Restaurants in Kirishima are always promising if you want to savor an array of great tastes. This time, we are going to look at four classic specialties.
Kagoshima Prefecture is home to three varieties of high-quality chicken. For example, “Kurosatsuma chicken” is raised and produced by “Toriniku Daisaku” (literally the chicken meat masterpiece), a farm with high-grade produce and a direct sales center in Kirishima city. The city is like a one-stop local chicken gourmet boutique with a range of choices such as grilled or fried chicken, and chicken rice, etc. The tender chicken is characterized by its perfect fat-to-meat ratio.
Local chicken restaurants are concentrated in the southern area centered on JR Kokubu station. “Kagoshima Chicken Cuisine Specialty MIYAMA Honpo Kokubu branch” and “Restaurant KURARA”, are particularly famous. Prices are around 500 yen – 1,000 yen, with set meals in the range of 1,000 yen – 2,000 yen.
Kirishima Legend Bokke Luxury Pot
Kirishima legend bokke is a hotpot dish comprising premium meats from Kirishima- “Kirishima aged legend pork”, Kirishima aged legend black pork, Kirishima aged legend white pork, and local farm-fresh vegetables. It is commonly believed that the hotpot originated as the yearlong trial and error taste test of a local chef who loves Kirishima. There are three broth options - savory miso pork, mellow soymilk, and deep-tasting soy sauce, and they all taste divine. “Bokke” actually means “bold” in Kagoshima dialect.
This amazing Kirishima legend bokke pot is served in many hotels and restaurants, though most of them require reservations or are only for hotel guests. Try out “Hotel Kirishima Castle”, “Kirishima Onsen Society” if you do not plan on staying overnight.
All three flavors are available in both restaurants so you can indulge in your preference. The price is usually around 2,000 yen -5,000 yen and combined with one night's accommodation is about 10,000 yen per person.
Kurosu Black Vinegar
Fukuyama town in Kirishima has been famous for the production of black vinegar for centuries. The vinegar is not prepared in normal factories but in a natural environment with ceramic jars. It is extremely rare to witness such traditional production methods that are exactly the same as they were 200 years ago. The only ingredients are steamed rice, koji (a fermenting mold that grows on rice), and natural spring water. It takes 1-3 years of fermentation and ageing to achieve the beautiful amber color and great aroma. Black vinegar is a wonderful seasoning and thus a perfect choice for a souvenir.
For black vinegar cuisine, visit “The Black Vinegar Village KAKUIDA”, “SAKAMOTO’s Black Vinegar TSUBOBATAKE”. In these restaurants, you can enjoy dining in view of rows of vinegar jars. Lunch is available at around 1,500 yen - 3,000 yen; desserts and drinks are around 400 yen – 1,000 yen. The restaurants also sell vinegar products so you can take your pick of souvenirs at various prices: a small 150ml bottle of vinegar, for example, is available for 500 yen – 1,000 yen.
Sweet Potato Confections
Sweet potatoes are cultivated throughout Japan, and Kagoshima is the top producer in the country as its plateau formed by pyroclastic volcanic activity is ideally suited to growing sweet potatoes. How about sweetening your memories of Kirishima with desserts made with sweet potatoes such as tarts and yokan jellies?
Sweet potato confection stores are concentrated in the south of the city. You can find a wide range of choices in different shops: head to “Kumenya” if you are a fan of Japanese-style confections and to “Festivalo Hayato Kokubun shop” for western-style sweets. These shops sells box sets; small ones with five confections are usually under 1,000 yen and large ones with 10 range from 1,000 yen - 3,000 yen.