Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost island and is renowned for its delicious fish and seafood. Here at Japan Centre, we’re delighted to be hosting a series of Hokkaido seafood dining events at our Ichiba store in Westfield Shepherd’s Bush. Running from Monday 5th November to Thursday 8th November 2018 and hosted by renowned Japanese chef Keiichi Nukita, this is your chance to sample sublime Hokkaido cuisine right here in London!
To get you in the mood for your authentic Hokkaido meal, let’s take a closer look at this spectacular region of Japan.
Where is Hokkaido?
First-time visitors to Japan often head to big cities such as Tokyo and Kyoto, but Hokkaido has so much to offer that it’s definitely worth straying off the beaten track for, especially if you enjoy visiting less touristy destinations. Situated in the north of Japan, Hokkaido is a popular region for those who prefer a cooler climate during Japan’s humid summers, whilst winter is the perfect time to enjoy pursuits such as skiing and snowboarding.
Hokkaido is easily reached by shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo in just over four hours. You’ll arrive in Hakodate, where you can take another train up to Sapporo, Hokkaido’s capital city. The JR Rail Pass is an affordable and hassle-free option for rail travel to Hokkaido. This handy pass can be purchased before you leave the UK, allowing you unlimited train travel for between one to three weeks.
If time is of the essence and you want to head directly to Sapporo, then a plane ride is the speedier option. You should be able to bag yourself a low-cost flight from Tokyo from one of the numerous budget airlines.
Jam-packed full of attractions for all ages, Sapporo is a must-see for those visiting Hokkaido for the first time. Take a cable car up Mt. Moiwa for spectacular aerial views, stroll through the picturesque Odori Park or stop by the atmospheric Hokkaido Shrine. The annual Sapporo Snow Festival is a hugely popular winter event where you’ll get to gaze in awe at giant snow and ice sculptures accompanied by music and light displays.
The city is also well-known for Sapporo Beer, brewed here since 1877 and one of Japan’s most popular beer brands. A tour of the Sapporo Beer Museum will introduce you to the history of beer and the brewing process, plus you can enjoy some beer tastings too. The Sapporo Beer Garden next door is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat and indulge in a few more beers. You’ll get the chance to sample this tasty brew for yourself at Ichiba’s Hokkaido Chef’s Table experience.
Hokkaido has many more interesting areas to experience aside from Sapporo, and there really is something for everyone. Ski resorts such as Niseko and Kiroro are magnets for those who want to take part in wintery sports pursuits, whilst those visiting in summer may want to enjoy the mild climate offered by the lavender and flower fields of Furano. Hokkaido also houses several hot spring resorts, such as Noboribetsu Onsen and Jozankei Onsen, where you can stay in a traditional ryokan (Japanese inn) and enjoy naked bathing in steamy hot springs – an experience not to be missed!
Due to its proximity to the sea, Hokkaido’s seafood is renowned for its quality, variety and freshness. A trip to Hokkaido can be something of a seafood odyssey, and you’ll get to sample a huge array of sushi, sashimi, crab, sea urchins and other seafood delights.
During your Ichiba menu tasting, you’ll be treated to a delicious meal using authentic ingredients from the region. On the menu are scallops with grass-fed butter and rice, miso soup with Hokkaido kelp and Japanese style vegetable pot-au-feu. This nutrient-rich meal will be prepared by renowned chef Keiichi Nukita, to bring you a dining experience like no other.
What’s on the Menu?
Hokkaido Chef’s Table – Hokkaido tasting menu introduced by renowned chef Keiichi Nukita.
Dates: Monday 5th November – Thursday 8th November 2018
Venue: Ichiba, Westfield Shopping Centre, Shepherds Bush
Time: 19:00 to 20:00
① Scallops with Grass Fed Butter with rice
② Miso soup with Hokkaido kelp
③ Japanese style vegetable pot-au-feu
④ Sapporo Beer
Book here, but be quick as spaces are limited to be sure to book early to avoid disappointment.
If you fancy making some authentic Hokkaido dishes at home, then the Japan Centre recipe section has many ideas to tempt you including this Sapporo style soup curry and Hokkaido Ice cocktail, blending sake with other liqueurs – both perfect for the winter season. Products from Hokkaido are also available to purchase in-store and online.
Snow festival by Tony Lin via Flickr Creative Commons
Furano lavender fields by Alex Aw via Flickr Creative Commons
Noboribetsu by Kentaro Ohno via Flickr Creative Commons
Skiing in Hokkaido by Robert Thomson via Flickr Creative Commons
Sapporo Beer Museum by Alessandro Grussu Via Flickr Creative Commons
Hakodate fish market by Joanne Wan via Flickr Creative Commons