Gyoza (meat-filled dumplings) is the local specialty of Utsunomiya, the prefectural capital of Tochigi prefecture. There are around 30 Gyoza specialty stores in Utsunomiya city, and is an indispensable iconic food for the people of Utsunomiya. In this article we will be introducing gyoza restaurants with great accessibility from Utsunomiya Station and especially loved by the locals. They are reasonably priced around 300 yen per plate, so it is recommended to eat at two or three different places while walking around!
About Utsunomiya Gyoza
Utsunomiya Gyoza is a local specialty of Utsunomiya city. Although there isn’t a clear distinction from usual gyozas, it is characterized as having less meat and more vegetables, and a modest amount of garlic compared to normal Gyoza. There are a variety of Gyoza such as Yakigyoza (grilled gyoza), Suigyoza (gyoza boiled in soup), and Agegyoza (fried gyoza). Many use leek, hakusai, and cabbage as ingredients. Moreover, the size of the skin, the thickness, stuffing, the way it is baked, and the sauce of the Gyoza differs from each shop. The Utsunomiya Gyoza Association (Utsunomiya Gyozakai) was launched in 1993, and there are approximately 80 stores affiliated with it currently.
Recommended Gyoza Restaurants of Utsunomiya 1: Utsunomiya Minmin - Main Branch
Utsunomiya Minmin is a long-established store and its name is definitely mentioned if the topic of Utsunomiya gyoza is brought up. Founded in 1958, it is a popular store that has people lined up even before it is open. On the menu there is Yaki ( grilled gyoza), Sui (soup gyoza), and Age (fried gyoza), each costs 230 yen. Having less garlic and more hakusai, and baked with sesame oil, it has a relatively light taste.
- Spot name: Utsunomiya Minmin - Main Branch
- Street address: 4-2-3 Babadori, Utsunomiya-shi, Tochigi-ken 320-0026
- Access: 15-minute walk from JR Utsunomiya Station
- Business Hours: 11:30 ~ 20:00 (last order)
- Regular Holidays: Tuesdays, two Wednesdays a month
Recommended Gyoza Restaurants of Utsunomiya 2: Kirasse - Main Branch
A gyoza theme park where famous Gyoza shops are gathered. It is recommended for people who want to eat and compare between a variety of Gyoza. Located on the first floor basement of “MEGA Don Quijote La Park Utsunomiya”, there are two areas: a permanent area and an area that shops rotate out daily. At the permanent area, there are 5 shops, including the aforementioned Utsunomiya Minmin, and in the daily rotation area, 10 out of 34 shops associated with Utsunomiya Gyozakai are rotated daily. In addition, at the Gyoza workshop, Gyoza making method is introduced and you can observe gyoza making by professional chefs from behind the glass. There are also shops that sell souvenirs related to Gyoza.
- Spot name: Kirasse - Main Branch
- Street address: MEGA Don Quijote La Park Utsunomiya 2-3-12 Babadori, Utsunomiya-shi, Tochigi-ken 320-0026
- Access: 20-minute walk from JR Utsunomiya Station
- Business Hours: 11:00 ~ 20:30 (last order at 20:00), Saturday, Sunday and Holidays from 11:00 ~ 23:00 (last order at 22:30)
- Regular Holidays: None
Recommended Gyoza Restaurants of Utsunomiya 3: Koran
Founded in 1960, Koran features gyoza with thick and squishy skin with bread flour as ingredient. The stuffing consists of mainly cabbage and onions, giving it a mildly sweet flavour. The Yakigyoza (grilled gyoza), Agegyoza (fried gyoza), and Suigyoza (soup gyoza) costs 250 yen each. Among these, the Agegyoza with a crusty exterior and squishy interior is recommended.
- SSpot name: Koran
- Street address: 1-24 Honcho, Utsunomiya-shi, Tochigi-ken 320-0033
- Access: 5-minute walk from JR Utsunomiya Station
- Business Hours: 11:30 ~ 22:00 (last order)
- Regular Holidays: None