Beautifully spread out, Kujukushima is surrounded by the sea, and the abundant blessing of nature. This natural terrain not only provides a great environment for seafood, but also is wonderful for vegetables and meat.
For people who care about their ingredients this effect has led to various excellent gourmet foods being produced, and receiving attention not only from the locals, but also nationally and internationally.
Here are 10 of the best, carefully selected gourmet foods in Sasebo and Ojika!
①A Sasebo gourmet food that is rapidly gaining popularity “Lemon steak”
②The birthplace of the delicious gourmet foody “Sasebo Burger”
③The transparency is a sign of freshness!!“Live Squid”
④Small and rich! Served on a raft at sea“Kujukushima Oysters”
⑤The best beef in Japan is available for an all-you-can-eat! “Nagasaki Wagyu Beef”
⑥Hot and juicy food at a butcher shop“Beef cutlet”
⑦We carefully prepare the freshest seasonal ingredients from around Nagasaki Prefecture one by one.“Fresh Squid Restaurant: Ichigyo Ichie”
⑧A stylish, retro coffee shop in a port town “Coffee specialty shop Kunimatsu”
⑨A relaxing island cafe on Ojika “Cafe Totona”
⑩Enjoy the climate of Ojika Island and authentic seasonal cuisine“Kominka Restaurant Fujimatsu”
①A Sasebo gourmet food that is rapidly gaining popularit
“Lemon steak” is fast becoming one of the most popular gourmet foods in Sasebo!
Thin slices of beef are grilled on a teppan (iron plate) and served with a special lemon sauce. It is said to have originated from a rearranging of an "American steak" to suit the Japanese palate.
Today, you can enjoy a variety of styles of lemon steak in Sasebo. From long-established restaurants whose flavors haven’t changed, to new restaurants with original arrangements of lemon steak, there are many choices.
Here we will introduce the long-established restaurant Honjin. You're sure to find the perfect lemon steak there!
It is grilled in a special sauce on a hot iron plate. The aroma and sound of the sizzling fill the air. Be careful not to get too distracted by the smoke and forget to flip it over halfway through!
When you are done eating the meat, put the rice onto the hot iron plate and mix it with the lemon sauce that is infused with the flavor of the steak to finish off the dish in the Sasebo way. Each restaurant has its own specialties such as meat, special sauce, teppan iron plate, and grilling method, so it's interesting to compare them.
Address: 5-3 Hizukushi-cho, Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture
②The birthplace of the delicious gourmet food
In Sasebo, there are hamburger shops everywhere.
Soon after the war, Sasebo was greatly influenced by many aspects of the American culture brought here by its U.S. Navy. One of such thing is the "Sasebo Burger" which has become one of the most popular gourmet foods in Sasebo!
Among the 30 or so hamburger restaurants in the city, we'd like to introduce you to the very cute, pop, American restaurant, Misa Rosso, located near Sasebo City Hall.
In front of the shop there is a sign of the local character "Sasebo Burger Boy"! This sign is proof of its Sasebo Burger certification. Sasebo Burger Boy is one of the precious works of Takashi Yanase, the creator of the famous Anpanman characters!
Sasebo Burgers have been widely featured in the media, and the shop is crowded with tourists on holidays. With handmade patties and sauces, Sasebo Burgers are particular in that they only start being made after having received the order from the customers.
While some restaurants specialize in take-out, Misa Rosso allows you to eat and drink inside. This time, we had the ever-popular bacon and egg burger! The buns, bacon, eggs, lettuce, and the slightly spicy special sauce were a perfect match!
The "Sasebo Burger" will continue to be loved by locals, and is sure to create many more fans in the future.
Address: 2-15 Mantoku-cho, Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture
③The transparency is a sign of freshness!!
The reason why there are so many famous restaurants here in Sasebo where you can eat fresh and delicious squid is because of the Sasebo Fish Market. One of the largest in western Japan, its fresh seafood is caught not only in nearby waters, but also off the Goto Islands and Hirado Island as well.
Of these seafood, we recommend the incredibly fresh squid.
First of all, it’s hard to get over how clear it looks and how fresh it is! Sashimi is the best way to enjoy the taste of squid. Sashimi is made from the freshest live squid that has just been swimming in the fish tank.
The chefs are very skilled at handling the squid, and make special cuts in the squid to give it different textures.
Only when it is fresh can squid retain its crunchiness, while having a soft and chewy texture. The best way to enjoy the squid's natural flavor and sweetness is to eat it as it is, without adding anything!! Of course, you can also enjoy it with standards like soy sauce, salt, or lemon. Try it for yourself!
Another enjoyable part of the squid sashimi is the post-sashimi dish!! After you finish eating the squid, they can make the body into tempura or grill them with salt. Please enjoy every part of the squid.
Address: 7-8 Shimokyo-cho, Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture
④Small and rich! Served on a raft at sea
Kujukushima is “one of the most beautiful bays in the world”. Oysters from Kujukushima are full of nutrients from the natural environment of the islands, and are characterized by their rich flavor. One of the attractive points about Sasebo is that oysters are cultivated in both summer and winter, so you can enjoy oysters all year round. Among these however, the oysters, which come into season in late October, are particularly popular.
Marumo Fishery offers “Kujukushima Oysters” on a raft floating among the Kujukushima islands. The oyster shack, surrounded by the beautiful Kujukushima islands, is an ideal environment for enjoying oysters, with the delicious taste of the sea at Kujukushima concentrated in each oyster.
We immediately started to enjoy the freshly caught oysters over the charcoal fire.
The flavor of the oysters’ overflows, spilling out onto the charcoal and smothering the area with the appetizing aroma of the sea. The “Kujukushima Oyster” is a small oyster with a rich and delicious flavor! We devoured a whole kilogram in one sitting!
Not only local residents, but tourist from all over the country, including chefs and professionals who are particular about taste, such as high-end restaurant owners, come from all over the worldto try the Kujukushima oysters.
While it was a little chilly, the Kujukushima Oysters served around the fire were excellent.
Address: 944 Funakoshi-cho, Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture
⑤The best beef in Japan is available for an all-you-can-eat!
“Nagasaki Wagyu Beef”
Nagasaki Wagyu Beef is a staple gourmet food in Nagasaki.
In 2012, it received the Prime Minister's Award, the highest award in Japan. The beautiful cherry-red marbling makes you happy just looking at it.
Wouldn't you like to eat “Nagasaki Wagyu Beef” to your heart's content?
Among the many restaurants designated as “Nagasaki Wagyu Beef”restaurants, the one that offers all-you-can-eat beef is “Gyuajidokoro Aizantei”.
With a perfect balance of lean red meat filled with flavor and fatty meat that melts in your mouth, it is best eaten when quickly cooked.
First, try it with salt, which brings out the natural flavor of the meat. The juicy melt-in-your-mouth flavor is of the highest quality!
At "Gyuajidokoro Aizantei" there are numerous sauces to choose from. The most popular among them is the homemade garlic special sauce, made daily with freshly chopped garlic and ground sesame seeds. There is also a salad bar and dessert buffet, making dining enjoyable for both families and couples.
This certified Nagasaki Wagyu Beef restaurant offers an all-you-can-eat menu at a very reasonable price! It is one of the most popular restaurants among the locals, with many regular customers.
Address: N.S. Building 1F, Motoshima-cho, Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture
⑥Hot and juicy food at a butcher shop
Next, we will introduce the “Beef Cutlet”!!
While Nagasaki Wagyu Beef is popular as a thick cut steak or as thin cut shabu-shabu or sukiyaki, it is also popular as a beef cutlet.
Nagasaki Wagyu Beef has a perfect balance of beautiful marbling, is surprisingly tender. The more you bite into it, the more you experience the flavor of the meat and the sweetness of the fat. Locking in all the flavor, the beef cutlet is crispy on the surface and juicy on the inside, filling your mouth with the taste of the meat!
It can be served with a variety of sauces, such as salt, yuzu kosho (yuzu pepper), oroshi ponzu (grated ponzu sauce), or onsen tamago (boiled egg), and goes perfectly with white rice.
The Aikawa Butcher Shop sells fresh Nagasaki Wagyu Beef at affordable prices through both direct sales and online shopping. The Nagasaki Wagyu Beef is auctioned off at the market, and is purchased by the butcher himself. These "Beef Cutlets" made from Nagasaki Wagyu Beef selected by the butcher are delicious!
Whether you come here for lunch to regain your energy in the afternoon or for dinner with your loved ones, enjoy the delicious Nagasaki Wagyu Beef when you come to Sasebo.
Nagasaki Beef Aikawa "Beef Cutlet & Lemon Steak”
Address: 297-20 Arifuku-cho, Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture
⑦We carefully prepare the freshest seasonal ingredients from around Nagasaki Prefecture one by one.
“Fresh Squid Restaurant: Ichigyo Ichie”
Located near the Saikai Bridge, this is a restaurant where you can eat live squid and fresh fish.
It may sound extravagant to hear that this restaurant specializes in live squid dishes, but there are many dishes on the menu that are just right for lunch, and are reasonably priced. The menu we ordered this time was the "Ichigyo Ichie Gozen.
The seasonal ingredients of Nagasaki Prefecture are carefully arranged one by one, and are served as an outstanding cuisine.
The brightly colored "Gozen" boasts ingredients that the chef has carefully selected. A Tempura platter, small bowls with seasonal side dishes, seasonal rice, chawanmushi, miso soup, dessert, and so on, will leave you satisfied and full of energy to enjoy your trip in Sasebo!
Live Squid Restaurant: Ichigyo Ichie
Address: 2371-1 Hario-cho, Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture
⑧A stylish, retro coffee shop in a port town
“Coffee specialty shop Kunimatsu”
This coffee shop draws you in with its nostalgic atmosphere.
We were greeted by the shops master, a coffee connoisseur, in an old-fashioned shop decorated with wood paneling. It's as if time had stopped here. Established around 1971, the Coffee Specialty Shop Kunimatsu has been in business for over 50 years. Since its establishment, the store has attracted attention for its wide variety of coffee, while preserving the original atmosphere of the shop.
Known by many as an old-fashioned coffee shop, many of its fans remember being brought here by their parents as children. Unchanged since it first opened, the retro style and incredible variety of coffee, as well as the shops comfortable and cozy interior, continue to be loved by the people of Sasebo.
The shop is also very particular about the way it brews its coffee. Blended coffee is brewed using the drip method, while Vienna coffee is brewed using the siphon method. Providing a perfect accompaniment to your coffee, toast, a variety of hot sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, and other menu items can also be enjoyed.
This space, where you can feel the good old days of Sasebo, has a mysterious charm that makes you want to come back.
Coffee Specialty Shop Kunimatsu
Address: 4-16 Kamikyo-machi, Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture
⑨A relaxing island cafe on Ojika
As you walk along the Ojika Ferry Terminal feeling the sea breeze, you are greeted by a town that somehow feels both nostalgic and new.
Cafe Totona is an island cafe located in the middle of a row of old “kominka” houses. It opens at 5:00 a.m. for travelers arriving by ferry early in the morning!
The cafe welcomes travelers with a spirit of hospitality. The owner himself renovated an old kominka house and remodeled the interior using a lot of wood to create a warm, lively, and carefree atmosphere.
The homemade cake and drink set is just right for a coffee time, with its crispy, moist, and elegant taste. The cake gently soothes away any fatigue you may have from your boat trip.
Furthermore, Totona is not only a café, but also a restaurant where you can enjoy authentic meals. We recommend lunches that use ingredients unique to Ojika, such as chicken in tomato sauce, curry flavored pork in cream, and hirasu (Japanese yellowtail) with tartar sauce!
The island of Ojika being surrounded by the sea is of course filled with nature. The many ingredients are not only delicious, but also nutritionally balanced. The carefully prepared dishes are sure to be a hit on social media!
Address: 1809 Fuefukigo, Ojika-cho, Kitamatsuura-gun, Nagasaki Prefecture
⑩Enjoy the climate of Ojika Island and authentic seasonal cuisine
“Kominka Restaurant Fujimatsu”
Fujimatsu is a kominka restaurant where you can enjoy a variety of seafood, vegetables and rice grown in the red volcanic soil, and other "jigemon" (local) ingredients in sophisticated home-style cooking.
The 160-year-old building is the renovated home of the former Fujimatsu family, one of the island's most prominent merchants who made their fortune through whaling and sake brewing. The interior was designed by Alex Kerr, who is said to be one of the leading experts in the restoration of old kominka houses.
As you enter through the latticed door, a tatami room with large, single-paneled table and seating, preserving the style of the time, catches your eye. The furniture and utensils used by the Fujimatsu family at that time, as well as those donated by islanders, are still carefully used today.
For the dinning enjoyed in this elegant environment, the chef personally sources the ingredients, bringing out the best of their flavors in the island's home-style cuisine.
The skin of the isaki, a brand-name fish from Ojika that is not easily found on the mainland, is seared, and the firmness of the fish is irresistible.
There are a variety of “shimasachi” courses, which offer local seasonal ingredients such as sea urchin, turban snail, and other carefully selected ingredients. The chef wishes for you to enjoy the freshest fish and vegetables that can only be found on this island.
Kominka Restaurant Fujimatsu
Address: 3694-1 Maekatago, Ojika-cho, Kitamatsuura-gun, Nagasaki Prefecture
We've introduced 10 carefully selected gourmet delicacies from Sasebo and Ojika Island! There are however still many more delicious foods and local menus to be enjoyed!!
How about a gourmet tour to eat all the gourmet foods in Sasebo and Ojika?
We've attached Instagram links to each of the gourmet recommendations, so please check them out!