Jan 1, 2015

The Hidden Secrets of Northern Hokkaido & Sapporo

The Most Famous Dish From Northern Hokkaido

A visit to the northern regions of Hokkaido would be imcomplete without tasting this unique dish.


Jin-gisu-kan (also known as Genghis Khan Nabe) is especially popular in North Hokkaido. Served in a cast iron skillet or pan, this is a one-dish meal that includes thin slices of marinated mutton, assorted vegetables and beancurd, as well as udon.

Origins of Genghis Khan Nabe

There are several theories as to how this dish got its name. Some people believe the name stems from being a favourite of the great Mongol Emperor, while others reckon it could be because the myth of Japanese and Mongolians share a similar ancestry.

The truth is, the dish only gained traction after the First World War when the Japanese government set up initiatives to increase the production of wool. The people from the northern countryside were encouraged to rear more sheep to support these initiatives. From there, the residents of Hokkaido began eating the meat of the sheep after shearing their wool.

There are many different recipes for the marinade, but the recipe often used by the 746 Genghis Khan Troupe (mentioned later) is a tantalising blend of soy sauce, smashed onions, carrots, apples, honey, ginger, and a particular type of Korean spicy sauce. The style of cooking employed by the people in Nayoro differs slightly from their Sapporo counterparts. In Sapporo, people usually barbeque the meat whereas in Nayoro, the meat is stewed together with the ingredients and marinade, creating a more soup-like dish.

746 Genghis Khan Troupe

The 746 Genghis Khan Troupe is a group of Nayoro locals who banded together to create a more vibrant scene for their city. (746 is pronounced Na-Yo-Ro in Japanese). After winning an award for their recipe, the group decided to step up their efforts in promoting Nayoro City. Genghis Khan Nabe is now recognised as a Heritage Dish by the Hokkaido government and the group regularly travels around Japan to promote the dish. They are currently expanding their repertoire by selling pre-packaged marinated meats.

So how does it taste?

Full-bodied, rustic, and hearty; it’s easy to see why this is a popular dish in the wintry north. While mutton may not be everyone’s favourite meat, this dish doesn’t have a strong gamey flavour, probably because the meat is so thinly sliced. On particularly cold nights, a steaming hot bowl of Jin-gisu-kan stew hits the spot.


>>Read more about Northern Hokkaido & Sapporo Food

>>Read more about Northern Hokkaido & Sapporo Sightseeing

>>Read more about Northern Hokkaido & Sapporo Experience

>>Read more about Northern Hokkaido & Sapporo Souvenirs

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