What to eat in the Goto Islands



The Goto Islands are known as a haven for persecuted Christians, as they are the first landing ports for ships arriving from China and the last glimpse seen of Japan by the envoys as they depart for China across the East China Sea. This rich history and connection to the world, a bucolic landscape, and their dependence on agriculture and farming, create a unique foodie paradise.

  • 01

    Sushi at Yagurazushi

    The Goto islands are famous for fresh seafood. Sea urchin is recommended, but there are many seafood delicacies from the Gotonada Sea. Grilled miso filled Trunkfish is a local favorite. The fish is filled with miso, young onions, sake, and mirin, and, then, grilled. Bluefin tuna, oysters, dried squid, mackerel, herring, and puffer fish are also available. If you just can’t make up your mind, try the Kaisen don, which is a bowl of rice topped with fresh seafood. Yagurazushi is a reasonably priced sushi and seafood restaurant with a broad menu, about 10 minutes’ walk from Fukue Port.

  • 02

    Goto Udon w/ Tororo Konbu at Aburauri

    Goto Udon is one of the three famous udon noodles in Japan. They are made by hand, stretching the noodles using locally sourced camellia oil. They can be cooked in chicken broth or a hot pot with flying fish and raw egg or served with soy sauce or a dipping sauce made from local flying fish. The noodles have a slightly firm, chewy texture. Aburauri is on Naru Island, 7 minutes on foot from Naruto Port - you can’t miss this fire-engine red building. Only open from 10am to 6pm.

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  • 03

    Goto Steak at Mochizuki

    Although Nagasaki beef is not as famous as some other brands, it has won the top honors at the “Wagyu Olympics.” Some of the famous Wagyu breeds have their origins here. The grasses that the Goto cattle feed on are filled with minerals, giving them a very tender and succulent flavor. Mochizuki is a casual dining restaurant, which is open for lunch and dinner. The portion sizes are large by Japanese standards and they offer course meals at reasonable prices. The steak is, sometimes, cooked with a spicy pepper dry rub but you can request to your taste. Reservations are suggested. It is located in Fukue, just across the river from Yasaka shrine.

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  • 04

    Champon at Mikanya

    Champon, with Fujanese roots, was birthed in Nagasaki. The dish was first served as a healthy meal to Chinese students during the Meiji period. Champon is a fried pork, seafood, and vegetable dish, with soup made from chicken and pig bones and thick noodles. A binding agent called ”Touaku” preserves the noodles, increases flavor, and provides a unique texture. Mikanya is a nostalgic, casual dining spot, which has been open for about 50 years, and is located a short drive from the Egami church in Egami village, on Naru Island. Chanpon is usually made with a pork broth, but, here, they use a fish-based soup.

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  • 05

    Kankoro Mochi at Yamato Shokujitoko

    Known as a local soul food, Kankoro mochi is still nostalgically sent as gifts during the New Year’s holiday to families who’ve left the islands. It is a sweet made from locally grown sun-dried and steamed sweet potatoes, mixed with rice and formed into a small cakes. As with other Japanese sweets, the flavor is mild. Some people add ginger or sesame and some say the best way to eat it is grilled. Kankoro mocha is the most famous food of the Goto islands and a must try. Yamato Shokujitoko is on Fukue Island, a 10 minute walk from Tomieko Ryokuchi Park.

    Yamato Restaurant
    Nagasaki Goto-shi Tomiemachi Tomie 195