Cooking identity and food tourism: the case of Japanese udon noodles

Sang Kim, Chieko Iwashita

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    53 Citations (Scopus)


    Local food heritage plays a crucial role in developing the image and identity of a region. This study investigates the extent and the ways in which local food and identity of a region can be used as tools for tourism development. By using a qualitative research approach of personal interviews with 12 Japanese tourists, the study argues that an authentic locality which has provided traditional handmade udon noodles for the last 400 years for the local people can be developed as a food tourism destination. Since the main attraction of regional tourism in the Mizusawa region in Gunma prefecture of Japan is udon noodles, the study concluded that both tangible and intangible elements of udon noodle heritage contribute to the cultural values, identity construction, characteristics of the place and authentic tourist experiences. The study recommends examining cross-cultural differences in the interrelationships between food heritage, regional tourism and identity in a similar but broader Asian context for future studies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)89-100
    Number of pages12
    JournalTourism Recreation Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Food tourism
    • Identity
    • Intangible heritage
    • Japan
    • Nostalgia
    • Regional development


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