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Nara Local Cuisine

All of Nara Prefecture


Local cuisine rich in imagination and creativity produced by Japan’s first capital.

Nara was the first capital city in Japan. Because of this, the best produce from all over Japan was sent here and everyone from aristocrats to commoners enjoyed a rich diet. Many food specialists tout Nara as the origin of true Japanese food, and there are a number of dishes that are well-known among the Japanese, but almost unknown overseas, such as nyumen, mehari sushi, narazuke, and kaki no ha sushi. Because Nara is surrounded by mountains, the food has interesting features such as fermented foods and fish with vinegar, as well as Buddhist vegetarian cuisine developed from the religious groups in the area.

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Once you try out narazuke, the Nara pickles, you can’t stop eating them.

The most famous local cuisine from Nara is narazuke, types of pickled dishes. Gourd, cucumber, watermelon, ginger, etc., are repeatedly pickled in new sake lees, and sweetness is added with mirin vinegar, and pickled for up to two years. Narazuke was first created over 1,300 years ago being a luxury ingredient at the time, but is now an indispensable dish on every table in Nara. Although it takes some getting used to, once you develop a taste for it, you’ll always crave narazuke. Lately, even some cakes have used narazuke. The sweetness and saltiness are a perfectly balanced combination.
Mori Narazuke Store is a veteran shop in front of Tōdai-ji Temple that opened its doors in 1869. In addition to cucumber, watermelon and other types of pickled melon, they also offer Japanese plum, daikon, and other unique pickles on sale.

  • Nara Local Cuisine's photo
  • Nara Local Cuisine's photo
  • Nara Local Cuisine's photo

Nyumen, the special dish created by Miwa Somen.

Somen noodles came to Japan from China in the Nara period. Generally, once boiled, the noodles are then cooled in water and dipped in cold soup and eaten. However, Nara nyumen are eaten in warm soup. The foothills of Mt. Miwa, located in the southern part of Nara are called the “hometown of somen noodles”, and the Miwa Somen made here are known as the famous dish of Nara. Warm somen noodles have a gentle flavor, representing the leisurely pace of life in this part of the country.

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Enjoy the flavor of the seasons in the local cuisine - kaki no hazushi in the summer and Day-of-the Boar mochi in autumn.

During the summer festival in July, a special treat is kaki no hazushi. Salted mackerel pickled in sweet vinegar is used as a sushi topping and then wrapped in persimmon leaves which kill bacteria. It is an easy meal to take along with you, won’t dirty your hands, and is often taken along as a lunch while strolling through Nara. Day-of-the-Boar mochi is a Japanese sweet made in November from newly harvested glutinous rice. The rice is pounded and mixed with taro, and the mochi is then wrapped around sweet bean paste. It gets its name from the appearance of a young boar’s hair in the grill marks. Both of these dishes are seasonal treats. If you see one of these seasonal dishes, be sure to try them! Close to Tōdai-ji Temple is the famous Izasa, known across the country for its kaki no hazushi. Be sure to have a meal of kaki no hazushi or Miwa Nyumen while gazing out on Tōdai-ji Temple.

  • Nara Local Cuisine's photo

For reference

Mori Narazuke Ten

  • Address
    23 Kasuganocho, Nara-shi, Nara-ken
  • Telephone
    0742-26-2063
  • Open
    9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
  • Closed
    Differs depending on the season
  • Price
    From 1000 yen
  • Access
    Kansai International Airport is a 1 hour, 45 minute flight from New Chitose Airport.
    Kansai International Airport is a 1 hour flight from Haneda Airport.
    Kansai International Airport is a 1 hour, 20 minute flight from Narita Airport.
    Kansai International Airport is a 1 hour, 15 minute flight from Fukuoka Airport.
    Kansai International Airport is a 2 hour, 20 minute flight from Naha Airport.
    Take the shuttle bus from Kansai International Airport to Kintetsunara Station (approx.1 hr. 25 min). Or take the Nankai Electric Railway from Kansai International Airport via Kintetsu Namba Station to Kintetsunara Station (1 hr. 30 min.).

Kaki no Hazushi Izasa - Todai-ji Temple Restaurant

  • Address
    16 Kasuganocho, Nara-shi, Nara-ken
  • Telephone
    0742-94-7133
  • Hours
    11:00 A.M to 8:00 P.M. (Last order at 7:00 P.M.)
  • Closed
    Vary with the seasons
  • Price
    From 1000 yen
  • Access
    Kansai International Airport is a 1 hour, 45 minute flight from New Chitose Airport.
    Kansai International Airport is a 1 hour flight from Haneda Airport.
    Kansai International Airport is a 1 hour, 20 minute flight from Narita Airport.
    Kansai International Airport is a 1 hour, 15 minute flight from Fukuoka Airport.
    Kansai International Airport is a 2 hour, 20 minute flight from Naha Airport.
    Take the shuttle bus from Kansai International Airport to Kintetsunara Station (approx.1 hr. 25 min).
    Or take the Nankai Electric Railway from Kansai International Airport via Kintetsu Namba Station to Kintetsunara Station (1 hr. 30 min.).
    The restaurant is a 15 minute walk from the station.

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