Photo:Eiji kodaka on Flickr

Okinawa Cuisine VS Hokkaido Cuisine

When we talk about Japanese cuisine, first of all we think about sushi and ramen. Uniquely, every prefecture in Japan has its own specialty. In this article, I want to introduce the food of the most southern and the most northern islands in Japan. The most southern island in Japan is Okinawa, while the most northern island in Japan is Hokkaido. Let's start with the south!

Okinawa Cuisine

Photo : pelican on Flickr

Due to Okinawa’s history, Okinawa food differs significantly from the more traditional Japanese dishes. Okinawa cuisine was influenced by South East Asia, United States, and China. Okinawa’s climate is also a little bit different from mainland Japan's climate. It has an effect on Okinawa’s agriculture and people's tastes.

Taco Rice


This dish consists of taco-flavored ground beef served on a bed of rice. It commonly topped with shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa. It is said that taco rice was created in 1984, and it represents American food in Okinawa. The most famous taco rice restaurant in Okinawa is King Tacos, which is located in Kin, Okinawa. You can enjoy this taco rice for 600 yen.


Most Japanese people think that “Champuru” is Okinawan language, but the origin of that word is from Indonesia. It comes from the Indonesian word “Campur”, which means mix or stir-fry. There are many types of Champuru in Okinawa such as Goya (bitter melon) Champuru, Tofu Champuru, Fu Champuru, and Somen Champuru.

Goya Champuru

Photo : Wikipedia Commons

It consists of goya (bitter melon), egg, tofu, and thinly sliced pork.

Tofu Champuru

Photo : Hajime NAKANO on Flickr

It consists of stir-fried tofu with vegetables and sliced pork, or canned tuna. Okinawa’s tofu is firm and it will not fall apart when stir-fried. It is a little bit different from tofu found in mainland Japan.

Fu Champuru

Photo : pelican on Flickr

It consists of flatbread (made from wheat bran, water, and eggs), vegetables, and sliced pork.

Somen Champuru

It consists of somen (very thin noodles), vegetables, and sliced pork.

Okinawa Soba

Photo : Yuichi Sakuraba on Flickr

Okinawa Soba is also different from the soba in mainland Japan. Okinawa Soba is made of wheat rather buckwheat flour, and noodles are thicker than common soba. Similar to ramen, Okinawa Soba are served in a bowl of broth with some toppings such as soft boiled pork, green onions, fish cake, and red ginger.

Hokkaido Cuisine


Hokkaido cuisine is one of the northern island’s biggest attractions. Hokkaido is also called “Kingdom of Seafood”, because you can find the freshest sushi, crab, and the other seafood.


Photo : Sara on Flickr

This is the first reason why many tourists from all over the country come to Hokkaido. You can enjoy the freshest seafood such as crab, sea urchins, salmon, herring, salmon roe, cod, squid, octopus, abalone, shrimp, etc. The most amazing one is the crab. Depending on the season, you will be able to enjoy Queen crab, Horsehair crab, and Blue king crab. I recommend you to try “Donburimeshi” (a bowl of rice topped with sea urchins, salmon roe, or scallops).

Genghis Khan

Photo : bryan... on Flickr

This is a Japanese grilled mutton dish with cooked vegetables, which is prepared on a metal grill. It is named after the man who founded the Mongol Empire. The mutton is usually dipped in shoyu (Japanese soy sauce).

Ishikari Nabe

Photo : sierravalleygirl on Flickr

It is a Japanese version of salmon soup, which is served in a hot pot. The soup is miso based, with many types of vegetables in it. This hot pot style is the best for Hokkaido people due to the cold weather there. The most important ingredients are salmon and tofu, which provides protein that can keep warmer even longer.

Rui Be

This is a dish from Ainu people of northern Japan. It consists of salmon that get frozen outdoors, and then is served with soy sauce and water peppers.

Ika Somen

Photo : Wikipedia Commons

“Ika” means squid, and “somen” means thin noodles. It is a type of sashimi, which is made from raw squid cut into fine strips, served with grated ginger and soy sauce.

I can say that both Okinawa and Hokkaido dishes are really delicious. If you are a seafood lover, I really recommend you to visit Hokkaido and try the best seafood there. If you love beach and tacos, I recommend you to visit Okinawa. I really love both Okinawa and Hokkaido too.

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