There’s worldwide appreciation for Japanese food, with Tokyo boasting the world’s highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants for the 12th year in a row in 2019. Not only is Japan home to some of the best chefs and restaurants in the world, but the Japanese cuisine (“washoku”) is also celebrated as one of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritages.
The main staples of Japanese food include rice (in various forms from steamed white rice to mochi), soy products (tofu, soy sauce, miso soup, natto), fish (sashimi, bonito flakes, grilled salmon), seaweed (kombu, nori, wakame), noodles (soba, udon, ramen), and tsukemono (Japanese pickles). Different regions of Japan also have their own specialty foods. Osaka, considered “The Nation’s Kitchen” is the birthplace of takoyaki, Kyoto is famous for tofu and yuba, and Okinawa is known for goya champuru (bittermelon stir fry). Many regions in Japan have their own special twists on dishes like Japanese ramen, nabe (hot pot), and ozoni (mochi soup eaten on New Year’s Day).
Explore the Japanese foods above and learn about the diversity of Japanese cuisine, then perhaps you can join a food experience and learn to make Japanese food during a cooking class, become an expert on Japanese sake or tea during a tasting experience, or discover your new favorite type of ramen during a ramen tour. The landscape of Japanese food is evolving, so eating in Japan is always an adventure, with restaurants and chefs riffing on traditional and modern foods, Eastern and Western cooking styles and flavors, and creating inventive eats like chocolate ramen, matcha beer, or ridiculously pillowy Japanese pancakes. Discover your new favorite Japanese food here on byFood and delve deeper into Japanese food culture.