Sushi is a dish that’s practically synonymous with Japan. While sushi is one of the most commonly found Japanese foods internationally with many iterations the world over, in Japan, you'll also find unique local sushi variations that you aren’t likely to find anywhere else in the world. Keep reading to find out where you can have a taste of these delicious sushi bites.
Kakinohazushi in Nara prefecture
Also known as persimmon leaf sushi, Kakinohazushi is usually presented as a little oblong block of pressed sushi rice topped with marinated or pickled mackerel wrapped in a persimmon leaf. These days you can find variations with eel and salmon as well. It is said that Kakinohazushi was developed due to the need to preserve the fish over the long period needed to transport it from the coast to inland Nara in the Kansai region. While you don’t eat the persimmon leaves, they apparently have antibacterial properties which help to preserve the fish along with the fermentation process.
Where to eat Kakinohazushi in Nara:
- Kakinoha Sushi Tanaka is a famous brand that has branches all over Nara and other parts of Japan.
- Hiraso is a restaurant that has an impressive history dating to the Edo period of 1861.
- Otaki Chaya is located in the mountains of Yoshino and closed in winter.
Tekonezushi in Ise-Shima, Mie prefecture
Tekonezushi roughly translates to hand-mixed sushi in English, and unlike the neat bite-sized bits of pressed rice sushi we see on conveyor belts, Tekonezushi is a type of chirashi or ‘scattered’ sushi where slices of katsuo (skipjack tuna) are marinated in soy sauce and sugar and placed on top of a bowl of vinegar rice. Ise is said to be a favourite of the local fishermen who made this easy-to-prepare dish while working on the boats, and it is just one of the many unique seafood specialities you can find in this region. Don’t miss out on sampling Ise’s famous spiny lobsters and abalone as well!
Where to eat Tekonezushi in Ise
- Sushikyu is famous for Tekonezushi and located in a historic building along the Okage Yokocho street in front of the famous Ise temple.
- Ebimaru along the same Okage Yokocho stretch also serves up excellent seafood alongside Tekonezushi.
- Tekone Chaya serves up Tekonezushi alongside other regional specialities like Ise Udon and other seafood dishes.