The Attraction of Northern Hokkaido



Bounty given by the sea.
Blessings from the land.
Foods grown with great care.
A treasure trove of foods,
amazes travelers,
with its wonderful flavors.
The wonderful flavors of the season,
make travelers want to visit northern Hokkaido,
again in different seasons.

Hair Crab

Wonderful and prized New-Season Hair Crabs.

The best known crab in Hokkaido is most likely the Hair Crab. Hair Crabs caught in the Okhotsk Sea have established a reputation of quality, and especially those from Esashi Town are well known by name. It is often said that if you really want to taste how deli-cious Hair Crabs can be, then the best time is when the ice has drifted away. This is when the Hair Crabs which have been feeding on the plankton under the ice, called "New-Season Hair Crabs", emerge. The rich flavor of the brown crab-meat is condensed and its texture firmed by the cold, making it a rare food of the highest quality.

Suffolk Sheep

Rich flavored Hokkaido Suffolk Lamb.

Seeing sheep grazing in the green pastures of Yagishiri Island will make you think you’re in Scotland. Suffolk lamb raised here is sold under the brand “ Pré-salé Yagishiri”. “Pré-salé” is French for "Salt Field" and is the highest quality lamb meat in France. The meat can be sampled at the Yagishiri Sheep Festival held in early July. Suffolk sheep are also raised in Shibetsu City, with the regional brand of sheep meat being "Shibetsu Suffolk Lamb" which is prepared into original dishes in restaurants across the city.

Baked Okhotsk Atka mackerel

The quintessential Hokkaido baked fish dish.

Baked Okhotsk Atka mackerel is a classic Hokkaido pub-food. The Okhotsk Atka mackerel which migrate through the seas to the north are caught all year round, with May to July and November yielding the biggest catches. In particular, the mackerel which feed a lot at the start of summer have a high oil content and are split open and baked. You can taste the fragrant Okhotsk Atka mackerel in all areas, particularly in Wakkanai City which sees Japan's largest hauls of the fish. The mackerel do tend to lose their freshness rather quick-ly, but if you arrive at the right time for freshly caught Okhotsk Atka mackerel, it can even be cut into thin slices and eaten raw as Sashimi.

Sunagawa Sweet Road

A great spot to enjoy a variety of different sweets.

Hokkaido is rich with ingredients for making confectionary, such as fresh milk and fruits. While there are many confectionary stores in northern Hokkaido, the Sweet Road with its 18 stores located on Route 12 in Sunagawa City is too good a place to miss for those with a sweet tooth. There are many kinds of confectioners and cafes offering a variety of both western and Japanese style sweets, such as "Nakaya" whose fresh-baked apple pies are famous across Japan. Why not take a drive down and find something you like?