How to enjoy freshly-harvested vegetables
The vast land of Eastern Hokkaido is a major agricultural belt. Here, many farms and ranches operate "farm restaurants", offering dishes bursting with the colors and flavors of the freshest local produce. The Tokachigawa-Obihiro-Shikaribetsu region and Furano-Biei region have particularly abundant field farming industries. Be sure to try local cuisine featuring these beautiful vegetables.
The charm of farm restaurants is experiencing vegetables at their peak of seasonality and freshness, prepared by the very people who painstakingly nurture the fields. And what sauce could be more appetizing than the fresh country air and tranquil rural landscape? Among the fields of Nakasatsunai Village, at Farm Restaurant Nojima Sanchi (“Nojima Family’s House”), just as the name suggests, dishes are based around cabbage harvested at Nojima Farm, complimented with other local and regional ingredients. The warm, wood-grained restaurant windows peer over views of the majestic Hidaka mountains.
In Kamifurano Town, the wife of a farm owner runs Farm Restaurant Azemichi Yorimichi. The menu is based on a simple concept: “Faith in our ingredients.” The labor of love to raise these vegetables is evident in the heartwarming flavor of each dish. We would particularly recommend the pot-au-feu, available in limited quantities only. Relax and enjoy these down-to-earth delicacies over breathtaking views of the Tokachi Mountains.
Restaurant Home is located amidst central Obihiro City, and the menu’s generous use of local brand-name ingredients, such as Tokachi Mushrooms, Tokachi Toramame Beans, and Shihoro Beef has earned many loyal repeat customers. A particular favorite is the “Tokachi Beef Stew”, which draws visitors from far and wide. Savor carefully selected Tokachi produce amidst an old-fashioned western-style restaurant ambiance. No trip is complete without moments of luxury such as these.
The township of Biei is famed as Hokkaido’s “town of hills”. The rolling countryside is a patchwork of abundant fields, and here, Restaurant Asperges transforms these crops into vibrant dishes. Asperges is the brainchild of Hiroshi Nakamichi, one of Hokkaido’s foremost French chefs. Each day, Chef Kazunori Kato personally heads into the fields to select vegetables and decide the day’s menu. From spring to just before the winter freeze, visitors will be spellbound by the artistic presentation of Biei’s finest seasonal vegetables.
One particularly interesting example of vegetable cuisine is Aardappel, in the township of Kamifurano. Directly operated by the beloved potato chip manufacturer Calbee Potato, Aardappel offers a number of innovative ways to savor potatoes, such as “Potato Pizza”. Easily accessible during a drive among the flower fields of the Furano-Biei area.
The municipality of Kitami (Saroma-Kitami-Onneyu-Abashiri Area) boasts the largest onion harvests of any region in Japan. Kitami onions are also used in the region's local dish ""Okhotsk Kitami Shio Yakisoba"". When you visit Kitami, keep an eye out for new ways to enjoy onions.
And while this is a cereal, not a vegetable, Eastern Hokkaido is renowned for buckwheat. Be sure to try some fresh, handmade soba (buckwheat noodles) in Shintoku Town (Tokachigawa-Obihiro-Shikaribetsu Area) or Teshikaga Town (Mashu-Kawayu-Akan Area).
Genghis Kahn is a true Hokkaido soul food. The soy-based sauce includes vegetables and fruit, drawing out the deliciousness of lamb and highlighting the unique character of each restaurant. Genghis Kahn has even been selected as a Hokkaido heritage. An absolute must-try.
Eastern Hokkaido is home to a thriving livestock industry. Each region is known for unique brand meats, with stock raised on bountiful fields surrounded by the splendors of nature. In particular, two towns are particularly renowned as paradises for yakiniku (barbecue) lovers. How about sampling these succulent meat dishes as you travel through Eastern Hokkaido?
Food culture throughout Hokkaido is often represented by the unique local ramen of each region. Eastern Hokkaido is renowned for two historical styles of ramen, “Asahikawa Ramen” and “Kushiro Ramen”. Don’t miss newcomers such as the dried scallop-topped “Hoshi Kaibashira Shio Ramen” found along the Okhotsk Sea coastal region.