JAPAN EATS: 12 Must-Eat Dishes

Japan is rich not just in culture and history, but also in all sorts of delicious food. The country is a foodie haven from sushi to rice meals to ramen. You can spend a couple of days just eating and drinking. Discover a different side of Japanese culture by going on a culinary adventure. Japan has plenty of dishes to try, these are just some of them.


This dish is one of the most famous coming out of the country. Many have exported it or put their own spin on it, but the best place to try it is still in Japan. There are many variants but the main ones are miso, tonkotsu, soy, and salt. Different regions and cities have their own twist of this dish. It is a practical meal choice especially for the cold days of autumn, winter, and spring. One of the most famous restaurants to eat ramen is Ichiran, but you can find a bowl of noodles in small eateries as well.


Sushi is another famous Japanese import that has spread all over the world. Some would say sushi is synonymous with Japanese cuisine. This simple dish of rice with various ingredients such as veggies, seaweed, fish and others will create an explosion of flavors in your mouth. Some of the popular types of sushi are maki, nigiri, and temaki just to name a few. Dip your favorite in wasabi and/or soy sauce. For a unique experience, try the conveyor belt restaurants and just pick the sushi you want.


Yakitori refers to grilled chicken or anything grilled in general. You’ll find many small restaurants in alleys or streets grilling meat in different cities all over the country. Just follow the enticing smell and loud conversations and you’ll find yakitori served along with alcoholic drinks. The informal ambiance makes it a good place to hang out with friends or make new ones.


For those who prefer rice to noodles, katsudon is a good alternative. This popular dish consists of rice topped with egg and pork chop. This is a popular dish for locals not only because of its delicious taste but also because “katsu” sounds like the Japanese verb for “to win.” You can find katsudon in convenience stores and some restaurants.


Tempura is a deep-fried dish of either seafood or vegetables. Shrimp tempura is the most recognizable variant. Tempura is seasoned with a mix of sugar, soy sauce, and ginger to give it a distinct taste. It is served with a sweetish sauce.


Who would’ve thought that raw food could be delicious? This is the case for sashimi. This refers to thin slices of raw beef, chicken or seafood. If you’re looking for an exotic dish to try, this is it. You can find this in many establishments all over Japan.

Kare Raisu

Some travelers prefer rice meals over noodles or raw food, kare raisu is a possible and filling go-to meal. This delicious and spicy dish comes with beef, chicken or pork cutlet topped with Japanese curry. You can also include vegetables with this dish. Some restaurants provide you with the option of adjusting the degree of spiciness. Coco Ichiban is a local and tourist favorite that serves this type of dish.


Soba literally means “buckwheat” in Japanese. It is a type of thin noodle pasta served hot or cold. Some establishments offer it with tempura on the side. Try soba after eating the different types of ramen.


This “pizza looking pancake” is a delicious mix of ingredients such as yam, flour, eggs, beef, shrimp, cheese and others. In some restaurants, customers can try making okonomiyaki on their own. It can get quite messy once you try to cook the other side of the pancake. The experience of making this dish is part of the fun, but you can always let the professionals do it and just eat.


If you have a big budget for food, kaiseki is an option to consider. This dish is a perfect example of fine dining in Japan. This epitomizes the Japanese way of focusing on details. The course goes through different small, carefully crafted dishes that provide you with the best food the country has to offer.


This beef pot dish includes some vegetables, tofu, and sweetish soy sauce in a soup, which is perfect for cold weather. This dish gained popularity after the Meiji government lifted a ban on eating meat. The warm broth and the beef flavor will satisfy your hunger.


If you’re looking for a filling bowl of rice, gyudon is what you need. This dish has a rice topping of beef, ginger, pepper, some onions, egg and even tofu depending on where you eat. It is a simple meal but delicious and hunger-satisfying.

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