Tako Meshi in Kyushu: A Culinary Adventure with Octopus Rice


A journey through Japan’s culinary delights goes beyond sushi and ramen. One particularly delicious dish known in Kyushu, Japan’s third-largest island, is “Tako Meshi” or Octopus Rice. Let’s explore together the richness it brings to Kyushu’s diverse food culture!

What is “Tako Meshi”?

Tako Meshi is a regional dish that has been made in various areas of Japan for a long time. It is particularly famous in the Kyushu region for its tender and delicious octopus.

There are two methods to prepare Tako Meshi. The first method involves rehydrating dried octopus, finely chopping it, seasoning it with ingredients like burdock, carrots, hijiki, and mixing it with cooked rice.

The second method involves cooking the octopus and rice together, using the water from rehydrating the dried octopus as a broth, and seasoning it with soy sauce, sake, and sugar.

History of Tako Meshi

Ariake Tako road

Tako Meshi originated in Kyushu, specifically in the old fishing communities of the island. The people of Kyushu, known for their seafaring lifestyle, had easy access to a wide variety of seafood, including octopus. Octopus quickly became a staple in their diet and an essential ingredient in local dishes.

Tako Meshi emerged as a hearty and nourishing meal that showcased the unique texture and flavor of octopus, laying the foundation for this culinary tradition.

Kyushu is renowned for its delicious octopus, and the traditional fishing method involves submerging octopus pots in the sea.

Initially, dried octopus was preserved for the winter when fresh octopus was scarce. However, its rich umami flavor made it a popular choice for dishes like Tako Meshi.

Variations of Octopus cooking in Kyushu

In Kyushu, there are various dishes that feature octopus in addition to Tako Meshi.

Tako Chanpon

Champon is a popular noodle dish that originated in Kyushu, Japan. It is known for its diverse range of fresh ingredients, including fish, shrimp, squid, shellfish, kamaboko, cabbage, green onions, and bean sprouts.

These ingredients are stir-fried and seasoned with a flavorful soup made from chicken and pork bones. The dish is then served with thick noodles and simmered to perfection.

While Champon is a well-known traditional dish in the Kyushu region, it has gained popularity throughout the country.

Tako Champon is a local specialty in the Kunisaki Peninsula area of Kyushu. It stands out for its generous use of octopus tentacles and other ingredients.

Tako Tendon

Tempura Donburi, also known as Ten-don, is a representative dish in Japan where tempura is placed on top of a bowl of rice.

The ingredients for tempura often include shrimp and vegetables, but depending on the region, there are unique variations using local specialties.

Among them, the Tako Tempura Donburi from the Kunisaki Peninsula in Kyushu is known as a rare menu item in Japan, and it is a must-try dish when visiting the area.

Tako Pasta

Are you familiar with seafood pasta?

Tako Pasta is a variation of seafood pasta that abundantly incorporates octopus. In areas where delicious octopus is available in Kyushu, many restaurants include Tako Pasta in their menus.

Experience the delightful charm of Tako Meshi

Join us on a culinary adventure exploring Tako Meshi, a dish that epitomizes the rich food culture of Kyushu. From its historical roots and diverse ingredients to the cooking methods and regional variations, every aspect of this dish showcases the harmonious flavors and deep traditions in Kyushu’s cuisine.

Embarking on the Tako Meshi journey allows you to savor the essence of the island, passed down through generations and enjoyed with every delicious bite. Whether you’re a food enthusiast or an adventurous traveler, experiencing Tako Meshi is a journey to the heart of Kyushu.

At INAKAdventure, we support the exploration of local Japanese cuisine! Let’s plan your journey to discover authentic flavors together right away.

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