to a wide variety of culture from abroad, including foreign food and cuisine. Dishes introduced first to Nagasaki later spread all over Japan.
Dining in Nagasaki City!
The data in this brochures is based upon information as of Feb.8, 2013.
The information is subject to change without notice.
Please contact each restaurant for details and further information.