Ibaraki Prefecture is national name when it comes to primary produce; its beef is world class and the prefecture delights in its fermented soybeans. With its rural heritage and rich soils, the prefecture's agricultural produce is top notch and its long coastline offers ample opportunities for quality seafood. Here is a simple guide to some of the regional cuisine of Ibaraki.
Hitachi wagyu beef
With hand-raised black cattle providing the source of the meat, Hitachi wagyu beef is succulent, tender and its rich flavour makes it one of the top brands in the country. The pride of Ibaraki, this highly marbled meat is fed only with Ibaraki-grown grains, giving the meat an even more localised taste.
They say you either love it, or hate it but either way, you cannot ignore it. The super health food of the nation, natto is everywhere, especially in Ibaraki. Stick and gooey with a unique fragrance, natto is basically fermented soybeans and is often eaten on a small bed of rice, with a dash of mustard and dashi stock to go with it.
Best eaten fresh, the rather curious looking anglerfish is a prized delicacy of Ibaraki. The entirety of the fish can be eaten and requires a unique method of preparation to remove its flesh known as tsurushi-giri. A seasonal favourite is anko nabe, a hotpot of chunks of anglerfish, vegetables and flavoured broth.
A simple local food originating as a farmer's way of not wasting produce, miso peanuts is exactly what the name implies, peanuts coated in miso soybean paste. The texture and crunch of the roasted peanuts cutting through the earthy sweetness of the umami-rich flavour of the miso makes for an addictive little snack that is a delight to eat.