All About Japan

The 4 Most Awesome Burgers North of Tokyo

| Restaurants , Burgers

Japan is known for improving on imported ideas, be it cars, electronic goods—or even hamburgers! Unique burgers have evolved all over Japan, and you may even find a few that set new standards for burger innovation. Head north of Tokyo to try a few of these concoctions for yourself, featuring everything from yakisoba to jumbo scallops!

4. Saburger (Aomori)

The Saburger is a portmanteau of "saba" (mackerel) and "burger," pronounced "Sabaagaa" in Japanese. The chewy bun is made using ground rice, and sandwiches slices of fresh tomato and lettuce along with a slab of fried mackerel caught off the coast of Hachinohe City in Aomori.

This burger was developed though a collaboration between students at Hachinohe University and local restaurant Hachinohe Saba-no-eki, where Saba-no-eki means "mackerel station," giving a clear indication of the restaurant's specialty.

3. Ashikaga Original Yakisoba & Potato Burger (Tochigi)

Yakisoba (fried noodles) with potatoes is a representative local dish of Ashikaga City, Tochigi Prefecture. This burger sees it placed between delicious bagels made with local flour and yeast from the region's famous Tochiotome strawberries.

The Ashikaga Original Yakisoba and Potato Burger took the top prize at the Ashikaga Gourmet Grand Prix in both 2010 and 2011. You can get one at Kobara Bagel in Ashikaga City, a 20-minute walk from Ashikaga Station on the Ryomo Line.

- www.yoshikoshi.co.jp (Japanese)

2. Mito Char Siu Burger (Ibaraki)

This burger took third place at the 2012 Tottori Burger Festa, which aims to select the best burger in Japan, as well winning a number of local and regional awards. The burger features an original English-muffin-style bun that sandwiches a slice of fresh tomato, lettuce and a crazy-thick slab of char siu (Chinese-style barbecued pork) made of 100 percent Rose Pork, an Ibaraki specialty brand.

You can get one of these pork-heavy burgers at Yume-Roman in Mito, which is about a 10-minute walk from Akatsuka Station on the Joban Line.

- www.chasyuburger.com (Japanese)

1. Betsukai Jumbo Scallop Burger (Hokkaido)

Betsukai is a town located at the northeastern corner of Hokkaido, known as Japan's top producer of milk, as well as producing scallops from its fern-shaped Notsuke Peninsula. In one bite of a Betsukai Jumbo Scallop Burger, you can savor the harmony of a jumbo scallop (hotate) prepared in a spring roll along with fresh vegetables and a special bun made using prized local milk.

This burger won first place at the first three Shin-Gotouchi Gourmet Grand Prix Hokkaido from 2010 to 2012, as well as topping the Tottori Burger Festa in 2011 and 2012. You can get a Betsukai Jumbo Scallop Burger at a number of eateries in Betsukai, including Futaba, Betsukai Kourakuen and Pork Chap-no-Mise Roman.

- betsukai-kanko.jp (Japanese)