Dining in the North: Akita Dining “Namahage”

Experience the hearty cuisine and rustic ambience of Akita—without the four-hour train ride.

Anyone who has been to Akita will know this magical prefecture in the deep north of Japan is known for its rich cultural traditions, breathtaking countryside and unique regional cuisine.

You may not realize is that you can have your very own Akita experience in Tokyo, at Akita Dining “Namahage” in Ginza. You can’t miss the Akita-themed restaurant, with its traditional red, demonic Namahage mask clearly signposting the venue.

The spacious restaurant is about as authentic as it gets. The interior is an actual 130 year-old farm house from Akita Prefecture that was reconstructed here in Tokyo. Shiny black wood floors complete with a built-in hearth, traditional wooden ceilings and old farm equipment. Even in the extreme heat and humidity of a Tokyo summer, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d stepped into a cozy, snow-covered farm house in one of Japan’s northernmost prefectures. Private booths take the shape of kamakura, the structures of ice and snow that play an important role in the prefecture’s winter festivals.

The food follows a similar theme to the decor, focusing on delicious and unique regional fare. A must-try is one of Akita’s most famous local dishes, kiritanpo: freshly cooked rice, pounded and formed into cylinders around cedar skewers. A restaurant favorite is kiritampo-nabe, served with broth made from the ambrosial local, free-range Hinai Jidori chicken—this prized bird is a local Akita breed that has been cultivated for generations and is renowned for its unique, delicate taste.

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Other unmissable dishes include Matsuo Beef, grown and sourced directly from farms in the region, and Hachimantai Pork, the restaurant’s version of a traditional delicacy known as Du Zhong tea-fed pork, prepared using pigs reared on a special diet of mash from locally-grown tea.

Akita is also known as one of Japan’s most prolific sake-producing regions, and fans of nihonshu, Japan’s national tipple, will not be disappointed. You can get into the spirit by sampling any one of the restaurant’s prodigious sake collection, all sourced from the prefecture’s 38 local breweries.

Accompanying the evening meal are twice-nightly, electrifying “Namahage” performances, which conjure up the atmosphere of traditional ceremonies in Japan’s far north. Between the rustic decor, the hearty, authentic fare, and the wide variety of local sakes, you’ll can enjoy the feeling of Akita without having left Tokyo.

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Akita Dining “Namahage”
9th Floor, Nakajimashoji Building, 8-5-6 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061
Tel: 050-5797-4874

Opening Hours:
Sat–Thu: 17:00–23:30 | Fri: 17:00–04:00
Live “Namahage” shows:
Every night: 19:15 and 22:00

Cheers from Tadaima Japan

Tadaima Japan is a web magazine that focuses on Japanese culture, providing you with information from those who are truly in the know. Whether you’re after traditional events, culture, food and drink recommendations, popular tourist destinations, or the low-down on some of Japan’s best-kept secrets, this infinitely expanding guide book for Japan has you covered with daily updates from writers speaking from personal experience. In addition, Tadaima Japan readers can get a special offer at Akita Dining “Namahage”: visit the Namahage page at tadaimajp.com for a secret “key word.” Say that word to your server for a free cup of sake…kanpai!

For more information, visit tadaimajp.com


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