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Escape with T5 — in spirit, at least — to far-flung regions of Japan with strong local traditions surrounding food and drink. If you can make it in person, note that with one exception, none of the areas mentioned falls under the impending 11-prefecture expanded state of emergency:

  • Have you ever heard of the “three great noodles of Morioka”? Each dish features a noodle with distinct cultural roots — one in Japan, another in China, the last in Korea — all brought together and refined in Iwate Prefecture, explains Louise George Kittaka.
  • Oh, to be a migratory beekeeper — traversing the archipelago from Kagoshima in the south to Hokkaido in the north with your hives in tow, moving with the seasons to maximise the quality of your honey. It must be quite a trip for the bees, too. But as Kyodo reports, only a few such beekeepers live this kind of life today.
Eita Nishitarumizu will be carrying 4 million bees between Kagoshima Prefecture and Hokkaido this year. | KYODO
Eita Nishitarumizu will be carrying 4 million bees between Kagoshima Prefecture and Hokkaido this year. | KYODO
  • A combination of factors make Yamagata the ideal breeding ground for fungi, which is why the prefecture produces — and its people eat — so many of the things. Peak mushroom season may be over, but you’re sure to still find plenty should you go down to the woods today, as Chiara Terzuolo did in November.
  • Japan isn’t famous for blackcurrants, much less Aomori Prefecture, which is better known for its apples. Yet the city of Aomori produces around 10 to 12 tons of the fruit annually, accounting for around 90 percent of domestic production. Florentyna Leow explores the currant state of affairs as the prefecture launches an all-out PR push to get Japan eating its kashisu.
  • The words “kids” and “tea ceremony” don’t often appear in the same sentence. There are obvious reasons why, from the handling of invaluable ceramics to the scooping of hot water, not to mention the necessity of sitting still — in silence — for long periods. Yet that’s one element of the daylong Kids Cultural Experience offered at a ryokan in Kamakura. Danielle Demetriou took her children, 8 and 6, along to give it a try.

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