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Top Chefs From Shizuoka and Niigata Hosted a One-day Culinary Feast!

November 29, 2023, at the Fujisan Hongū Sengen Taisha Shrine
  • delicious Japan
  • December 25, 2023

Naoki Maeda
Owner of Sasue Maeda Fish Shop in Yaizu

Shizuoka Prefecture boasts an abundance of 439 agricultural, forestry, and fishery products. One of the nation's most diverse "kingdoms of food ingredients," Shizuoka makes the most of this advantage to promote its tourist industry through Shizuoka gastronomy tourism. Four top chefs from Shizuoka and Niigata prefectures, attracting attention from Japan and abroad, held a special one-day feast using an abundance of Shizuoka Prefecture ingredients. Their venue was Fujisan Hongū Sengen Taisha Shrine, which does not usually offer meals.

Niigata Prefecture has been holding Niigata Premium Dining events where people can eat a mixture of food with stories of culture, history, and land rooted in different regions of Niigata. In September, the event was a partnership with Fukuoka Prefecture. The food collaboration brought together two chefs from Niigata and two from Shizuoka.

The overall producer of the Shizuoka event was Naoki Maeda, owner of Sasue Maeda Fish Shop in Yaizu, which has drawn the attention of chefs from around the world. Mr. Maeda said, "Shizuoka Prefecture is blessed by its climate and the best natural location, with its mountains, rivers, and sea. That makes Shizuoka's food even more appealing. In welcoming many foreign visitors to Japan in the future, we would like to increase the number of authentic food options in Shizuoka and create foods that can be enjoyed nowhere else, thereby promoting its food culture and tourism." He added, "Shizuoka is already well known as an environment with good conditions for food. We mustn't forget to think of and care for others. That's what I want to emphasize."

Keiko Kuwakino
Satoyama Jujo

We interviewed Chef Keiko Kuwakino of Satoyama Jujo, who represented Niigata Prefecture at the event. Satoyama Jujo opened in 2014 as a new type of inn, and Chef Kuwakino expresses local gastronomy in her cuisine there. In 2018, she was appointed head chef of Satoyama Jujo, awarded one star in the Michelin Guide Niigata 2020 Special Edition.

What is the "local gastronomy" that Satoyama Jujo aims for?

We aim to understand the climate, culture, and history of this place we live, put down roots in, and express that understanding on the plate. We want to take on the inheritance of those things and add new expressions to them.

Shizuoka Prefecture is promoting gastronomy tourism. Where do you think the potential of Shizuoka's food lies?

I was amazed at the abundance of ingredients and the warmth of the climate of Shizuoka. It is lovely to have various ingredients available throughout the year. On the one hand, the variety and abundance of ingredients give so many options that it is challenging to combine them into dishes with more depth in terms of land, culture, and history.

Inbound (foreign visitors to Japan) consumption is growing at a rate even faster than it was before Covid-19. In terms of food, what would you like to welcome foreign visitors to Japan with for their enjoyment?

The food must be presented in a way that lets people not only enjoy the food itself but also understand the background and history of its ingredients. I want people to experience food culture, which goes beyond eating, to give them a feeling of connection with the producers and the local people.

A variety of dishes prepared by four chefs