Food Journalist Hants Endo’s Serious Selection of Local Delicacies: Akita City Edition

A snapshot of Akita's local cuisine by food journalist Hants Endo

Hello! I’m food journalist Hants Endo.

I travel to various parts of Japan every year for work. In over two decades, I have visited more than 10,000 eateries. With an abundance of fantastic dining options in various regions nowadays, I often hear people say they don’t know where to go when they travel or work.

Hants Endo’s Serious Local Gourmet. The eighth installment is Akita City in Akita Prefecture!

Yunaya (Yuunaya)

Yunaya, the pioneer of farmer restaurants in Akita

There are dozens of “farmer restaurants” in Akita Prefecture, where farmers cook and serve their own or locally produced crops, and “Yunaya” is the first of its kind. Though in Akita City, it’s about a 40-minute drive by car. It’s a wooden building, renovated from a tobacco leaf farm, and started producing pesticide-free moroheiya noodles – which have gained popularity and led to the opening of the restaurant. The recommended dish is “Mother’s Choice Set” which includes moroheiya noodles (optional), seasonal dishes, tempura, rice, etc. The freshness and the quality of local vegetables are outstanding.

Address: 45 Maekai, Mukaino, Yuwa, Akita City, Akita Prefecture
Phone: 018-887-2866

Takara Sushi Branch (Takarazushi Bunteng)

Indulging in premium sushi at Takara Sushi Branch

It’s probably the hardest reservation to get in Akita Prefecture, so I hesitated, but it’s a must-mention. It’s a bring-your-own-booze establishment, offering a course meal that changes periodically. It might include sushi with sea urchin on squid, jack mackerel, salmon with roe, and a DIY negitoro gunkan maki, in addition to sashimi like sea bream or seared scallops, grilled fish, and more for about 3 hours. The quality is supreme, Yet, the price is reasonable at about 5,000 yen and very homey. It’s about 5 kilometers from Akita Station. If you’re lucky enough to have a chance to visit, don’t miss it.

Address: 3-5-7 Hirone, Terauchi, Akita City, Akita Prefecture
Phone: 018-863-2154

Yasuke Soba Akita General Headquarters (Yasukesoba Akitasouhonten)

Distinctive local soba at Yasuke Soba Akita General Headquarters

There are unique regional soba noodles across Japan. When it comes to soba mixed with the seaweed ‘funori’, Niigata’s ‘hegi soba’ is famous, but there’s also a version in Nishimonai, Akita. And this soba can be enjoyed right in front of Akita Station. The top pick here is the “Soba & Tempura Donburi Set”. Their signature cold soba noodles are thin but firm, with a pleasing clean cut and a subtly sweet aroma of buckwheat. The tempura donburi is reliably delicious. They also serve set meals, platters, and Akita’s local cuisine, such as iburigakko and hatahata, making it a perfect place to experience Akita’s flavors.

Address: 4-5 Akita Station Front Building 1F, Chuo Kubotamachi, Akita City, Akita Prefecture
Phone: 018-801-1212

Original Abe Restaurant Akita Store

Savoring the finest Parent and Child Donburi at Original Abe Restaurant

Hinai free-range chicken is one of the three most famous free-range chicken breeds in Japan, together with Nagoya Cochin and Satsuma chicken. It’s bred from a natural monument, male Hinai chicken, and a female Rhode Island chicken. Here, you can taste their Oyakodon (parent and child bowl). Upon lifting the lid, a waft of savory aroma greets you. The freshness, resulting from in-house butchering, and the texture are exceptional. The flavors of the eggs are also remarkable, making it a truly premium Oyakodon.

Address: 1-4-3 Nakadori Area Nakai Chi Commercial Facility 1F, Akita City, Akita Prefecture
Phone: 018-825-1180

Akita Gyugentei Station Front Main Store (Gyugentei)

Delicious meats at Akita Gyugentei Station Front Main Store

Inside this restaurant, which makes use of materials from a century-old sake brewery, there’s a fashionable yet nostalgic and calm atmosphere. They specialize in the finest Kuroge Wagyu beef known as Ugo beef, born from an agricultural cycle of tilling the land, planting rice, raising cows with rice straw, and fertilizing the fields with manure to grow rice. The meat offerings include a five-kind assortment of recommended Kuroge Wagyu beef, like Shinshin, Gainomi, Ichibo, Fillet, and Triangle, and are an absolute delight, along with pesticide-free wrapped vegetables and stone-cooked bibimbap.

Address: 2-6-44 Nakadori 2F, Akita City, Akita Prefecture
Phone: 018-893-3929

■ Profile
Hants Endo
Born in Tokyo in 1966 and a graduate of Waseda University. After leaving a job at a real estate company, he became a writer for international travel magazines and is now a food journalist & C-class hotel critic. He has visited over 10,000 dining establishments. His main serial publications include ‘Weekly Taishu’ and ‘Toyo Keizai Online’, and he has written 27 books including ‘The Secret Ramen Shops that Refuse Interviews’ (published by Kosaido Publishing).

This article was generated using automatic translation by GPT-4 API.
The translation may not be accurate.