All About Japan

5 Must-Try Foods in Hida Takayama

| Hida Takayama , Gifu

Hida Takayama is home to one of the best-preserved historic townscapes in Japan. But what most people don’t know is that it's also home to some seriously delicious food. To truly experience all this castle town has to offer, check out these five must-try foods!

5. Hida Soba

Hida soba is a local noodle dish made using traditional tools and fresh ingredients from the mountains. Hida Takayama’s remote location among the peaks of central Japan—with its cold temperatures and pure mountain water—means they produce top quality buckwheat noodles, also known as soba. The noodles are made with buckwheat flour that's ground by hand using a stone mill, and this gentle, loving approach produces noodles with exceptional flavor. Hida soba can be enjoyed in various forms, including tempura soba and sansai soba, which is topped with mountain vegetables.

4. Sushi

Sushi could be called Hida Takayama’s secret gourmet food, since it's probably not what comes to mind when visiting the landlocked, mountainous prefecture of Gifu. Surprisingly, the town has incredibly fresh seafood. Catches from the Sea of Japan are shipped every morning from ports in nearby Toyama Prefecture, which means you can enjoy seafood in many traditional restaurants around town.

3. Hoba Miso

A specialty of the Hida area, hoba miso is a dish that showcases the local ingredients and produce of Hida Takayama. The dish features local Hida beef grilled over a small charcoal fire stove with fresh vegetables such as green onions and shiitake mushrooms. Everything is cooked in a sweet and savory miso paste on a dried magnolia leaf, which is called hoba in Japanese. Hoba miso is the perfect dish to complement the famous sakes of Hida Takayama.

2. Takayama Ramen

Takayama ramen, known as chuka (Chinese) soba by the locals, is a popular dish unlike any other ramen found in Japan. The secret to Takayama ramen is in the noodles and broth, which are quite unique compared to standard fare. Chefs use a thin, curly noodle in a broth of dried bonito and soy sauce, topped with chashu roasted pork, menma pickled bamboo shoots and sweet Hida negi green onions. The ingredients may sound simple, but the flavors are surprisingly deep and complex, and give this dish umami to the max!

1. Hida Beef

For carnivores seeking the dish to try in Hida Takayama, look no further! Japan is famous for its top-notch beef, with Kobe beef high on the list of gourmet ingredients used by top chefs the world over. Hida beef, known as Hida-gyu in Japanese, is regarded as one of the best in Japan, alongside both Kobe and Matsusaka beef. This high-quality marbled beef—from black-haired Japanese cattle raised in Gifu Prefecture—is known for its tenderness, and will literally melt in your mouth. Hida beef can be found in many types of dishes in town, ranging from steak and yakiniku (Korean-style BBQ) to Hida beef burgers and sukiyaki. You can even find it in popular dishes such as sushi, takoyaki and Japanese curry.