Kagoshima Food Guide

Kagoshima Food Guide: Where and What To Do in Kagoshima

posted in: Kyushu Japan | 0

Last updated on April 21st, 2024

Are you planning a visit to Kagoshima, the city of foodies? This Kagoshima food guide will help you discover the best local eats you should try at least once while you’re there.

Kagoshima is known to be the city for foodies, particularly when it comes to Berkshire Pork. The city has so many specialties that it can be overwhelming to decide what and where to eat in Kagoshima. But fear not, while you exploring the prefecture’s natural beauty, historic temples, and culture, why not also take your tastebuds on a journey through Kagoshima’s food culture?

We have explored some of the most popular and highly recommended food to eat in Kagoshima. Don’t miss out on the chance to indulge in the best Kagoshima has to offer. So, without further ado, let’s check out this Kagoshima food guide!

What To Eat in Kagoshima

Kagoshima offers some local delicacies. One of the highlights of Kagoshima’s best food is its beef, kurobuta (Berkshire pig), and Satsuma chicken. Popular dining places in the city include the area around Kagoshima Station and downtown shopping district, Tenmonkan. Many popular restaurants and eateries have branches in both areas, so there are plenty of options to choose from.

The following is a list of Kagoshima’s specialty foods:

  • Berkshire Pork Shabu-Shabu
  • Berkshire Pork Tonkatsu
  • Yakiniku
  • Satsuma-age (deep-fried fish cake)
  • Shirokuma Polar Bear-Shaped Dessert
  • Kagoshima local products: Sakurajima daikon, mikan, and satsuma-imo
  • Kagoshima Traditional Sweets: Karukan, Kasutadon and Yakidonatsu

Berkshire Pork Shabu-Shabu

Berkshire Pork Shabu-Shabu

Kurobuta pork, or Berkshire Pork is arguably the most well-known Kagoshima dish. The term “Kurobuta” means black pig (黒豚) in Japanese and it is also better known as Berkshire pork by foreigners. It is a type of Japanese breed of domestic pig found in Kagoshima prefecture. The meat is known for being juicy, tender, and flavorful. 

Bershire pork is commonly used in Japanese hot pot dishes such as Shabu-Shabu, as well as in deep-fried pork cutlets known as Tonkatsu. Anyone visiting Kagoshima should definitely try at least one of the black pork dishes available.

Kagoshima Berkshire Pork

Shabu-shabu is a popular Japanese hotpot dish made with thinly sliced meat and vegetables that are boiled in a clear, kombu-based broth. The dish is best enjoyed with Berkshire Pork as it brings out the sweetness and juiciness of the meat.

To prepare the dish, you simply dip the Berkshire pork in boiling water and then eat it with a special dipping sauce. Some restaurants even offer a special sauce made with Kagoshima-produced soy sauce and Sakurajima komikan (Japanese mandarin orange). The tender Berkshire pork is perfectly complemented by the gentle flavors of the dipping sauce, making it an incredibly delicious dish!

Juan Central Station West Entrance Branch

Where to eat Berkshire Pork Shabu-Shabu in Kagoshima:

There are many restaurants that serve Berkshire Pork Shabu-Shabu near Kagoshima Station. The best place to enjoy this dish is at Juan Kagoshima Station West Entrance Branch, which is one of the most popular restaurants in Kagoshima. I must say that the shabu-shabu I had there was one of the best meals I have ever tasted in my life.

Read more: Juan Kagoshima: Berkshire Pork Shabu-shabu

Juan Central Station West Entrance Branch (寿庵 中央駅西口店)
Address: 1 Chome-3-1 Take, Kagoshima, 890-0045, Japan.
Official Website: https://juan-chuouekinishiguchiten.gorp.jp/

Berkshire Pork Tonkatsu

Berkshire Pork Tonkatsu

Tonkatsu is a Japanese dish made of a thick slice of pork loin or tenderloin that is coated with panko bread crumbs and deep-fried in oil until crispy and golden brown. It is usually served with rice, shredded cabbage, and pickled vegetables, along with a delicious savory-sweet tonkatsu sauce.

Tonkatsu is a beloved dish in Japan, with Kagoshima being the best place to enjoy it. While the pork cutlet itself remains the same, the meat used in Kagoshima’s tonkatsu is what sets it apart. The region uses its famous Berkshire Pork, which is known for its tenderness and juiciness.

Kagoshima Must-Eat Food - Berkshire Pork Tonkatsu

Where to eat Berkshire Pork Tonkatsu in Kagoshima:

Kurokatsutei is a well-known tonkatsu restaurant situated in the Kagoshima area. This restaurant is particularly famous for serving quality kurobuta at an affordable price. They serve various kinds of tonkatsu meal sets, and I chose the Berkshire Pork tonkatsu, which had a crispy coating and was juicy and succulent.

Kurokatsutei (黒かつ亭)
Address: 2-2 Yamashitacho, Kagoshima, 892-0816, Japan
Official Website: https://www.kurokatutei.net/
Price: Expected to pay ¥1,500–2,500

Yakiniku

Kagoshima Food Guide - Yakiniki

Yakiniku is a Japanese way of grilling meat and vegetables on tabletop grills. Some restaurants use electric grills or over-hot charcoals. The Kurobuta yakiniku is one of the signature meats in Kagoshima, and it certainly lived up to our expectations. It was juicy and tender.

What To Eat in Kagoshima - Yakiniku

We have Yakiniku for dinner during our visited to Kagoshima. The restaurant had traditional Japanese-style tatami seating and guests were dining in private rooms. We ordered our food using a tablet with an English language option. The restaurant offers variety of Yakiniku sets to choose from, including beef, pork, chicken, and vegetarian options.

Satsuma-age (deep-fried fish cake)

Satsuma-age is a type of deep-fried fish cake that comes in many variations. Some include mixed vegetables, while others have a spicy taste. The Kagoshima Satsuma-age, in particular, is seasoned with a slightly sweet flavor. When eaten, it has a tender texture and a mild sweetness. Locals enjoy eating it with sonju.

Shirokuma Polar Bear-Shaped Dessert

Shirokuma Polar Bear-Shaped Dessert

Aside from kurobuta pork, one of the must-try foods in Kagoshima is the famous shaved ice dessert.

Shirokuma (白熊), meaning white bear in Japanese, is a popular dessert from Kagoshima. It is a polar bear-shaped shaved ice with a generous amount of fruits on top and drizzled with condensed milk.

Tenmonkan Mujaki

The birthplace of this dessert is Tenmonkan Mujaki. This establishment has been around for at least 72 years and is credited for setting the trend for this popular dessert in the region. The flagship store is located in the shopping district of Kagoshima city center.

The ice is perfectly placed on the bowl, then milk and honey are drizzled all over it. These ingredients make the ice fluffy in texture and melt in your mouth.

Tenmonkan Mujaki (天文館むじゃき 本)
Address: 5-8 Sennichicho, Kagoshima, 892-0843, Japan

Kagoshima’s Local Products

Sakurajima Daikon

Sakurajima is a large volcano located in mainland Kagoshima. Its unique volcanic soil produces the giant Sakurajima daikon and mini Sakurajima mikans.

Daikon is a type of Japanese radish that has a long carrot-like shape. However, Sakurajima Daikon (桜島大根) are round and very large. The world’s largest radish was also grown in Sakurajima. Despite its appearance, Sakurajima daikon is very sweet and softer than regular daikon.

Sakurajima Daikon is commonly used in Japanese cuisine for dishes such as stewer, oden, as well as in salads and pickles.

Daikon pickles

Kagoshima is also known for satsuma-imo (Japanese Sweet potatoes). Kagoshima is the largest producer of sweet potatoes in Japan and is often referred to as the “Land of Sweet Potatoes”. One can find a wide range of products made from satsuma-imo, including ice cream, chips, cake, donuts, noodles, and even soju.

We tried the Daikon pickles and deep-fried satsuma-imo as an appetizer during our food hunt in Sakurajima.

Eat Satsuma mandarins

Sakurajima is known for producing some of the tiniest mikan (mandarin oranges) in the prefecture. In fact, Sakurajima mikans (桜島みかん) are believed to be the world’s smallest peelable mandarins.

Sakurajima mikan

Despite their size, they are packed with flavor and are incredibly sweet and juicy.

Kagoshima Traditional Sweets

Karukan, Kasutadon, and Yakidonatsu are the most popular traditional sweets in Kagoshima prefecture and the Kyushu region as a whole. These treats are well-known for their unique taste and are a perfect souvenir to take back home. You can find them in almost every souvenir shop in Kagoshima and other cities in Kyushu.

Satsuma Jokiya

Satsuma Jokiya is a shop that specializes in traditional sweets from Kagoshima. They sell a variety of treats, including karukan, kasutadon, and Yakidonatsu (baked donuts). The most popular item is the Kasutadon, a steamed cake made of sponge dough filled with custard cream that uses plenty of eggs from Kagoshima Prefecture.

Kagoshima Yakidonatsu

We also tried the fresh-baked Yakidonatsu in Kirishima and highly recommend it.

Overall: Kagoshima Food Guide

Overall, our trip to Kagoshima City was delightful. We had the opportunity to savor many of the city’s signature regional dishes and local produces, which I highly recommend you try during your visit. All the food we tasted was excellent, and we were not disappointed.

In short, with such a wide variety of culinary options available, you’re sure to find something to your liking on your next trip to Kagoshima. Enjoy your food trip to Kagoshima!

Traveling to Kagoshima? Here is our travel strories to Kagoshima Prefecture:

Visiting Kyushu and looking for some inspiration for what to do in Kyushu then be sure to read our Kyushu travel blog here: How To Plan Your Kyushu Itinerary: Ultimate Guide