As we’re celebrating the annual food festival with splendid, limited edition items from Chugoku, we thought we’d cast our eye over this amazing and multifaceted region in Japan. Join the travel lovers at Japan Centre and be wowed by Chugoku…
With rolling sand dunes, soaring mountains, vast lakes and vivacious cities, Chugoku is a varied and colourful region that should be firmly on the list for any travelers with their sights set on Japan. It encompasses the prefectures of Hiroshima, Okayama, Shimane, Tottori and Yamaguchi. Let’s look at some highlights of each.
In our humble opinion the star of the region. Hiroshima is without doubt a scarred city, evident from the remains left by the devastation in the wake of the nuclear bomb. Yet it’s also hugely likable, criss crossed by rivers, with fantastic food, a cracking nightlife and friendly and humorous citizens. It’s the biggest city in Chugoku, but travelers can find enchanting gems beyond the city too.
Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is the stuff dreams are made of – greasy, delicious, fried, great-with-a-beer kind of dreams. Distinct from Osaka style in that it is cooked in layers with extra egg and yakisoba noodles, there are dozens of cheap and cheerful places where the expert staff will fry this up for you right in front of your own grill. If you adore mouthwatering okonomiyaki as much as we do, try our online recipes. Let us know whether you prefer Osaka or Hiroshima style – the ultimate toss up.
If you’re interested in getting your hands on real local Hiroshima specialities, make the most of our Chugoku food festival at Japan Centre. Included is Suishin Junmai Ginjo Sake – a top notch sake, as well as unique oyster flavoured nori and white miso.
The least populous region in all Japan, this is a friendly, laid back kinda place with tempting beaches along its northern coastline. The indisputable highlights of this endearing prefecture are the great sand-dunes, by far the largest in all Japan. Travellers come from far and wide to frolick, ride camels, sandboard and do all sorts of other weird and wonderful activities – all in the name of sand.
The Wild West of Chugoku, Yamaguchi spreads from Hiroshima in the East all the way to the tip of Western Honshu, where the island of Kyushu is just a hair’s breadth away. Whilst there are no mega cities, it is home to beautiful castle towns, quiet shrines and remarkable structures.
Yamaguchi is also known as the place in Japan to get fugu – pufferfish. This infamous dish can be fatal if prepared incorrectly, but the top chefs in Yamaguchi know exactly how to prepare these “river piglets” perfectly, meaning diners can taste this delicacy without having to worry about kicking the fishy bucket shortly after. This chef could do with a few lessons from them we reckon:
The Shimane tourist board describe this prefecture as “the hidden soul of Japan”, which is certainly apt. The prefecture boasts gorgeous islands and spiritual sites – it’s the kind of place you need to dig away at to reveal the priceless potential inside.
For those willing to hop off the bullet train at Okayama, rewards abound including one of Japan’s finest parks and castles.
As you can see, Chugoku is a region rich in beautiful sites and experiences, and we’ve barely scratched the surface. But if you can’t make it here anytime soon, at least you can dine on the regional variations and experience Chugoku through its remarkable cuisine as part of the Japan Annual Food Fair. Check out our Chugoku range online or at Japan Centre Piccadilly and connect with Chugoku.
Japan Centre – Japanese Food Hall Since 1976