Omi-beef is ranked as one of the top 3 Wagyu beefs in Japan along with Kobe-beef and Matsusaka-beef. However, Omi-beef is said to have the longest history, dating back to the Edo period when it was used as medicinal cure. Omi-beef comes from Black Japanese cattle raised in the natural habitats around Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture (formerly known as Omi Province), which helps create the perfect amount of marbled fat that melts in your mouth. During my trip, I had to try one of the most famous Omi-beef restaurants in town. Hanare (Hikone Branch) is located roughly 5 minutes away from Hikone Station and is very easy to get to. Try Omi-beef as different dishes, including steak, shabu shabu, sukiyaki, steamed, and even raw! There’s no better place to try raw beef than in Hikone.
Hanare (Hikone Branch) http://h-hanare.info/
Another delicious Omi-beef restaurant to check out:
Koayu, also known as small-sized sweetfish, can be caught in Lake Biwa and is one of Shiga Prefecture’s specialty dishes. At Kimura, you can enjoy a variety of Ayu dishes such as tempura, sashimi, grilled, and simmered.
Fresh Funa, or carp, is also an indigenous fish caught in Lake Biwa and is traditionally made into funa sushi. Don’t forget about the Biwamasu (Biwa Trout)!
Omimai is a type of rice that is harvested in Shiga Prefecture and there are up to 20 brands currently sold at stores. The most popular brands include Koshihikari, Aki no Uta, Kinuhikari, and Nihonbare. The umami of the rice comes from the pure water and the rich fertile soil surrounded by Lake Biwa. There’s a reason why Shiga Prefecture produces high quality rice that is loved by the people of Japan!