One of the most culturally rich regions Gifu is booming in NYC

With forests covering approximately 80% of its land, Gifu prefecture has an abundance of nature. It is blessed with vast plains and pristine streams, and is also known as the “Land of Clear Waters”. The pure water is the source of the prefecture’s rich culture and has helped cultivate the food culture as well as high quality craftsmanship of products such as ceramics and paper. 

Since 2009, the prefecture has worked with fourteen countries and regions to promote their culture and tourism. The governor of Gifu has led the initiative by visiting the areas to promote first-hand, which has led to a steady rise in the prefecture’s global recognition and an increase in tourism especially from the US. To further attract visitors and expand export of local goods such as Hida beef and ceramics, a series of campaigns were held in areas around NY this September.

From fine dining to more casual eateries, Japanese cuisine has boomed in NY in the recent years. The campaign worked around this trend by promoting different aspects of the Gifu food culture. En Japanese Brasserie, a restaurant popular even among celebrities, offered special dishes that featured Gifu’s Hida beef. The team from Gifu worked closely with the chef to create a beef tartare menu and other modern Japanese dishes which were well-received by local foodies. Although Kobe beef is the more well-known wagyu beef brand overseas, Hida beef is likely to gain popularity with its beautiful marbling, luster and texture thanks to Gifu’s weather conditions and its natural resources.

Ramen is another Japanese cuisine popular among New Yorkers of all ages. The west side location of Ippudo restaurant, the ramen chain that has taken the city by storm, created a special menu made with ingredients from Gifu. Although Ippudo is famous for Tonkotsu ramen which originated in the Hakata region, the location exclusively offered two ramen dishes flavored with Gifu’s shoyū or soy sauce. The location also offered ramen in special Mino ceramic bowls decorated by twenty-five Japanese creators including artist Tadanori Yokoo, art director Katsumi Asaba and fashion designer Akira Minagawa. Gifu is known to be Japan’s largest region to produce ceramic ware, manufacturing half of all domestic ceramic goods. The specially designed ramen bowls were also exhibited at Japan Society, which attracted art and design followers. 

In addition, Mino ceramics were sold along with knives, washi paper products and other goods at Whisk, the kitchenware store in Manhattan and Brooklyn. With refined designs and craftsmanship, Japanese ceramics have become increasingly popular and are used as everyday dinnerware by many New Yorkers.

The Japanese saké fair held at New York’s largest liquor store Astor Wines & Spirits, marked the first initiative of its kind by a Japanese local government. Gifu saké is made with high-quality water from the beautiful Northern Alps streams. The event offered customers tasting of saké by five breweries that are currently available in the NY area. In addition, a Japanese saké seminar was held for US distributors and buyers in the reception area of the store’s 2nd floor. At the event, Mino ceramic saké cups and washi paper lanterns decorated the venue, and twelve leading saké brands were available for tasting and purchasing. Cocktails made with saké are trending in the NYC restaurant and bar scene. With Japanese cuisine becoming ever so popular, we are sure to see more saké in the city.