To reach the city of Hachinohe from Tokyo, even the fastest shinkansen takes the better part of three hours. It’s a long ride — a distance of some 400 kilometers in all, almost as far north as you can go on the Pacific coast of Honshu.

But there are numerous reasons for making that trip, most of them pulled from the nearby ocean. As the second-largest city in Aomori Prefecture, Hachinohe boasts one of the nation's biggest fishing ports. That means you can expect to find some of the finest and freshest seafood, especially at the city’s wholesale outlets and renowned early-morning markets.

This was one of the primary considerations that spurred chef Ryohei Ikemi to move to the city almost 15 years ago with his wife, Etsuko, who is both a trained pastry chef and sommelier. They were confident that Hachinohe, her hometown, would be a receptive location for the high-quality Italian cuisine that is Ikemi’s specialty.