Exploring Kagoshima: Local Dishes, Restaurants & Recipes

Exploring Kagoshima: Local Dishes, Restaurants & Recipes

Exploring Kagoshima: Local Dishes, Restaurants & Recipes

Welcome to Kagoshima, a city located on the southern tip of the Japanese island of Kyushu. Known for its natural beauty, hot springs, and vibrant culture, Kagoshima also boasts a delicious and diverse culinary scene. From traditional Japanese dishes to unique local specialties, there is something here to please every food lover's palate.

Kagoshima Black Pork

One dish that Kagoshima is famous for is its Kagoshima Black Pork. Raised in the fertile volcanic soil of the region, this pork is known for its tender meat and rich flavor. You can find it served in a variety of ways, from grilled to simmered in soy sauce-based broth. Some popular dishes featuring Kagoshima Black Pork include tonkatsu (breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet) and buta-soba (ramen topped with slices of pork).

Kibinago Sashimi

If you're a fan of seafood, be sure to try Kibinago sashimi when visiting Kagoshima. Kibinago, also known as silver-stripe round herring, is a small fish that is usually served raw. The delicate, translucent slices of Kibinago are often garnished with fresh ginger and green onions, and dipped in soy sauce or ponzu (citrus-based sauce) before being enjoyed. The combination of the fish's natural sweetness with the tangy sauce is simply exquisite.

Sakurajima Kurozu Tempura

Sakurajima Kurozu is a type of black vinegar that is produced in Kagoshima, made from the ash of the active volcano Sakurajima. This unique vinegar is known for its deep, rich flavor and is used in various dishes, including tempura. Tempura is a popular Japanese dish consisting of battered and deep-fried seafood or vegetables. When made with Sakurajima Kurozu, the tempura takes on a distinct tanginess that enhances its overall taste.

Shirokuma Kakigori

To satisfy your sweet tooth, try Shirokuma Kakigori, a popular dessert in Kagoshima. Kakigori is a shaved ice dessert that is typically flavored with syrup and topped with various toppings. Shirokuma, meaning "polar bear" in Japanese, is a unique variation of Kakigori that originated in Kagoshima. It features a colorful mix of fruit, mochi (glutinous rice cakes), sweetened condensed milk, and red bean paste, creating a delightful combination of flavors and textures.

Where to Eat

1. Yamakawa

Located in the heart of Kagoshima, Yamakawa is a restaurant that specializes in Kagoshima cuisine, including dishes made with Kagoshima Black Pork. Their menu features a wide range of options, from traditional tonkatsu to innovative fusion dishes. The cozy atmosphere and attentive service make it a popular choice among locals and tourists alike.

2. Nakatomi Uoshokuten

If you're craving fresh seafood, Nakatomi Uoshokuten is the place to go. This seafood restaurant offers a wide selection of sashimi, sushi, and other seafood delicacies. The chefs at Nakatomi Uoshokuten are dedicated to using only the freshest ingredients, ensuring a high-quality dining experience.

3. Kuroku

Kuroku is a popular restaurant that specializes in traditional Kagoshima cuisine. Their menu showcases the region's unique flavors and ingredients, with dishes such as Kibinago sashimi and Sakurajima Kurozu tempura. The stylish interior and attentive staff create a pleasant dining atmosphere for visitors.

Recipes from Kagoshima

Kagoshima Black Pork Shabu Shabu


  • 500g Kagoshima Black Pork belly, thinly sliced
  • Assorted vegetables (e.g., napa cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, carrots)
  • Tofu, cubed
  • Soy sauce and ponzu for dipping


  1. Boil water in a large pot.
  2. Arrange the sliced pork, vegetables, and tofu on separate plates.
  3. Once the water is boiling, dip the pork slices into the hot water for a few seconds, then remove them.
  4. Repeat the dipping process for the vegetables and tofu.
  5. Dip each piece of meat and vegetable into the soy sauce or ponzu before eating.

Shirokuma Kakigori


  • Shaved ice
  • Assorted fruits (e.g., pineapple, strawberries, oranges)
  • Mochi (glutinous rice cakes)
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Red bean paste


  1. Fill a bowl with shaved ice.
  2. Arrange the assorted fruits and mochi on top of the ice.
  3. Drizzle sweetened condensed milk over the ingredients.
  4. Finish by adding a dollop of red bean paste on the top.