Creative ideas bring ‘dam curry’ to life

Images courtesy of Kome no Ko no Taki Drive-in, left, and Courtesy of Tas Park Hotel

1. Gassan Dam
Sightseeing spots and folklore around the facility, such as the Dewa Sanzan mountains and the legend of a tengu long-nosed goblin, are represented in this curry. ¥880 at Kome no Ko no Taki Drive-in in Tsuruoka.
Tel: (0235) 54-6311
2. Nagai Dam
In this dish, the “dam” is represented by the saffron butter rice. ¥1,080 at the cafe and restaurant Charoy of Tas Park Hotel in Nagai. Tel: (0238) 88-1833

By Sawa Matsumoto / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterYAMAGATA — Visitors to dams around the nation can usually find some interesting versions of the popular curry and rice meals dubbed “dam curry.” In Yamagata Prefecture as well, restaurants near dams serve the dish by arranging the ingredients to resemble the dam and other elements. These creations draw not only dam enthusiasts, but also tourists curious to see and taste the dishes.

According to a website that introduces varieties of the dish from around the nation, there were more than 145 types of dam curry as of March.

In Yamagata Prefecture, six varieties of dam curry are available: Gassan Dam in Tsuruoka city, Nagai Dam in Nagai city, Shirakawa Dam in Iide town, Mogami-Ogunigawa Dam in Mogami town, Kamigo Dam in Asahi town, and Sagae Dam in Nishikawa town. A new version of Sagae Dam curry became available earlier this month following a change in management at the restaurant near the dam.

Slide 1 of 3


  • Images courtesy of Iide Town Chiiki Shinko Kosha, left, and Club Shokudo

    3. Shirakawa Dam
    This curry dish uses rice to represent the dam and garnishes to convey the four seasons. The photo shows the summer version of the dish. ¥850 at the Shirakawaso inn in Iide, located upstream from the dam. Tel: (0238) 77-2124
    4. Mogami-Ogunigawa Dam
    This curry is made from asparagus, a specialty of Mogami town. Asparagus stalks are stuck into the rice and the curry is “discharged” when the vegetables are pulled out. Only sold on Saturdays and Sundays, limited to 20 servings each day. ¥1,000 at Club Shokudo in Mogami. Tel: (0233) 45-2621

  • Yomiuri Shimbun photos

    5. Sagae Dam
    This curry features three flavors: edamame, local pumpkin and Yamagata beef. ¥1,120 at the restaurant on the second floor of the Gassanko Mizu no Bunkakan rest area in the town of Nishikawa. Tel: (0237) 75-2555
    6. Kamigo Dam
    This voluminous curry has a “dam” made from about 300 grams of rice. Only five servings are available per day. ¥800 at the Tanpopo Shokudo restaurant, located at the Oishii Dewa Sanchoku Ichiba farmers’ market in Asahi town. Tel: (0237) 83-4551

  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

Kamigo Dam curry is served at Tanpopo Shokudo, a restaurant at the Oishii Dewa Sanchoku Ichiba farmers’ market. The eatery, which added the dish to its menu in January, uses about 300 grams of cooked rice to represent the dam built over a sausage lying at the bottom of the dish. The curry is slowly “discharged from the dam” when the diner pulls the sausage away from the rice.

“It’s hard to ‘construct’ dam curry, but I enjoy preparing it,” said Shizuko Matsuda, 62, who works at the restaurant.

Saki Miyajima, 46, who manages the dam curry website, said many of the areas that are home to dams are facing decreasing populations.

“Visiting dams and eating curry there can help vitalize the communities,” Miyajima said.

To find out more about Japan’s attractions, visit


Click to play


+ -

Generating speech. Please wait...

Become a Premium Member to use this service.

Become a Premium Member to use this service.

Offline error: please try again.