Suwa is home to both a great variety of restaurants and food experiences. From local specialties to tasting opportunities, the culinary offerings are sure to impress.

The following tours, tastings, and experiences are available.


Nagano Prefecture has the perfect conditions for growing soba (buckwheat) and much of Japan’s soba noodle production occurs in the area. Suwa area’s soba is called shinshu soba, after the old name for Nagano Prefecture, and is known for its elasticity and strong fragrance. In addition to trying out one of the many soba restaurants, visitors may experience making soba themselves at the Shinshu Suwa Soba Noodle Making School. Prices range from ¥1,000 to ¥2,000 and it takes around two hours, including time to eat your noodle creation.


Sake is intertwined with Suwa culture and history; many of the older breweries date back nearly 400 years. There are nine breweries in the area, each with a visitors’ area where sake and souvenirs are sold, and tastings are available throughout the year. There are also sake walking festivals in spring and fall, where visitors can purchase a single cup and walk the streets from brewery to brewery to find their perfect sake.

  • Masumi - Hand-made sake production since 1662. A multiple award winning sake brewery that focuses on the purity of ingredients and a special yeast process.
  • Maihime - Using traditional sake practices even today, this brewery values carefully selected ingredients to create a sake with deep flavor.
  • Reijin - Founded over two hundred years ago, Reijin uses the best of Nagano’s sake rice and soft, pure water from the Kirigamine highlands.
  • Honkin - Founded in 1756, this small family owned brewery works hard and values the members and family involved in the sake production.
  • Yokobue - One of the more recent breweries, the founders settled in Suwa in the mid 20th century to take advantage of the ingredients from the Kirigamine highlands.


Miso production in Suwa has flourished thanks to optimal temperatures and an environment that creates a mild taste, unique to the area. A factory tour available at Miso Kengaku includes tasting and creating activities. There are a huge variety of miso products sold, including standard miso, chips, curries, dips, and even miso ice cream. Towards the back of the factory is an interesting room dedicated to the Onbashira (Honored Pillars) Festival and a small room with a shrine to miso.


Strawberry picking is available near Suwa at the Suwako Strawberry Farm. A 30-minute all-you-can-eat course is available for ¥800-¥1,700 (depending on the farm and season). Visitors can roam the fields and choose their own strawberries, topping them off with sweet, condensed milk. This is a trip that will satisfy any sweet tooth.

In the summertime, blueberries of many varieties are in season and, in fall, apples, for which Nagano is famous, are readily available. Picking and tasting experiences related to these fruits are also on offer in the Suwa area.

Additionally, Suwa is famous for the following local specialities:

Unagi (freshwater eel)

A healthy population of freshwater eel in Lake Suwa ensures that there are unagi restaurants on almost every corner. In Okaya City, unagi is cut open from the belly and broiled over charcoal rather than the usual way of cutting it open from the back and steaming. Using this unique cooking style creates a crispy skin and fluffy fresh fish that pairs perfectly with the sweet sauce poured directly on the unagi.

Miso Tendon (Tempura on rice)

A bowl of tempura over rice is part of a regular lunch set in the area. The tempura is made from local mountain vegetables, the fish is often caught in Lake Suwa, and the sauce on top is a local miso specialty exclusive to the area.


Yokan is a traditional Japanese type of sweet and salty jelly that has been created in the Suwa area for hundreds of years. One well-known shop that dates back around 140 years specializes in a yokan variety called Shintsuru-Honten. In addition to the original, there are dozens of assorted varieties in all shapes and colors, with greatly varying degrees of sweetness. Pieces of yokan can be purchased individually or in boxes. One highlight is the sugar-coated variety in orange and green. The store owners will often have a few types available to sample, enabling visitors to then buy a box of their favorites as a souvenir.

In addition to traditional yokan stores, there are multiple cafes and shops with all manner of Japanese and western sweets, as well as cakes, ice creams, and waffles. A few of the unique flavors to Suwa include miso caramel ice cream from Marui Ito Shoten and blueberry dessert pizza found at Arles.