The city of Utsunomiya

The city of Utsunomiya Excursion

Nikko is a world-famous tourist destination with fascinating historical spots such as Toshogu Shrine, which is a must-visit place. But when you go to Nikko, you would change trains at a station called “Utsunomiya,” right? Actually, there are some attractive places in Utsunomiya as well, so it would be a waste to just change trains! In this article, I will explain the charms of Utsunomiya.

City of Gyoza

Utsunomiya is known as the “City of Gyoza (dumplings)”. There are many gyoza restaurants in the city, and not a few citizens and tourists come to Utsunomiya to eat gyoza. It is said that the reason why Utsunomiya became a gyoza town is because a division of the former Japanese army based in Utsunomiya was stationed in China for a long time. After they returned to Japan, they spread and became part of Utsunomiya’s food culture.

What are gyoza?

Gyoza is originally a Chinese dish, but it evolved uniquely in Japan. Japanese gyoza is a mixture of ground pork, cabbage and other ingredients wrapped in a thin flour dough. It is then grilled and eaten with the sauce of your choice. They are bite-sized, and usually 5 to 6 gyoza are served per person.In addition to grilled gyoza, Utsunomiya also offers fried gyoza and boiled gyoza, which differ from restaurant to restaurant in terms of ingredients, thickness of the skin, dipping sauce, and so on.

Recommended Gyoza Restaurants


If you only have an hour or so to spend at Utsunomiya Station, I recommend Minmin, which is located in a building connected to the station. It gets crowded, but you can register at the machine and wait.

Kirasse Main Restaurant

A 15-minute walk from Utsunomiya Station, there is a place where you can enjoy all of Utsunomiya’s popular gyoza restaurants at once. The style is to purchase your favorite menu item from the restaurants lined up like a food court and sit down to eat. Recommended for those of you who don’t know which restaurant to enter.

宇都宮餃子会公式サイト|餃子の街 宇都宮でおいしい餃子を食べ歩こう。

Gyoza Street

gyoza street

Gyoza Street is lined with popular gyoza restaurants. It is about a 10-minute walk from Utsunomiya Station. If you have a number of restaurants you want to visit, this is the place to go. Streetlights and manholes along the street are decorated with gyoza motifs, making it an interesting place to walk around.

If you have time, visit the Oya History Museum

Oya History Museum

The Oya History Museum is located about 30 minutes by bus from Utsunomiya Station. It is the site of an underground quarry where Oyaishi, a high-quality stone, was quarried. The huge underground space, 20,000 square meters in size, 30 meters deep and 60 meters at its deepest point, is a sight to behold. The fantastic space is lit up and is a great place to take pictures. For this reason, it is often used as a location for music videos, dramas, and movies.

The temperature in this space is quite cool, around 10 degrees Celsius, even in summer, so visitors should be careful what they wear when visiting.

大谷資料館 - 大谷石の歴史と巨大地下空間
石の町「大谷」 大谷石に育まれ発展した大谷。現在では、大谷石採掘も手堀りから機械堀りへとなり、昔と大きく変わってきています。この変わり行く大谷石採掘の姿を、手堀り時代と機械化になった現在の道具などを通して展示しております。 また、地下30m...

Other specialties


Tochigi Prefecture, where Utsunomiya is located, boasts the largest production of strawberries in Japan. Many strawberry varieties were born in Tochigi. Strawberry picking is popular from January to April every year, and there is a tourist farm near Utsunomiya Station. There are also many strawberry snacks available for purchase. The best place to buy souvenirs is on the 2nd floor of Paseo, a building directly connected to Utsunomiya Station.

strawberry snack

Lemon Milk

When in Tochigi, try the wonder drink lemon milk. This light yellow-colored milk beverage is sweet with a slight sourness. It does not actually contain lemon. The taste has many fans, and there are even sweets made from lemon milk.

Nikko Jingoro Sembei

A famous souvenir of Nikko is the rice cracker in a yellow package. It has a delicious salted butter flavor. At the store in Paseo, Utsunomiya Station Building, smaller ones wrapped in beautiful wrapping paper are sold. I recommend reusing this wrapping paper for book covers and other uses.

Nikko Jingoro Sembei