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Hokkaido Food Guide: Top 10 Things to Eat in Japan’s Gourmet Kingdom

Hokkaido is a foodie's paradise. With everything from fresh seafood to outstanding meat and dairy products, it’s an excellent destination if you want to enjoy a variety of dishes, from seafood and vegetables to meat and dairy products.
Here’s a variety of exquisite Hokkaido food delights that will satisfy both your stomach and your heart. Be sure to try as many as you can during your Hokkaido trip!

1. Seafood you should definitely keep in mind when you come to Hokkaido!

▲ Hakodate Morning Market where you can purchase fresh seafood

When talking about must-eat Hokkaido food, you have to try the seafood. Hokkaido, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan, and the Sea of Okhotsk, is known for its excellent seafood. Here are some of the seasonal specialties:
Crab (Kani)

▲ Available throughout the year, horsehair crab has exquisitely creamy tomalley

While crab is often associated with winter, this famous Hokkaido food can be caught year-round in the waters near Hokkaido, and the king crab and snow crab are most delicious from April to May after the drift ice has gone. Boasting the best crab in Japan, Hokkaido crab is a must-eat, and you can eat different varieties in each season.

▲ A full course to enjoy multiple ways of eating crab

At Katukakino Hanasaki in Sapporo, the full crab course featuring a whole live king crab is popular. Don’t miss the live performance where the manager nicknamed “Crab Father” handles a crab right before you!
Salmon Roe (Ikura)

▲ Salmon and salmon roe are most delicious in autumn

Ikura (salmon roe) season is from September to November. It’s also the best time for salmon itself. While it’s easily found in cities like Sapporo and Hakodate, it’s also recommended to go to areas with salmon fishing grounds, such as the Ishikari region. The seasoning depends on the restaurant, but this fabulous Hokkaido food is always delicious when served with plenty of hot rice!

▲ An overflowing bowl of appetizing ikura!

At the Hokkaido Robata Igokochi izakaya (pub) in Sapporo, the “Super Famous! Posei-don” includes salmon roe on top of sea urchin, salmon and tuna. The staff will cheer you on while you try to eat this huge bowl of delicious seafood!
Sea Urchin (Uni)

▲ Murasaki uni and bafun uni caught near Rishiri Island. The two kinds of seas urchin have different tastes and textures

Sea urchins, or uni, are a Hokkaido food that can be caught all over the island throughout the year. But those harvested from June to August – especially from Rishiri, Rebun, and Shakotan – are particularly delicious Hokkaido uni. Sea urchins that have fed on quality kelp will have plenty of umami and melt in your mouth with an irresistibly creamy taste! They also go well with Western dishes such as pasta.

▲ If you’re lucky, you might get to eat “Asa Uni Bukkake Donburi"

The “Asa Uni Bukkake Donburi” at the Tamura Iwataro Store in the Bikuni area of Shakotan is a popular menu item that allows you to choose your own portion of sea urchin. It’s only available during the sea urchin season, from June…

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