As the northernmost region of Japan, it is no wonder that Hokkaido has many culinary delights to keep warm during the winter.

From the best ramen to a grill named after one of the world’s most notorious historical figures, here are five foods that are guaranteed to defrost you on a trip to Hokkaido.

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Garaku

A favourite in the region created in the 1970s by a local cafe, Garaku is an internationally inspired modern Japanese curry soup dish.

The broth is brewed for over 10 hours with over 25 international spices added for flavour, while the vegetables inside are lightly sautéed to keep their taste having been locally sourced.

Rice is served on the side, and diners have a choice of meat or seafood with the soup.

Ramen

Did you know that ramen originated from Hokkaido?

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But the Hokkaido-style ramen is generally referred to as miso ramen.

Unlike the regular clear broth, miso ramen is cloudy as it is flavoured with red miso paste.

Aside from miso ramen, salt and soy sauce ramen are also a local favourite.

While both miso and salt ramen use traditional pork broth, soy sauce ramen can be cooked with a seafood based broth, reflecting the abundance of seafood in the Hokkaido region.

Butadon

Butadon translates to pork rice and was created in Obihiro, which is still the place to go.

Its popularity arises from the simplicity of buttery soft pork slices drizzled with the sweet and tangy special sauce served over fragrant rice.

The only thing that accompanies the combination is a sprinkling of peas or simple greens as garnish.

Jingisukan

Jingisukan’s curious name derives from Genghis Khan, firstly because it is a mutton dish, and secondly because the convex plate the meat is cooked on resembles the shape of Mongolian soldiers’ hat.

The dishes inception had to do with the government’s introduction of sheep farms in the area.

It is the local’s favourite way to barbecue, with the meat grilled and then dipped in either soy sauce or salt and pepper.

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Ishikari Nabe

With cold weather and fresh seafood, it is no wonder that salmon miso hotpot is popular during winter.

It is pretty straight forward with salmon cooked in a miso broth alongside vegetables and tofu.

The dish was pioneered by fishermen on the Ishikari River, who cooked the hotpot using whatever was available, including freshly caught salmon.

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