Overview

Rich in local heritage, the cuisine of Shimane prefecture is as unique as the region's ancient mythological roots. Simple comfort foods here make use of nationally recognised shellfish stocks while one of the country's top style of noodle has its origin in the prefecture. Along with seafood from the Japan Sea and tea-based means relying on local seasonings, Shimane is a treat of taste. Here is a simple guide to some of the regional cuisine of Shimane.

Shijimi-jiru

Seasoned with soy sauce and miso, one of Shimane's great comfort foods - and possibly its simplest - is shijimi-jiru, a soup made with the famous shijimi clam from Lake Shinji. These large and delicious clams are so well regarded that they have become known as one of the Seven Delicacies of Lake Shinji, with the lake providing a third of the nations' shijimi clam catch.

Shijimi-jiru (Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/psychs/8485156984/in/photolist-dVNDy5-dVNDAE-EyQ14m-aDoDze-7e37UG-eFTiTj-e7nLGU-khnuvF-p8wDD1-p5s3wv-4Y3CDj-4Y3D45-6FZtn7-9YdiHF-8PqG1P-awbr7F-bpymCD-sSGKE-qgQnfH-6P6WV1-odAuP8-8bR8Bw-HygVzp-fcgjHg-FkBRfp-22eGBs3-dc9KUq-anSYfy-fjZ5xW-bau59v-tSY3Dn-YnMQzm-cjc54S-8kYign-9sTiKc-7tVMQA-7tRSRF-cUgP7s-973A6V-8UimUv-dbfj5y-27skxTZ-nu5KSW-eqwvce-pvbX5L-pLyW15-rMfthY-JBCQn7" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Satoshi Nakagawa / CC BY-SA 2.0</a>)
Shijimi-jiru (Photo: Satoshi Nakagawa / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Kanshimame-zuke don

Fresh winter squid taken from the Japan Sea off the coast of Ama Town in Shimane turns out to be the prized ingredient for a local food known as kanshimame-zuke don. A rice bowl liberally covered with soy sauce-marinated squid, this dish is a popular delicacy and only possible when using the freshest squid.

Kanshimame-zuke don (Photo: <a href="https://navalin.at.webry.info/201412/article_10.html" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Image by 徒然旅行記</a>)
Kanshimame-zuke don (Photo: Image by 徒然旅行記)

Yakimeshi chazuke

Ochazuke, a traditional dish made by pouring green tea over rice, gets a makeover in Shimane. A roasted rice ball tea soup, yakimeshi ochazuke makes use of a rice ball topped with the nearby Oki Island's traditional kojoyu miso seasoning. Green tea is then poured over these seasoned rice balls, creating a robustly delicate flavour.

Yakimeshi chazuke (Photo: <a href="https://note.com/swind_prv/n/n72b944983f98" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Image by Swind</a>)
Yakimeshi chazuke (Photo: Image by Swind)

Izumo soba

Famous for its soba crops, Shimane is home to Izumo soba, one of Japan's three major styles of soba noodles. Featuring a darker colour to it, Izumo soba makes use of the full buckwheat seed in its flour, creating a noodle that is not only healthier and richer in taste, but also chewier in texture. Served in a variety of ways, Izumo soba is one of the prefecture's traditional sources of gastronomical pride.

Izumo soba (Photo: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:IzumoWarikoSoba01.JPG" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Aiko99ann / CC BY-SA 3.0</a>)
Izumo soba (Photo: Aiko99ann / CC BY-SA 3.0)