Shonan Pancake

Home Made Fresh Pancakes in Central Odawara

Shonan Pankake is a friendly little restaurant located in central Odawara. The young and friendly team takes great pride in their small but good line-up of salty and sweet pankakes. They also serve French style gallette and American style egg dishes. It is a great place to relax and to enjoy casual Western food when one needs a break from Japanese cuisine.


Shonan Pancake Front

Pancakes are made to order and it takes about 15 minutes until they are served. But the fluffy american style pancakes are just delicious and it is worth waiting. The pancakes in the many can be further enhanced through a range of sweet or salty toppings at extra charge. They also have salads for those who want to also have some veggies.

Prices are not cheap but still reasonable considering that each pancake is made to order and served with fresh fruits and other godo ingredients.

The restaurant is located at the national road 1 and has a few parking lots.

〒250-0012 Kanagawa-ken, Odawara-shi, Honchō, 2 Chome6−1 ‎


Italian Restaurant Sora Anna

Casual Atmosphere in Italian Restaurant Sora Anna in Hakone Miyanoshita

Sora Anna is a little Italian restaurant in Miyanoshita. It opened in spring 2013 and is run by just a couple and therefore has a very casual family like atmosphere.

At lunch they only serve a menu at 1500 Yen, which consists of a soup, a starter and a main main dish to be chosen from a list of 3 to 4 dishes. Many dishes use local fish specialties and about 2 pasta dishes use fresh made pasta. The flavor of the menu is very nice and the quantity enough to satisfy a foreigner. Unfortunately there is no English menu yet, but the owners do their best to explain the menu and ingredients.

There are three parking lots next to the restaurant and a bus station in walking proximity.

Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa-ken 240-0404, Miyanoshita 105

Tel: 0460-83-8016

Italian Restaurant La Terrazza at Lake Ashinoko

Italian Food on the border of Lake Ashinoko – La Terrazza

La Terrazza is a nice Italian restaurant on the border of Lake Ashiniko. It has two floors and has a large window front on the lakeside, so that customers can enjoy the beautiful scenery during their meal. In summer they open a large terrace just next to the water.

The menu is large and covers pizza, pasta, risotto and many Italian desserts. Pizza is made in a real pizza oven in an open style kitchen. They do not force people to have a meal and one can just have a small break with a coffee or cake. Prices are very reasonable considering that the restaurant is located at a very touristic spot. English language menus are available.

The chef tries to use local food as much as possible. Anchovy are homemade from local sardines and vegetables and fruits are sourced from local farmers.

The restaurant is part of a complex consisting of a small museum and a large shop selling many Japanese design products. When the restaurant is fully booked customers add their names to the waiting list and get called when a table got free. You can have a walk through the shop whilst waiting and hear when your name is called anywhere in the La Terrazza complex due to the speakers. It is a great business idea but also very convenient for customers.

Tel: 0460-83-1074
250-0522 Kanagawa, Hakone City, Motohakone 61


Odawara Forest Adventure Park

Forest Adventure Odawara

Have fun and enjoy nature at Odawara Forest Adventure

Odawara is surrounded by forests and hills and it therefore is not surprising to find this kind of outdoor park here. The Forest Adventure is part of an organization that runs of few similar parks throughout Japan. Forest Adventure is an aerial course built through the trees comprising various ladders, bridges, swings, nets, trapezes and giant zip lines!

Reservations need to be made in advance and can be done through their English website. When arriving at the site you will first receive a short briefing in sufficiently good English. You should have solid shoes (sneakers are enough, but not sandals) and wear clothes that can become dirty. You can rent some stuff on site and change yourself in a cabin onsite.

The coach will then accompany you through the park and support you during the various stations. He will also allow you to choose between the more or less difficult exercises.

Odawara Forest Adventure is a lot of fun for kids and adults who want to experience about 2 hours outdoor adventures in a casual atmosphere.

Dress like a Samurai or Japanese Princess

Costume Photo Odawara Castle

Take a picture of you wearing a historical costume

You can rent armor and kimonos in the main square Honmaru of Odawara castle. You can have your photo taken in Samurai dress in front of the castle’s main building in order to remember the occasion.

Adults: 200 Yen
Students: 100 Yen

Opening hours:
Monday to Sunday 10:00 – 16:00
(Admission until 15:30)

Odawara Umeshu Plum Wine


Enjoy local Umeshu plum liquor

Ume Plums are one of the main agricultural products of Odawara. They are mainly used to make umeboshi (plums pickled in salt). But when soaked in alcohol these plums turn into a delicious sweet and refreshing drink. In Odawara umeshu plum wine is made by the local sake breweries. The plums are therefore soaked in sake.

The result is an ume plum wine that is not to sweet with a nice balance of acid. It is best consumed on ice or with with soda. Below gallery shows a few popular regional brands.

Here is a list of local retailers with Umeshu from Odawara on sale:

Chinriu Honten:

Chinriu Honten is a fine foods maker with a large line-up of ume products. They not only have umeshu from Odawara but have a selection of plum wines from all over Japan. And last but not least they allow to taste all wines…


Maruto is a tourist shop near Odawara station. They also sell local sake brands including umshu from Odawara. Unfortunately they don’t allow to taste before making a purchase.

Hakone Free Pass

Hakone Free Pass

The best & cheapest way to get around in Hakone

We recommend purchasing a Hakone Free Pass (valid for 2 days or 3 days) at Shinjuku Station on the Odakyu Line. These convenient passes can be used to ride on most public transport in the Hakone area.

Hakone Free Pass: 5,000 yen (2 days) and 5,500 yen (3 days) from Shinjuku Station on the Odakyu Line as well as  at Odawara station or Yumoto Station in Hakone.

Salt Pickled Cherry Blossoms

Japanese Cherry Blossoms
Production of Pickled Cherry BlossomsOdawara accounts for close to 100% of Japanese production of edible salt pickled cherry blossoms.

Japanese pickle cherry blossoms in salt since centuries in order to make the available outside the season. Fresh cherry blossoms are soaked on ume plum vinegar to preserve the pink color and then pickled in salt.

Pickled cherry blossoms are originally used to make sakura tea, which is used on special occasions such as weddings. When cooked together with rice, the blossoms not only create a beautiful contrast but the rice also takes the flowery aroma of the blossoms.

Nowadays pickled sakura cherry blossoms made their entry into the world of deserts. There is a growing number of Japanese and Western recipes with sakura. Here is a collection of such recipes on the Internet.

In Odawara you will find a good selection of sakura products such as pickled sakura, sakura jamm sakura syrup and more at Chinriu Honten, a traditional shop with more than 140 years of history close to Odawara station.

Sakura Products banner

Change Money in Odawara

Odawara Post Office

The best place to change money in Odawara are the post office or the ATM at Seven Eleven.

Post Office

There is a large post office in walking distance of Odawara station or Odawara castle. You will have to fill an application with your name and your address as well as the amount and currency you want to change. Usually some staff will be available in case you need some help.

Address: 250-8799 Kanagawa, Odawara, Sakae-cho 1-13-13
Tel: 0465-22-6005
Opening hours for money exchange: Monday – Friday from 9am to 4pm

Seven Eleven

There are two Seven Elevens close to the station. One is directly at the East exit of the station and one is on the way to the castle. Both markets are equipped with ATMs that also accept foreign cards.

Volunteer Translater Service

Volunteer Translator Odawara Hakone

Odawara has a volunteer organization that supports foreign tourists who do not speak Japanese. The Odawara Hakone Systematized Goodwill Guide Club consists of a few locals who provide free translation service during their spare time. They also join many festivals in Odawara and Hakone to help foreign visitors.

Requests for translation support are made online and should be made at least 2 to 3 days in advance.

Odawara Tourist Rest House NARIWAI KORYUKAN

Odawara Rest House

This building from 1932 close to the shore originally belonged to a wholesaler of fishnets. The house represents a typical merchant’s house in the style prevalent of the Edo period. The front of the second floor has bay windows that create the unique atmosphere of a traditional Japanese inn. It has been renovated in 2001 and now serves as a facility for local citizens and travelers. Entrance is free including a cup of tea.

The Odawara Rest house also is the location of the “Make a Japanese Paper Lantern” experience.

Opening Hours:
Kanagawa, Odawara, 3-6-23 Honcho


Shiokara – Salt Pickled Fish Intestines

Shiokara on Rice

Although most foreigners do not like Shiokara it is worth mentioning it as a local specialty of Odawara. It is made of fermented fish or squid intestines. The raw intestines are mixed with about 10% salt and sometimes also with malted rice and then fermented for up to a month. The flavor is very fishy and salty, Shiokara is one of the least popular ingredients of Japanese food among foreigners – but if you don’t try it, you will never know.

Siokara is usually served in very small quantities as a starter and often enjoyed with alcohol. Nowadays Shiokara is also sometimes used as a seasoning or toping for dishes like pasta.

High class Japanese modern fusion cuisine SAWATEI

A mix of French and Japanese cuisine is always rare and surprising; the Sawatei hid up on the hills of Odawara offers a delicious mix of genre in his cuisine and decoration.

Located behind the Odawara station – on the West exit – the Sawatei is a little hard to find, but is really worth looking for it.

The restaurant proposes different menu of high class cuisine and a more reasonable menu for lunch.

I have tried the “福”menu. 福 – Fuku means fortune good luck in Japanese, it is a 6 meal course.



Sparkling water with Odawara Ume plum syrup and essence of apricot



Jelly of Bonito stock soup with Daikon radish and crab



Carpaccio of Red Sea Bream and summer vegetables

with a Yuzu pepper and Odawara citrus sauce



A Foie gras egg custard (Cha wan mushi)

Main Dish


Roasted Pork from Sagami with vegetables and mashed potatoes and a sauce

made from Odawara’s famous Soga Ume plum alcohol

Light Dish


A bowl of Hikari rice cooked with corn and Shiso leaves sprinkled on it

along with cucumber and Daikon Radish pickles and a cup of Japanese Tea



An assortment of a fresh peach jelly, iced nougat and a black tea flavored chiffon cake

Tea or coffee

Everything was very well presented, tasty but not too strong and all the ingredients are coming from the region, the menus are changing with the seasons creating very fresh and savory dishes.

Both Japanese and French cuisines are mastered by a very welcoming chef who received us in his kitchen with pleasure.


The atmosphere in the restaurant is quiet and relaxing; the staff is extremely attentive and will answer all your questions, as long as they are in Japanese, with details.

Sawatei is a place to appreciate high class cuisine combined with fresh ingredients. I really appreciated the dishes being well garnished but never too heavy; proportions were perfect to be full but still ready to keep on exploring the region. I also recommend the Sawatei for its excellent service, we have been ask if we had any allergies, food we don’t like and the dishes were adjusted accordingly.

Six course menu “ Fuku” 4,200 Yen plus Aperitif 500 Yen


Kanagawa, Odawara, 1-8-33 Shiroyama
Tel: 0465-34-2828
Website: (Japanese only)

Opening hours:
– Lunch: 11:30 – 15:00 (Last order 13:30)
– Dinner: 17:30 – 22:00 (Last order 20:00)
Closed on Wednesday

Wine Bistro Estragon

Casual French in Odawara

A casual wine bar with nice casual French food. It is run by one single guy, so that there are only a few seats. The owner lived in Europe for a few years and speaks some French and German.

Estragon has  a reasonable selection of white and red wines by the glass. The wine selection includes French wines but there always also are wines from other regions. The wines have good quality at reasonable prices.

The food is of good quality plain fare French. Soups are very nice and served warm in winter and cold in summer. Estragon also always has 2 or 3 homemade terrines on the menu. It also is a fantastic address for those who love french style french fries. In the evening they are served in a large portion with ketchup and mayonnaise. Usually there also is a pretty good selection of cheeses that have just the right maturity to be enjoyed with a good glass of wine.

Desert also varies by the season but to me the highlight is the home-made ice cream. The owner – Mr. Kitamura – is very gifted at composing ice creams. My personal highlights are the bitter caramel, the white beer and the white truffle honey ice creams.

250-0011 Kanagawa, Odawara, Sakae-cho 1-10-3
Phone: 0465-22-7515

Opening Hours: 11:30~13:30(L.O.) 18:00~22:00(L.O.)
Closed on mondays and the 2nd tuesday of a month

Experience making Himono Fish

Himono is a kind of dried fish, which can be found in many coastal areas of Japan. Hinomo from Odawara is said to be very mild.

At Hayase Himono in Central Odawara

The Himono making takes place in the morning and you can pick the finished Himono up the same day between 14:00 and 18:00.

Costs per person: 1000 Yen
Schedule: Mo – Fr between 9:00 and 11:00
Duration: 20-40 minutes
Groups: up to a maximum of 5 people
Reservation required


Personalize your own Odawara Casting Wind Bell

Unique hands-on craft experience at a casting atelier

Odawara has a 400 years old history of casting. The Kashiwagi family has been part of this tradition since its first days in Odawara in 1686. Nowadays the same family still runs a small casting atelier at about 15 minutes walking distance from Odawara station. Kashiwagi Art Foundry is well known for its wind bells and its Buddhist altar bells.

The Shop Odawara Casting

The Kashiwagi Art Foundry Atelier is an old wooden house located in the suburb of Odawara City. It is a very nice place with a unique atmosphere. As soon as you arrive you can hear the sound of wind bells of various shapes and sizes producing all a unique sound which could be quite noisy but on the contrary produces a beautiful music.

The experience started right away, we sat in the shop and were given papers with drawings of the shape of the bell and had to train on this paper.

Drawing can be challenging but the most difficult part was actually writing, especially Kanji characters. Since we are writing on what will be the mold, you have to write the words like reflected in mirror. For this we were given tracing paper.

The artisan, Mr. Kashiwagi himself also gave us books for inspirations and tips on drawing.

  • First, you have to write on paper with a pencil so it is still relatively easy but then you have to write using big color crayons directly on the mold which make the task much more difficult.
  •  Once the drawing is done on the mold you receive a pick and start engraving while following the lines. It is quite a long thing to do counting that you realize 2 bells drawn on both sides making it 4 sides to draw and engrave.

Odawara bells 1

The mold is made of a mix of sand and plastic powder which was heated and poured in another mold. Once it cools down, it makes a solid but yet crumbly object.

Bell image 4

Mr. Kashiwagi told me that you should not grave to deeply otherwise you may pierced or break the mold. Obviously, I did pierce not only one but two holes in mine… Fortunately, if it is small holes it can be fix without having to start all over. If it is not on the fixable scale you will be provided a new mold without problems or supplementary charges.

The drawing – graving part will take you most of the time but it is also the funniest. It is very difficult to have an image of what the bell will look like once finish but apparently it ends up well most of times.

  • Once you are done, you will be given a big bottle of glue to stick both sides together firmly. Then you only have to introduce another smaller mold in the one you just decorated.

Bell image 5

Unfortunately, you cannot pour the metal in the mold yourself nor can you see this operation, it is an extremely precise and a little dangerous task requiring a proper formation and experience. But you can choose the Tanzaku – traditional piece of paper hanging from Japanese chimes – among many cute designs.

Bell image 8

Mr. Kashiwagi makes the bells by batch which is the reason why it takes about 2 weeks before they are ready. However, we were very lucky and when we did our own Odawara Wind Chimes experience, the next batch was planned the day after so we received ours very fast.

It was a very nice experience accessible to pretty much anybody from age 3 to 93 and I was extremely happy with my personalized bells. Made by oneself, the design is unique and really reflects one’s feeling whether it is made as a souvenir or a gift.

Opening Hours / Reservation:

The shop is open from 9:00 to 17:00

Closed every 2nd, 4th and 5th Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays

Group size: 2 – 4 people

Costs: 4000 Yen plus 860 Yen international shipping (or 525 Yen Japan National shipping)  for 2 bells


Experience making Kamaboko Fish Cake

Located on the Odakyu Line about 5-10 minutes from Odawara station Suzuhiro is one of the most famous producer of Kamaboko Fish Cake in Japan.


The building is directly connected to the Kazamatsuri station, when entering the building you will see many shops selling of course Kamaboko but also other type of food and souvenirs.

Going to the information center you will be asked whether you made a reservation. Making your own Kamaboko fish cake is a very popular activity in the area and many tourists go there on their way to Hakone so you have very few (to no) chances to get in without reservations.

The information center will indicate you the way to another building down the road where you will be making Kamaboko Fish Cake!


After being given a ticket, a paper apron and a net for the hair you will be placed by numbers around the tables. We did not have English translations but we have been placed right in front of the person doing the  demonstration so it was very easy to understand (English explanations can be provided but you have to reserve). Also, there is a large screen connected to a camera in front of the employee so that everybody can see without problems.

Making the Kamaboko is quite simple:

Kamaboko 1

  • You first receive 3 balls of “fish paste” that you will flatten and spread in order to mix it well and add air into the dough. You will repeat the same movement about 3 – 4 times.


  • You will spread equally the paste once more and put the wooden block perpendicular to the table.


  • you will then regroup the paste by layer on the block.
  • Finally you just have to adjust the shape with the blade of the knife (you cannot get cut with the knife thus it is perfectly safe for children).

Even though traditional Kamaboko are usually round you are invited by the staff to make the shape you want like a train or a car.


It will then be steam cooked and refrigerated thus you can pick up your Kamaboko about 1 hour after making it. Apart from Kamaboko you will also be taught to make Chikuwa which uses the same paste but is rolled on a bamboo stick. These Chikuwa can be eaten about 15 – 20 minutes after making them.


Making the Chikuwa is quite the same technique as making the fish cake but rolling the paste around the bamboo stick is quite complicated. You can do it using the blade or – as I did –  by just shaping the paste by hand.


Finally you will receive your fish cake in a little carton box with a ice pack – Kamaboko must be keep in refrigerator and eaten within 3 days – and a plastic box to help preserving it.


It is a very nice experience to do when in the region and kids will definitely like it. However, the cooking time being quite long it leaves plenty of free time that the Suzuhiro food and souvenir shop – only shop in the area – cannot fill even though there is a small gallery and a few activities for kids.  Also since Kamaboko must be kept in refrigerator it is important to be able to access a refrigerator within a few hours.

Suzuhiro Kamaboko no Ri
250-0032 Kamagawa, Odawara
Kazamatsuri 245
Tel: 0465-22-3191

Opening Hours: 10:00 – 17:00
Duration: 50 minutes
Costs: 1,575Yen per person

Reservation is required

Matsunaga Memorial Estate

Matsunaga Estate Odawra

Enjoy the beauty of Matsunaga Villa and its park

Yasuzaemon Matsunaga (1875 – 1971) was a businessman from an influences family in Tokyo. After working for several companies and business he finally became vice president of Electric Company , when electric power started to become an ever growing business. He became so influential in the privatization of the Japanese power industry that he was nicknamed “the devil of electricity”. But he also was known as an art collector and master of tea ceremony of the school of Hamarikyu.

After retiring from the electricity business he build a residence in Odawara. He choose the place near a now 400 years old tree, which can be admired from various angles of the residence. Matsunaga become a well known tea master and the residence house almost 1 dozen different room for the tea ceremony. Two pavilions are dedicated to the tea ceremony and  the main house also has three tea rooms.

The tea rooms follow the school of famous tea master Hamarikyu. The entrances are low so that anyone entering the room needs to bow or knee, so the visitors of the room come in a humble mood. There always is a piece of wall with a kind of window, which shows the wooden frame that is inside the wall. This is to show that the room is made of natural materials only. The last element of each room is the paper of the gliding windows. The paper used for each gliding window is not made of one single sheet, but multiple papers have been glued together in a visible way. This shall also be a sign of simplicity and modesty meaning left overs of paper have been used.

The main building was build 1946 in the so called sukiya style, which allows a high flexibility in the construction of Japanese houses. The size of rooms usually is normed by the size and number of tatami mats. In case of the Matsunaga villa, rooms have different sizes and you will find tatami mats of very unusual measurements.

The two tea pavilions were added later. The older structure was build 1926 in the Minamo-cho district of Odawara and moved to the Matsunaga Estate in 1986. The second tea house was build in 1991 and it includes modern amenities such as electricity.

It is possible to rent some of these tea houses to enjoy a Japanese tea ceremony.

250-0034‎ Kanagawa, Odawara
941-1 Itabashi
Phone: 0465-22-3635
Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm

Entry fee: free

Daiyuzan Saijo-ji Temple

Stairs to Daiyuzan Temple Odawara

A well kept secret temple – perfect for photographers

This temple of important statues lies in a quiet cedar grove. The assistant to the founder is said to have become an eternal caretaker in the form of a goblin. The legend is responsible for the numerous statues of goblins at the temple.

Kanagawa Prefecture, Minamiashigara, Daiyucho, 1157
Tel: 0465-74-3121

Access: Take Daiyuzan Line from Odawara Station until Daiyuzan Station (21 minutes), then walk 3.6km or 10min by taxi

Odawara Casting

Odawara CastingThe history of the foundry industry in Odawara dates back centuries. The book, Shinpen Sagaminokuni Fudokiko, notes that Yamada Jirozaemon from Kawachi, Osaka opened a foundry in Odawara in 1534, and it is considered to be the origin of the Odawara foundry industry. In 1686, while holding a subordinate position to the Okubo family, one of the powerful ruling families of the day, the Kashiwagi family relocated to Nabe-machi, Odawara, due to the kunigae, or “changes of provinces.”

The family opened a foundry, succeeding the tradition of the Odawara foundry, and became Odawara’s renowned sound instrument makers known for their sound instruments called sahari and compression casting techniques.

Kashiwagi Art Foundry operates a small showroom next to their foundry, which is about 15 minutes walking distance from Odawara station.

Kashiwagi Art Foundry Show Room

They also offer a service to personalize wind bells.

Hakone Marquetry

Yosegi or Hakone Marquetry combines geometric patterns that can be up to fifty different patterns on one item. There are hundreds of possible combinations. After being meticulously selected the wood is then sawn or split and dried and seasoned over a period of months. After being stick together and backed with papers the veneers are applied on the wood to create the product. The wood isn’t colored after being put together, the colors are the natural colors of each different piece of wood.

Odawara Craft Shop WAZA

WAZA Craft Shop


WAZA means craft of technique in Japanese and this is a well selected name for this place. This shop is run by the association of local crafts and therefore has products from almost all local craftsmen. The line-up consists of woodcraft, lacquer ware, casting products, lanterns, and more. It is a good place to find a high quality, “real” souvenir at reasonable prices.
The shop is located in the shopping area called “LUSCA” of Odawara Station building.

Chinriu Honten Pickles and Sweets Shop

Established by the last Chief Cook of Odawara Castle

One year after Odawara castle had been abandoned the last chief cook of the castle – Monya Komine – opened a restaurant under the name of Chinriu. The restaurant went well and soon the pickled plums and sweets made of Yuzu-lime become so popular that the second generation of the family stopped the restaurant business to focus on the production of Japanese fine foods.

Nowadays the company is run by the fifth generation of the Komine family. It has a large line-up of traditional Japanese pickles as well as traditional and contemporary sweets made using local fruits such as ume plum, orange, sakura, blueberry and many more.

Old Japanese Barrel

The back of the store is a small museum. It has an old wooden barrel on display, which was manufactured in 1869 and has a capacity of 360kg umeboshi pickles. It first served to make sake rice wine before it was used to make ume plum pickled in 1871. Glass-jars with umeboshi of each production year are lined up in the shelves of the museum corner. Every year since its foundation the family prepares one jar of umeboshi made during this year. The oldest jar on display dates back to 1835. Eventually you will find the jar the year you were born.

Jars of old Umeboshi

Most product names are also written in English. The Western style cakes and cookies with a Japanese touch are very popular among foreigners. The brownies with ume plum and walnut inside or a slice of sakura or umeboshi pound cake make a perfect little snack for the train. A small jar of umeboshi jam of ume jelly wrapped in bamboo leaves make nice souvenirs with authentic Japanese flavor.

The shop also has a corner with around 30 different brands of Umeshu plum wine. This selection of plum wines includes umeshu made of sake, shochu, awamori, brandy as well as blends with green tea, ginger, shiso, banana and more. Last but not least it is possible to taste all of these umeshu plum wines on request!

Typical Fish from Odawara

Enjoy local fish from local fishermen

Located on Sagami bay Odawara naturally has a lot of fish to offer. Although many varieties of fish can be found in the bay, 2 or 3 became strongly associated with Odawara.

Aji –

Aji Fish
Aji can be enjoyed grilled, but it also is very popular as sushi or sashimi.

Kamasu – Barracuda

Kamasu Barracuda
Kamasu from Odawara is a small type of Barracuda. It is best enjoyed simply grilled with salt and also popular is dried Himono fish.

Kamaboko Fish Cake

Kamaboko from Odawara

Kamaboko – Steamed fish loaf from Odawara

Kamaboko is a kind of steamed fish loaf and Odawara is a center of kamaboko production in Japan. There are a dozen producers and the term “Odawara Kamaboko” is protected and can solely be used by the local producers. You might know the simple versions of kamaboko from the pink and white slice which is sometimes found in ramen soup.

Kamaboko is part of traditional new years dishes. In December people from all over Japan will order kamaboko from Odawara. For new year, the white and pink ones are most popular as white and red are symbols for a fresh start. But nowadays there also are kamaboko mixed with cheese, herbs and other flavors as the fish cake itself does not have a lot of flavors. Deep fried kamaboko “agekama” is very tasty and served in many Odawara restaurants.

Agekama Kamaboko

Once a year the city of Odawara celebrates its fish cake with the Kamaboko festival. Besides having the opportunity to eat all kinds of kamaboko the highlight of the festival is the competition to stack the wooden plates (under the fish paste) as high as possible. The winning teams usually manage to make piles a few meters high.

Odawara Kamaboko Festival

The largest maker of Kamaboko in Odawara offers daily workshops to experience making fish cake yourself.

Umeboshi & Ume Plum Products

Umeboshi from Odawara

Pickled Umeboshi Plums from Odawara

Odawara has a long history of cultivating ume plums. Agricultural planting of ume trees started around 400 years ago under the orders of the Hojo clan that ruled Odawara castle. They had found out that rice would stay fresh longer when pickled umeboshi plums were added. This was very important when an army went for battle. For this reason umeboshi is almost always part of Japanese bento lunchboxes.

Umeboshi are made in summer when ripe ume plums are available. The ripe plums are cleaned and pickled with about 20% salt. The plums are then sun dried for a few consecutive days and then stored between one and three years.

Nowadays umeboshi are sold in a large variety such as with red shiso, bonito flakes or honey. There are big and small umeboshi as well as low sodium umeboshi.

Sampler of different Umeboshi

Odawara also is well known for its local specialty of umeboshi wrapped in red shiso leaves. They are quiet salty as the leaves also previously had been pickled in salt, but add an additional flavor – especially when eaten with white rice.