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Utsunomiya (宇都宮) is the capital city of Tochigi Prefecture located about 100 kilometers north of Tokyo. The city is above all else famous for gyoza, small meat and vegetable dumplings that are usually pan-fried or boiled, and gyoza restaurants can be found throughout the city. Gyoza from Utsunomiya is typically larger and juicier than in other areas of Japan, and visitors come in droves to queue outside the more famous establishments.

The “Venus of Gyoza” statue on the first level outside the West Exit of Utsunomiya Station

Incidentally, the reason why Utsunomiya is famous for dumplings is because many of the soldiers from the city were station in China during the World War II. After the war, they returned home armed with the the dumpling recipe and began to open up restaurants around the city. And in a commodity scare post-war Japan, small dumplings with a good mix of vegetables and pork which could be made cheaply and quickly helped further their popularity.

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