Hideki Tazawa's Advice List

Hideki Tazawa image Hideki Tazawa Japan 41 years in Japan

My nickname is “ The Okaki Sommelier ™ ”.

I am the president of the Japan Okaki & Senbei Sommelier Association, an innovative promotion and providing activities focused on Japanese style culture.

https://jp.linkedin.com/in/hidekitazawa

Awa Odori (阿波おどり) – Summer Festival in Tokushima Prefecture images

Awa Odori (阿波おどり) – Summer Festival in Tokushima Prefecture

Tokushima Prefecture is located on Shikoku island and they hold one of the most famous dance festivals across Japan once a year in summer. Awa Odori has a very long history whose origins date back 400 years and everybody knows this traditional arts in Japan. The festival attracts large numbers of d…(380 words)

Hideki Tazawa image

Hideki Tazawa

Summer festival Tokushima Visit City Japan History Music Bus Osaka
The Largest Whirlpools in the world – Naruto Whirlpools images

The Largest Whirlpools in the world – Naruto Whirlpools

The Naruto whirlpools (鳴門の渦潮 Naruto no Uzushio) are tidal whirlpools in the Naruto Strait, which is one of the largest in the world. I have visited the Naruto Strait many times and it’s been always very exciting experience. I would recommend this unique site as a must see for visitors. The spe…(214 words)

Hideki Tazawa image

Hideki Tazawa

City Japan Spring Sea view Osaka Shikoku Kobe Tokushima
The world-famous Nara Daibutsu (Big Buddha of Nara), images

The world-famous Nara Daibutsu (Big Buddha of Nara),

Recently I had a chance to visit Nara with my family. In Nara, we have the largest wooden building in the world, called Todai-ji and you can view the Great Buddha housed inside Todai-ji temple complex. The Nara Daibutsu is officially called Rushana Buddha and commonly known as “Nara-no-Daibutsu-sa…(88 words)

Hideki Tazawa image

Hideki Tazawa

Nara Visit City Building Tera (Temple) view Traditional Japanese Todai-ji Temple
Skipjack Tuna (Katsuo) in Japanese cuisine images

Skipjack Tuna (Katsuo) in Japanese cuisine

Skipjack tuna is used extensively in Japanese cuisine, where it is known as katsuo. It is smoked and dried to make katsuobushi, the central ingredient in dashi(=a common Japanese fish stock).Besides being used as katsuobushi, it can be eaten seared (katsuo tataki) and raw in sushi and sashimi. As…(69 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Cuisine Japanese cuisine Sushi Sashimi (Raw fish) Fish cooking
Japanese Fish Markets images

Japanese Fish Markets

As Japan is surrounded by ocean, we have a lot of famous fish markets with fresh fish. Usually such markets have a couple of restaurants inside the market and they serve great fish dishes. I recommend you to check out local fish markets and include one of them in your sightseeing itinerary!(52 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Mount Fuji Souvenir Rice cracker
Japanese Omelette, “Dashimaki tamago” images

Japanese Omelette, “Dashimaki tamago”

Dashi-maki tamago is basically a Japanese-style omelette made by rolling up the egg as you cook it. Very popular recipe in Japanese restaurant. It is made with dashi broth so it's packed with extra flavor and a bit of sweetness from the sugar. Usually it is served with grated radish (“daikon oroshi…(71 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Restaurant style Eat Sugar
Japanese sweets : “Habutae-mochi” images

Japanese sweets : “Habutae-mochi”

When you visit Fukui prefecture, I would like to recommend its famous sweets “Habutae-mochi” for souvenir. They are made of glutinous rice and have a very smooth texture. The name comes from how it look so fine and beautiful like silk fabrics. It is most agreeable to the taste!(49 words)

Hideki Tazawa image

Hideki Tazawa

Mochi (Rice cake) Visit Souvenir Fukui
What is “Okaki” Sommelier? images

What is “Okaki” Sommelier?

One of the famous traditional snacks in Japan are “Okaki” made of rice (glutinous rice). They are also known as “Arare” or “Kakimochi”. Okaki sommeliers are to recommend best selections of Okaki in terms of material, texture and taste and advise people about unique ways to enjoy eating them and its…(52 words)

Hideki Tazawa image

Hideki Tazawa

Traditional Snacks Okaki Arare
Japanese sweets : “Monaka” images

Japanese sweets : “Monaka”

One of the most popular sweets among Japanese people is “Monaka”, which is made of rice (glutinous rice). Glutinous rice is kneaded and spread into a thin layer. It becomes a skin of monaka and bean jam will be put inside. The name of “Monaka” is said to have come from that they look like a full mo…(99 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Sweets Cherry blossom Yuzu Seasonal Traditional
Japanese sweets : “Tansan Senbei” images

Japanese sweets : “Tansan Senbei”

Thin and round carbonic acid rice cracker is mainly made of flour. They really melt in your mouth and taste slightly sweet. They are famous confections of Arima hot springs located in Hyogo prefecture. Arima Onsen is the hot spring loved by Hideyoshi Toyotomi, a famous historical personage in Japa…(66 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Sweets Rice cracker Spring Onsen Hyogo Arima Onsen
Japanese sweets : “Kaichu Shiruko” images

Japanese sweets : “Kaichu Shiruko”

Kaichu Shiruko is a dried red bean soup put inside a pieces of rice cake (“Monaka” skin). It becomes ready for eating with hot water having been poured in the cup just like the cup ramen (instant Chinese noodles in a cup). As there are a variety of shapes, you can enjoy both its look as well as tas…(88 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Sweets Souvenir Ramen noodles Mochi (Rice cake) Shop Cake
Japanese sweets : “Yatsuhashi” images

Japanese sweets : “Yatsuhashi”

When you visit one of Japanese historic city, Kyoto, I would like to recommend its famous sweets “Yatsuhashi” for souvenir. It’s hard baked cracker having a cinnamon flavor. The name comes from Kengyo Yatsuhashi, a good “koto”(a long Japanese zither) player. Therefore Yatsuhashi cracker looks like …(57 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Sweets City Visit Kyoto Souvenir
How to Enjoy Japanese Summer : Yukata images

How to Enjoy Japanese Summer : Yukata

One of the joy in summer is to wear Japanese summer version of Kimono “Yukata” and go out. People enjoy taking walks in the city in their favorite Yukata or shopping at food stalls on the day of Hanabi festivals. Please enjoy fabulous fireworks in the summer night sky! *Staff*Kimono dresser…(108 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Summer Yukata (Light kimono) Japanese Summer City Shopping Food Kimono Fireworks Stalls
Learn Japanese Traditional Culture : Tea Ceremony images

Learn Japanese Traditional Culture : Tea Ceremony

By learning Japanese tea ceremony, you will derive much pleasure in various things by doing the followings. - Put yourself in a special environment of tea ceremony room away from busy daily life- Enjoy seasonal Japanese confectioneries over green tea- Encounter with various lovely tea utens…(150 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Tea Green tea green Sounds
Children’s Day images

Children’s Day

Kodomo-no-hi falls on May 5, called "Tango-no-sekku", Boys' festival. In Japan, we have various customs on the day. We hang out carp streamers (Koinobori) or decorate the Boys' May Festival dolls to pray that boys in the house will live their lives strongly as well as to drive out an evil spirit. O…(87 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Children Mochi (Rice cake) Dolls Live Children's Day (Japan)
What is Okaki? images

What is Okaki?

Okaki is one of Japanese traditional snacks made of rice (glutinous rice). In order to make okaki, rice is first polished, cleaned and steamed to make into mochi. When mochi is hardened, it will be cut into smaller pieces for drying. This drying process is the most difficult step for professional o…(83 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Wagashi Mochi (Rice cake) Okaki Rice cracker
“Hina-arare” - Grilled bits of rice cake for the Girls' Festival images

“Hina-arare” - Grilled bits of rice cake for the Girls' Festival

“Hina-arare” are sweet rice cakes eaten for the Girls’ Festival on March 3. There are mainly two kinds depending on what they are made of; glutinous rice and ordinary rice. Kanto people are more familiar with the one made of ordinary rice while Kansai people are more familiar with glutinous rice on…(76 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Mochi (Rice cake) Kansai Kanto Cake Okaki Arare
Title: Sweets related to Sakura flowers images

Title: Sweets related to Sakura flowers

The “Sakura” is one of the representative flowers of spring in Japan and we Japanese love them.There are a lot of sweets related to the Sakura such as Sakura-mochi (rice cake with bean paste wrapped in a preserved cherry lea), Sakura-manjyu (steamed bun), Sakura-ame (candies) , Sakura-yokan (swee…(91 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Spring Cherry blossom Mochi (Rice cake) Cherry Rice cracker Flower Sweets Cake
Cheers with Japanese Sake images

Cheers with Japanese Sake

Sake is the representative alcohol in Japan. They are a liquor made by fermentation of rice and they are also called “Seisyu”.The Kyoto municipal government was the first to establish so-called “kampai ordinances”, to promote the spread of refined sake made in Kyoto city. The government aims to s…(96 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

City Kyoto Visit Sake (Rice wine)
Hanami Dango (Three-color dumpling) images

Hanami Dango (Three-color dumpling)

Sanshoku Dango (dango of three colors)is a skewered dango formed of one pink dumpling, one non-colored white dumpling and one green dumpling. Each color has a meaning : cherry blossom in spring, snow in winter and grass in summer. Wagashi (Japanese sweets) is one of the wonderful Japanese culture d…(67 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Bento (box meal) Summer Spring Winter Cherry blossom Cherry Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing) Snow Sweets Dango (Sweet dumplings)
Yaikagashi (burn and smell) at Setsubun images

Yaikagashi (burn and smell) at Setsubun

On Setsubun day (February 3rd), there is a culture to make "Yaikagashi" (a holly sprig with a baked sardine's head). Japanese people have a time-honored custom of putting this "Yaikagashi"at their door on Setsubun (the traditional end of winter) to ward off evil spirits. They may look a little bit …(73 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Winter Setsubun
The Doll's Festival images

The Doll's Festival

The Doll's Festival (March 3rd) is the day to celebrate the growth of girls. As bringers of good luck, we eat rhombus-shaped mochi and Hina-arare (sweetened rice-flour cakes for offering at the Dolls' Festival). Hina-arare have 4 colorful rice cakes (pink, green, yellow and white) representing four…(93 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Trip Mochi (Rice cake) Rice cracker Hinaarare Japanse event
"Furoshiki" can be a great gift! images

"Furoshiki" can be a great gift!

Furoshiki is known as traditional culture representing Japanese Culture and it can be a great souvenir. Furoshiki can be used not only as a cloth wrapper for special presents but also as a part of your fashion. It's very neat to have your own favorite Furoshiki pattern and/or size. If you are inter…(80 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Furoshiki Souvenir Harajuku Fashion
Yuzuyu (bathing with Yuzu) in winter. images

Yuzuyu (bathing with Yuzu) in winter.

There are a lot of customs in Japan and many of them are associated with healthy life. One of the examples is the yuzu bath in winter, known commonly as yuzuyu. It is said to improve blood circulation, guard against colds, warm the body, and cure neuralgia and pain in the lower back. I hope you wil…(96 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Winter Yuzu
Kagami biraki: The opening of New Year's rice cakes images

Kagami biraki: The opening of New Year's rice cakes

Kagami biraki is the practice of eating the kagamimochi (round mirror-shaped rice cakes) that were offered to the gods. It is supposed to bring a sense of closure to Osyogatsu (New Year’s Holidays). Kagami biraki is to get power from the year gods to live happily for one year. For Kagami biraki, pe…(92 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Holidays Mochi (Rice cake) New year
Itami in Hyogo Prefecture images

Itami in Hyogo Prefecture

Itami city is located in Hyogo Prefecture – known as a town for Itami Airport. Itami is also known as a is the birthplace of Seishu (refined sake). They have the oldest Sake storehouse in existence that is clear when it was build. They are important cultural property that pass on the history of t…(91 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

City Tea Airport History Sake (Rice wine) Hyogo
Kendama images

Kendama

A kendama is a Japanese traditional toy. It can be played anywhere and popular among many people regardless of age. There are different tricks for the toy and you are required to master them if you are to join special competitions. I think Kendama can be used as an unique and effective tool when yo…(80 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Toy
Karuta ! images

Karuta !

Karuta is Japanese traditional playing cards and people enjoy Karuta during New Year’s holidays. The game uses two types of cards – Yomifuda and Efuda. When the reader reads out a poem on the yomifuda, players quickly search for matching efuda. Usually there is one reader and Karuta is played by mo…(79 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

New year Game Holidays Playing
Use Hashi (chopsticks) in order to be different! images

Use Hashi (chopsticks) in order to be different!

There are some different types of suchi such as Nigiri and Gunkan-maki. Gunkan maki is a sushi made by wrapping rice with dried seaweed around its perimeter and placing “neta” on rice. When neta seems to drop if you try to dip gunkan maki in soy source, it is one of very smart manners to pick up Ga…(104 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Chopstick Restaurant Etiquette Sushi
Enjoy “Setsubun” (Bean throwing ceremony)! images

Enjoy “Setsubun” (Bean throwing ceremony)!

“Setsubun” is the day before the first day of spring, which falls on February 3rd. In the evening of this day, we throw roasted soy beans inside and outside our houses with a cry of "Fuku wa uchi, Oni wa soto!" meaning "Out with the devil! In with good fortune!" Sometimes, we pick someone to play a…(101 words)

Hideki Tazawa image

Hideki Tazawa

Setsubun Event Holidays Surgical mask Spring
Fried rice crackers are very popular! images

Fried rice crackers are very popular!

Some rice crackers are fried in oil and they are called “Age-mochi”. They are well-seasoned with salt or soy source. Also, “Age-senbei” is also very popular. Cooked nonglutinous rice is flattened and dried before being fried.(36 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Salt Rice cracker Fried rice
Most popular sushi fish is tuna! images

Most popular sushi fish is tuna!

Tuna is very popular sushi fish in Japan. There are three kinds of tuna – re “Otoro (belly of tuna. Fatty tuna, Taste great!)”, “Chutoro (medium fatty tuna)” and “Akami (lean tuna)”. They are usually eaten with soy source (Shoyu, sometimes called “Murasaki” in sushi restaurants) and a little bit of…(95 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Tokyo Sushi Soy sauce Osaka Horse radish
You might want to tell them a list of your favorite sushi fish! images

You might want to tell them a list of your favorite sushi fish!

It is hard for anyone to learn how to order at a traditional sushi restaurant if you go there for the first time. Not all sushi restaurants can serve you in English either. I would recommend you to study online in advance and pick up your favorite sushi dish or bring their photos. Also, it is a goo…(89 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Restaurant Sushi Communication
Cheese-flavor “Okaki” (rice crackers) for wine! images

Cheese-flavor “Okaki” (rice crackers) for wine!

As many people enjoy cheese together with wine, some Japanese people 'mariage' (marriage) Okaki and wines as a good combination. Because we do have cheese-flavor Okaki! Once you try it, you cannot stop eating them while holding a glass of wine in your hand. They taste so good and addictive! As…(67 words)

Hideki Tazawa image

Hideki Tazawa

Wine Rice cracker
Candies! images

Candies!

Some Japanese people always have some candies in their bags and pockets. They are good when you get tired and they can quench your thirst too. You can always give away a little sweet present too– one of very convenient communication tools. This is a well-known fact especially in Kansai area!(51 words)

Hideki Tazawa image

Hideki Tazawa

Kansai Communication
Go out in Yukata! images

Go out in Yukata!

I would recommend to enjoy Hanabi (fireworks), popular summer event in Japan. Since you wish to enjoy Japanese summer style, find a nice “yukata” for yourself to truly enjoy Japanese summer! Don’t forget to enjoy some “Kakigori” (shaved ice), “Ramune” juice(lemon pop juice) and “Watagashi”(cotton c…(73 words)

Hideki Tazawa image

Hideki Tazawa

Event Souvenir Yukata (Light kimono) Juice Summer
Enjoy Japanese confectionary in Autumn! images

Enjoy Japanese confectionary in Autumn!

We have the four seasons in Japan. Autumn is the season where you can enjoy a variety of Japanese confectionary created based on unique foods and sceneries in Autumn. Japanese people enjoy such special sweets by putting them on their favorite dishes or taking pictures as one of precious ways to app…(64 words)

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Hideki Tazawa

Autumn
Warm up yourself in winter! images

Warm up yourself in winter!

We don’t have snow all over Japan. Those who live in areas with a little snow cannot be too excited when it snows. They will dare to go freezing outside to enjoy Yuki-gassen (snowballs) or make a snowman. Before they know it, they can be sweating while playing in the snow.(52 words)

Hideki Tazawa image

Hideki Tazawa

Playing Snow Winter
“Oshiruko” can make you hot from the core of your body! images

“Oshiruko” can make you hot from the core of your body!

“Oshiruko” is one of the most popular winter foods in winter. Oshiruko is a sweet red-bean soup with mochi or shira-tama (rice‐flour dumplings). It tastes very sweet and keeps you warm especially during cold season where people consume energy a lot. Some people enjoy putting “Arare” (very small ri…(58 words)

Hideki Tazawa image

Hideki Tazawa

Mochi (Rice cake) Oshiruko (Sweet red bean soup) Winter
Nori-maki Senbei (rice cracker in laver) images

Nori-maki Senbei (rice cracker in laver)

Although there are a variety of Senbei (rice crackers) with different seasonings and foods in Japan, Nori-maki Senbei is probably the best and most popular one. Soy source slightly scorched and laver provide you with pleasant aroma. Enjoy a pleasant crispy feeling of laver too!(45 words)

Hideki Tazawa image

Hideki Tazawa

Rice cracker