Nambu Sembei

nanbu senbeiNambu sembei is a traditional delicacy of the Hachinohe area, similar to crackers or cookies. In addition to the simple white sembei made with flour, there are other varieties such as sesame, peanuts, squid, and pumpkin.

In the Hachinohe area, home of Nambu sembei, it is eaten in a variety of ways, as a staple food, snack, or even as nonperishables. It is enjoyed widely as a traditional food nurtured by the long history of the area.

Hachinohe Sembei Soup

senbei soupHachinohe sembei soup is a simple local dish in which vegetables, mushrooms, and Nambu sembei made specially for use in sembei soup are cooked in a stock made from chicken, pork, or fish such as mackerel or cod; the sembei are cracked into small pieces, and they become soft and spongy in the soup.

Hachinohe Maeoki Mackerel

hachinohe maeoki mackerelThe Hachinohe Maeoki Mackerel Brand Promotion Council, launched in July 2008, has decided to brand the mackerel caught off the Sanriku Coast and landed at the Port of Hachinohe during the designated period (fall to winter) "Hachinohe Maeoki Mackerel." And among them, those that are especially large are selected for the premium brand "Gin Saba" or "Silver Mackerel."  

The Port of Hachinohe is the northernmost mackerel fishing port in Japan, and since the fishing ground is very close to the port, extremely fresh mackerel can be supplied. Hachinohe Maeoki Mackerel are plump with plenty of delicious fat, which greatly enhances the flavor and contains healthy unsaturated fatty acids such as EPA and DHA. Hachinohe Maeoki Mackerel are highly recognized by the food industry throughout Japan as "the plumpest and juiciest mackerel in Japan."


squidA wide variety of fish and shellfish are landed at the Port of Hachinohe, but in particular, the Port boasts the largest catch of squid in Japan. Squid can be stewed, grilled, and used in various types of dishes, Japanese, Chinese, or Western.

In Hachinohe, a local squid association has promoted squid products by designating the 10th of every month as "Squid Day," from the number of legs on a squid, with August 10 as "Hachinohe Squid Day."

Traditional Local Cuisine with a Harmony of the Sea and the Mountains

Ichigo-ni, a soup made with sea urchin and abalone, is one of the most representative seafood dishes of the Hachinohe area. Edible chrysanthemums, another local specialty, are marinated or used in miso soup. The Hachinohe area is also known for its long tradition of production of grains such as wheat, beans, and buckwheat; as a result, delicacies made with flour such as Nambu sembei, hittsumi, and mameshitogi were developed.

Other unique dishes include sobakakke, triangular soba noodles parboiled in soup made with daikon radish and tofu, and then eaten with green onion miso or garlic miso; and Nango soba, a simple but hearty dish of the Nango area.

ichigo-ni marinted chrysanthemum sobakakke
Ichigo-ni Marinated Chrysanthemum Sobakakke


Diverse Traditional Nambu Products

Nambu Hishisashi (diamond-shaped embroideries) and Nambu Sakiori (torn-and-woven textiles) are folk crafts developed by the women of the northern land, full of creative ideas to recycle and reuse limited resources. In the olden days, warm cotton was precious, so cotton cloth was not wasted one bit: small leftover pieces of cloth were layered and quilted to make hishisashi, and ragged pieces of cloth were torn and rewoven to make sakiori.

Hachinohe was also known for its horses, and horse figurines called Yawata Uma have traditionally been made; they are considered one of the Three Great Horse Figurines of Japan.

yawata uma nanbu hishisashi nanbu sakiori
Yawata Uma Nanbu Hishisashi Nanbu Sakiori