Kagoshima Food & Drink

Join us on a journey to find out where to eat and drink in Kagoshima and meet some of the people responsible for making the region’s unique and vibrant food culture a reality. Meet owners the of restaurants, cafes, and bars; farmers, distillers, butchers, and bakers – the People of Kagoshima who will make your trip to Japan unforgettable with delectable culinary delights. 

Farm to Table Kagoshima Food

Kagoshima is known across Japan for its fresh, delicious produce and farm-to-table aesthetic. The volcanic landscape of Kagoshima presents a challenge for growing rice, but the mineral rich soil produces the Jurassic sized daikon radishes (the world’s heaviest) and tiny oranges (the world’s smallest) that active volcano Sakurajima is famous for.

International Food Influences

Kagoshima’s location in the south, close to the Asian mainland has also influenced its food culture, and a distinct Chinese and Korean influence can be seen in local dishes. Historically, the lords of the Shimadzu clan also influenced the food culture of the region, and over their 700-year rule of Kagoshima, some quite unusual food trends appeared in relation to the rest of Japan.

Big Meat Eaters

The history of meat eating in Kagoshima actually goes back a lot longer than other regions of Japan, primarily due to the Chinese influence on food culture brought in via illegal trade that the Shimadzu clan carried out using the Ryukyu islands as a gateway to the outside world.

In recent years Kurobuta pork has started to gain attention internationally for its sweet and tender meat, owed in part to the pigs’ diet of sweet potatoes. In Kagoshima, the preferred ways to eat Kurobuta are as tonkatsu (a deep-fried pork cutlet), tonkotsu (simmered pork on the bone), or shabu-shabu (thin slices of meat parboiled in broth). Kagoshima cattle have also been in the limelight for the excellent quality of their meat, and Kagoshima Kuroge Wagyu even won the prestigious “Wagyu Olympics” back in 2017.

Sumptuous Seafood

The Kuroshio current flowing north from Okinawa brings a wide variety of fish into the 200-meter-deep Kagoshima Bay, making it a veritable treasure trove for prospective fishermen. Sea bream, skipjack tuna, and the silver striped herring known as kibinago are perhaps most well-known, and the city’s vibrant fish market is a must visit for fans of super fresh sashimi. 

Drinking Culture in Kagoshima

Kagoshima is legendary for its drinking culture, and local distilled spirit shochu may reign supreme, but in recent years craft beer, gin, whisky, and a whole host of other options have become popular.

The region is also the largest producer of green tea in Japan, and the delicious and healthy brew is a much-loved breaktime staple. It isn’t all about tea though, and the third wave of coffee has  brought some great local roasteries.  

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Kagoshima Kitchen