Japan Sea Cold Cod Festival

Enjoy this warming winter meal in Tsuruoka

Venue: Ginza Dori, 1-chōme-3 Honchō, Tsuruoka, Yamagata 997-0034, Japan When: Late Jan 2025

Cold cod soup or dongara jiru is a popular winter dish in the Shonai region of Yamagata Prefecture, and the Japan Sea Cold Cod Festival in Tsuruoka City celebrates the warming seasonal meal.

Previous iterations of the event have drawn crowds of around 20,000 people enjoying different takes on dongara jiru from numerous vendors. If you appreciate the zero waste "nose to tail" eating concept you'll likely be a fan of dongara jiru, as every bit of the cod fish is used in the soup's preparation, right down to the bones. A big part of the soup's flavor is said to come from the fish's liver and milt (seminal fluid of fish), so perhaps not one for the picky eaters out there!

There's no admission fee to enjoy the event's atmosphere, but bring yen if you plan on doing some soup sampling.

Getting there

The event takes place along Ginza Street in Tsuruoka. The area can be accessed in around 10 minutes by bus bound for Tsuruoka Station. Take the bus bound for Yunohama Onsen, get off at the Shiyakusho-mae stop, and the area is about 5 minutes away on foot.

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