Niigata Prefecture, center of Japanese culinary culture, hosts its first Gastronomy Awards

Selected 160 awarded among 532 nominated restaurants, accommodations, and local specialties in the prefecture

NIIGATA, JAPAN - Media OutReach - 28 June 2023 - Niigata Prefecture established Niigata Gastronomy Awards in September 2022 to identify and recognize restaurants, accommodations, alcohol products, and local specialties in the prefecture that actively engage the local community. Selected 160 winners in the restaurant, accommodation, and local specialty categories received the awards.

- Niigata Prefecture, distinguished for rich food culture in Japan, and interest in Japanese cuisine

Surrounded by the sea and mountains, Niigata Prefecture abounds in water resources from some of the heaviest snowfall in Japan. The finest food ingredients grown in the great natural environment and the food culture that local people have developed are the source of the unique food culture in Niigata. Visitors can experience the local culture and history through food.

As the food culture in neighboring areas has also earned a global reputation, including recognition in the Michelin Guide, the greater area around Niigata is attracting increasing attention of foodies and gastronomes.

- Niigata Prefecture establishes first gastronomy awards in Japan

The Niigata Gastronomy Awards, first-of-its-kind in Japan established in Niigata Prefecture, are designed to identify and recognize restaurants, accommodations, alcohol products, and local specialties in the prefecture that actively engage the local community. Entries are evaluated based not only on the quality of food and restaurants but also on other factors such as collaboration/initiatives with local food and food-related businesses; sustainability; and philosophy, from a comprehensive standpoint.

The jury consisting of many culinary professionals including eminent chefs reviewed as many as 532 entries and selected 160 winners, who were presented with the awards at a ceremony held in Niigata City on March 9, 2023. Among these winners, 20 had been awarded a star or stars in Michelin Guide Niigata 2020 Special Edition.

Under the 'Gastronomy' slogan, Niigata Prefecture will continue to show how visitors can explore food in Niigata and present its one of the best food cultures in Japan to the world.

* Review criteria
  • Quality of food, restaurant
  • Collaboration/initiative with local food and food-related businesses
  • Sustainability
  • Philosophy, and other elements for comprehensive evaluation

<Data about Niigata Gastronomy Awards>
  • Total entries: 532
  • Jury members: 15
  • Winners: 160
    • Restaurant category: 100
    • Hotel/inn category: 30
    • Local specialty category: 30

<Grand Prize winners>

- Restaurant category
My farm to table Oniya (Niigata City) (Left image)
With a poultry farm owned by the chef, this chicken restaurant comprehensively covers the whole process from production to cooking and serving.

- Accommodation category
Snow Peak FIELD SUITE SPA HEADQUARTERS (Sanjo City) (Center image)
This is a resort complex next to the headquarters of Snow Peak, a local company that suggests lifestyles mainly by offering camping gear.

- Local specialties category
Kanzuri (Kanzuri Co., Ltd., Myoko City) (Right image)
Kanzuri is a unique fermented seasoning developed in the culture of a snowy region.

<Jury members>

Toru Iwasa, Executive producer (Left image)
Born in Tokyo in 1967. He started his business while he was studying at college, and subsequently started his career as editor. In 2000, he inaugurated a magazine titled Jiyujin. In 2014, he was executive director for the launch of Satoyama Jujo in Osawayama hot spring in Niigata, for which he won the Good Design Award BEST 100. He opened Hotel Koo Otsu Hyakucho (Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture) and Hakone Honbako (Hakone Town, Kanagawa Prefecture) in 2018 and Matsumoto Jujo (Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture) in 2020. He was a jury member for the Good Design Award from 2016 to 2018, and has been a member again since 2021. In 2017, he was named one of 55 local innovators in Forbes JAPAN. He is a visiting professor at Tama Art University.

Takanori Nakamura, Special jury chair (Right image)
Born in Hayama Town, Kanagawa Prefecture in 1964. He writes and discusses broad topics including fashion, restaurants, alcohol, cigar, and other cultural and palate-pleasing goods. Currently, he serves as chairman of the Japan Council for the World's 50 Best Restaurants and Asia's 50 Best Restaurants. Currently Ambassador of the Best of Colombia; instructor, Dai Nihon Chado Gakkai (Japan association of the tea ceremony); and Kendo teacher 7th dan.

14 other special jury members

YouTube Channel:Niigata Tourism Information, Enjoy Niigata, Japan

Hashtag: #NiigataPrefecture

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Niigata Prefecture




Traditional Chinese, French


28 Jun 2023

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