What foods should I try in Japan?

Eating in Japan: the culinary highlights of Japanese cuisine at a glance

Japanese cuisine is considered to be the healthiest in the world, and almost every meal is based on rice, combined with meat, fish or vegetables. In Japan, a lot of emphasis is placed on its use regional and seasonal products placed. The Japanese are also very proud of their own cultivated ones rice. For us Germans, this is probably the best-known and most popular dish from Japan Sushi, wherein the Japanese definitely remain undefeated champions. What other culinary specialties Japan has to offer - and that's a lot - you can now find out from me.

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In Japan it is common to eat three to five smaller meals a day. You meet very often pickled vegetables, such as Chinese cabbage, cucumber, eggplant and beet, which used to be eaten mainly in winter. In Japan, unlike us, they are pickled in brine, miso or rice broth. The Japanese love to lovingly decorate their dishes. In general, you shouldn't have any problems on the way without knowledge of Japanese to have. Most restaurants have bilingual menus.

In Japan, in addition to western-style restaurants, you will also find traditional Japanese - furnished with tatami mats on the floor and low tables. When entering you should get yours take off shoesbefore you take a seat. You eat with Rod, there are small spoons for soups. You put the chopsticks on top of that Hashioki (Chopstick bank), because in Japan it is bad luck if you put the chopsticks in the bowl. The Japanese are very sustainable with food. Order only as much as you can actually eat. Leaving food over is very rude in Japan and also means that you didn't like it.


Japan is considered the country of Gourmet restaurants. If you want to try the food from the best star chefs in the world, you've come to the right place and will pay a lot of money for it. But don't worry: there is plenty of affordable food for you in Japan small budget. In normal restaurants you get for around twelve eurosa lunch or dinner. There are usually lunch or daytime offers that are cheaper. Cold and warm drinks are available in vending machines on every corner. For the small hunger you can use the delicious Onigiri try on every corner and pay less than one euro. Onigiri are rice balls. Different variations of fish, chicken and vegetables with rice are wrapped in an algae sheet to form a triangle.

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The traditional breakfast in Japan is completely different from the European one. The Japanese prefer to eat in the morning Rice with egg. There are also fried ones Fish or miso soup. But don't worry: not all Japanese stick to the old tradition. There are also omelets, salmon, salads and even the Americans managed to popularize toast with the Japanese. In hotels in particular, you usually get a European breakfast selection as you know it from Germany.


Soups are very popular as a starter in Japan and usually consist of three basic ingredients: dried tuna, kombu (seaweed) and shiitake mushrooms. Clear soups are then prepared from this. By the way, that is very tasty Suimono. It consists of freshly prepared dashi (fish stock), seasoned with soy sauce. In some suimonos there are also seafood, fish, meat or vegetables. The best known is the Miso Soup made with a paste made from soybeans and portions of rice, barley or grain. In addition, small pieces of tofu, wakame (seaweed) and spring onions are added to the soup.

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Main courses

The most important basis for most main dishes is Rice. There is also grilled fish, seafood or fried pork and chicken, as well as lots of vegetables and tofu. Japanese food is mostly very low fat and is one of the healthiest kitchens in the world. I tried my way through Japanese cuisine and summarized for you which Japanese main dishes you should definitely try on your trip:

  • The Bento box is the Japanese people's lunch break. There are little ones in the lunch box Appetizers made from rice, vegetables, fish and meat. The bento boxes are mostly taken from home, but can also be bought at train stations and in office areas.
  • If you travel to Japan, you should definitely visit it once sushi try. In Japan, sushi is almost never cooked yourself, but rather eaten in a restaurant - of course, prepared by a professional. Eating out is worth it, because the quality of sushi in Japan is miles away from most sushi restaurants in Germany.
  • Okonomiyakiare pancakes made from flour, radish, eggs and white cabbage. The thick pancakes are served with meat or vegetables, as well as various sauces garnished. On some menus the dish is also under the name Monjayakito find.
  • Omuriceis a dish that is especially popular with children. In one omelette is fried rice wrapped and eaten with ketchup. The fried rice typically includes chicken, carrots, and peas.
  • Unagimeans eel and is definitely something different in terms of taste. The eel is cooked and loses a large part of its fat content, which makes the dish great healthy and nutritious is. A must for everyone who wants to try something new!
  • Udon are noodles made from wheat flour and served in a hot soup. The broth gets its taste from fish stock, soy sauce and mirin (a sweet rice liqueur). The soup will then in different variations with vegetables, tofu, fish and meat.

Meat dishes

Even though Japan is best known for its fish dishes, there are also many delicious meat dishes that you should definitely try:

  • The Shabu-Shabuis a brew fondue for several people that is very similar to the German meat fondue. The meat is not cooked in hot fat, but in a spicy broth - definitely a healthier option! Finally, the contents of the pot are filled with pasta and as Soup eaten.
  • Yakitoriconsists only of grilled chicken skewers, sometimes with vegetables. The meat is lightly seared on a charcoal grill and with Soy sauce and seasoned salt. The skewers are often sold at street stalls or festivals as they are great for eating on hand.
  • Tempurais a classic dish of meat, fish or vegetables in sesame oil fried and served as an accompaniment to rice. The small bites are then dipped in delicious dips or soy sauce.


The beloved rice should not be missing from the Japanese desserts either. Mochis are small rice balls with a sticky, rubbery consistency. There is a filling in the middle sweet paste made from either green tea, sesame seeds, peanut butter, or fruit.

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The Japanese are known for being the best green tea the world. In Japan, tea is generally consumed with every meal. The trend of Japanese green tea powder also extends as far as Germany Matchaadvanced. The powder is infused with hot water and with a little Bamboo whisk foamed. In addition to the classic matcha, many cafés also have matcha lattes, a delicious combination of tea and milk foam. The Japanese also brew their own Rice and plum wine, as well as delicious beer.

Vegetarian & vegan

Don't worry, there is enough food in Japan for vegetarians and vegans too. Just at sushi everyone thinks directly of raw fish, but there are so many variations of the delicious rice rolls. For example, you can make Maki filled with avocado, cucumber, pickled radish, Japanese pumpkin, shiitake or cream cheese try. Also the Wakame Salad, made from pickled green seaweed or with spinach salad Sesame paste flavored, delicious, healthy and guaranteed vegan. For most main courses you have the option to choose between vegetables and meat. You can also ask at any time whether the cook can leave something out or do it for you tofu replaced. Vegetarians should be careful with soups in particular. Because the suimono with vegetables and the miso soup look vegetarian at first glance, but often contain fish stock. So if you want to make sure that there is no fish in the soup, ask as a precaution!

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Did you get really hungry while reading and wonder where you can find the delicious dishes in Japan? Don't worry, I did a little research and listed the best restaurants for you:

  • Im Sukiyabashi Jiro and Sushi Mizutani in Tokyo you can find the greatest sushi master all over Japan. However, the restaurants are so popular that you should make a reservation about a month in advance of your planned visit.
  • You are guaranteed to find the best Unagi in Tokyo in Obana, because in the restaurant everything revolves around the eel, in all kinds of variations.
  • In Kyoto you can try many of the delicious Japanese specialties at the Nishiki Ichiba Market, such as motchi, yakitori or okonomiyaki. There is also a huge selection of different types of green tea.
  • Are you looking for restaurants with exceptional food and entertainment? Then you should read my post on the craziest and funniest themed restaurants in Japan and Tokyo.

Would you like to try the delicious food in Japan yourself? Then check out my Japan bargains and let's go! Are you still missing the overview of what there is to see in Japan? Then take a look at my travel tips for Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka. In my tips for Japan you will also find a summary of all goals and activities.