Crab Cake Soup

Crab sake soup in the shell. Some casual restaurants in Japan (like izakaya) will cook a crab shell over a charcoal grill with the meat still in it and pour sake in as a kind of broth. The flavor is sharp; some love it, some hate it, and it is certainly considered down-and-dirty dining.

Daitokuji Beans

Daitokuji fermented black beans. Named after the Kyoto temple nearby which you can purchase these incredibly pungent delicacies, these dried beans generally only pair well with unfiltered or unpasteurized sake. Their powerful flavor (which some people find offensive) would probably overpower a nice, delicate ginjo.

The Narrow Road to Deep Yamagata

  Yamagata, meaning “shape of mountains,” is an appropriately named prefecture with distinctive rural character and a noticeably slower pace of life. It is one of Japan’s least populous prefectures and also home to one of its oldest average populations, despite the ruggedness of the terrain and climate. Even its larger cities seem sparsely populated…