Japanese Food & Dishes

Japanese Food & Japanese Dishes

Nabe shabu shabu, sukiyaki, chanko nabe


In Japanese, nabe simply means pot. nabe ryori (pot cooking) has become a generic term for meals cooked in a pot - vegetables, meat and noodles or rice cooked at the table in a communal pot.
The pot is filled with a broth or flavouring and then the ingredients are gradually added to cook. Everyone helps themselves from the pot in the middle of them.
Depending on the dish, iron or clay cooking pots may be used, but when one eats nabe at home, it tends to be from a clay pot.
These dishes are definitely a healthy, winter warmer and are known to originate from rural areas sometime around the 9th century.

by Caroline Klein

Bagels Bridging Cultures with Bagels


Bagels are starting to sprout up by the dozen in bread shops, coffee shops and train stations in Japan, even in the small city in the south where I live.
The taste is mostly light and soft; and although there are great-tasting breads, none that I tried had yet come close enough to compare with a New York Bagel.
Nor could I even imagine a cross-cultural comparison between these and the dense, chewy New York varieties that I practically grew up.
My meeting with a bagel from Hokkaido was the first time I had to even re-consider my stance.
The encounter took place on the eighth floor of our 'hometown' department store, Tokiwa. Every year they hold a week-long Hokkaido Festival where vendors of well-known products from the northern most island of Japan --- known for ramen and Sapporo beer --- come to our southern most island of Japan to sell their gastronomic wares.

by Joanne G. Yoshida

Japanese Knives The Knives of Sakai

Japanese Knives.

Those who cook for a living, often take pride in having the best kitchen knives. Until recently knives from Germany were held in that regard, but now chefs around the world are recognizing Japan as another contributor of top standard cutlery.
What makes Japanese knives outstanding are the qualities that result from a centuries old practice of craftsmanship. Traditionally made Japanese kitchen knives inherit techniques employed in making katana, the swords of the samurai, that were not only weapons upon which warriors' lives depended; they were symbols of honor and devotion to discipline. Japanese kitchen tools embody the identity and pride of the nation, and preserve a part of her cultural history, to get better acquainted with them, the place to go is the city of Sakai, just south of Osaka.

Alan Wiren

Umibudou Sea Grapes From Okinawa

Umibudo - sea grapes.

Umibudou literally translates as "Sea Grapes." It's a kind of seaweed but instead of leaves it has little bubbles growing on its stems. Thus the serving looks like small, green grapes. The bubbles break on your tongue and release a slightly salty taste of pure Southern Sea freshness. This breaking of little bubbles is called puchi-puchi in Japanese, an expression recreating the sound of the pop of a small air bubble. Not many foods provide that puchi-puchi sensation on the tongue - making the umibudou an especially exciting experience for many Japanese gourmets.

Johannes Schonherr

Restaurants in Japan Where To Eat In Japan.

Restaurants in Japan.

Choose from our selection of quality restaurants, cafes and bars on where to eat out in Japan's major towns and cities:
We have listings for Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Kobe, Sapporo, Sendai, Niigata.
Our growing entertainment and dining recommendations include Japanese, Italian, Indian, Nepali, Turkish, Thai, Moroccan, Irish and Asian cuisine as well as traditional izakaya, yakitoriya, okonomiyakiya, plus sports bars, British, Irish and Aussie-style pubs, clubs and coffee houses.

To list your business, whether it is a restaurant, cafe or bar, on JapanVisitor.com at reasonable rates or for free:
Contact JV

Michelin Restaurants in Japan Where To Eat In Style in Japan.

MichelinRestaurants in Japan.

Michelin first covered Tokyo, or actually a narrow slice of central Tokyo, in 2007. The results stunned France, and particularly Paris, as Tokyo became the city with the greatest number of three-star restaurants in the world. The current ranking has Tokyo at number one with a total of fourteen, Paris sulking in second place with ten, and Kyoto in third with seven. New York has six three-star restaurants, and London but two. The rankings - and the Michelin Guide itself - have of course not been without controversy.

Books On Japanese Food Japanese Food Books Reviews.

Books on Japanese food.

Read our reviews of the latest best-selling books on Japanese food and cuisine and eating out in Japan.

Interest in the low-fat, healthy Japanese diet has increased in recent years and our comprehensive review of food books includes titles on traditional Japanese recipes, sushi, fusion food, new trends in Japanese cuisine, Japanese dishes for wine lovers, vegetarian dishes, dining-out, restaurant guides, cooking utensils, Japanese knives, sake, vegan food and green tea.

Authors include Hiroko Shimbo, Harumi Kurihara, Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, Yuko Fujita, Machiko Chiba, Mari Fujii, Eric Gower, Robb Satterwhite and Ming Tsai.

Food Replicas Authentic Food Samples From Japan.

Food Replicas from Japan.

Over 80% of Japanese restaurants now display food replicas in their shop windows to help customers decide what to order and give information on prices. The first food replicas in Japan date back over 80 years.
Food samples gained added popularity with restaurant owners after 1945, when the arrival of more westerners post-war, created the need for a simplified ordering system. Now this art in the window is becoming popular overseas, too.

Ponshu Sampling Sake at Echigo-Yuzawa Station.

Ponshu-kan, Niigata.

The Japanese fondness for drinking is unashamedly displayed at JR Echigo-Yuzawa Station, Niigata Prefecture, where a section of the station has been set aside for enjoying sake-themed art, tasting sake from all parts of Niigata, eating foods made with sake, and, of course, buying sake. Another amusement for hedonistic travelers is soaking in a bath filled with sake and hot spring water.

Visitors to this center of sake madness, called the Ponshu-kan, are warmly greeted at the entrance by the statue of a ruddy-faced grinning salaryman who is enthusiastically waving a large sake bottle. He seems so friendly that many visitors stop to have their photographs taken with him. Hanging around his neck and laid upon his grey suit is a sign welcoming people inside. The sign is written in the casual way that a drunken man using the local Niigata dialect might speak.

Sakenojin Sake Fair in Niigata.

Sakenojin, Niigata.

Are you a sake connoisseur desiring to taste some of the most delicious sake in Japan, a sake neophyte wanting to learn more about Japan's best drink, or a tightwad trying to drink as much sake as possible for just 2,000 yen (about US $25.00)?
If the answer is "yes" to any of the above, the Niigata Sakenojin is an occasion not to be missed.
It is the Octoberfest of Japan: in fact, the Niigata Sake Brewers Association's website proclaims that the Octoberfest of Germany was the inspiration for the first Sakenojin, held in 2004. However, Sakenojin always happens March. March is the month when the clear-liquid gold of Niigata cascades from bottles into sake cups and then into open mouths, like glittering water cascading off waterfalls into pools.
If Bacchus were a Japanese god, he would absolutely be in attendance with a sake cup in his hand.

Sayama Tea Join the tea harvest in Tokorozawa.

Sayama tea.

Sayama Tea is one of the northern-most teas grown in Japan. The plantation area reaches from Higashi Murayama in Northwest Tokyo to Iruma in Saitama, with Tokorozawa being more or less in the center of it. The neighboring town of Sayama lent the tea its name.
But if you really like Japanese tea, go there in April and ask the question: "Need a harvest helper?" What better way could there be to get a real hands-on education on tea than by experiencing the harvest first-hand?
The harvest season is in late April and you will most likely get the answer, "Sure, always." You get the approximate harvest time and the phone number of the farm.
Call in and get the final details for the harvest once the dates have eventually been set. They depend on the weather - you can't harvest tea in the rain.

Suppon Turtle Soup A Power Food & Expensive Delicacy.

Suppon Turtle Soup.

Suppon (Asian soft-shell turtles) are considered both a power food and an extravagant delicacy in China and Japan. They are said to give strength to the infirm, potency to men and an extraordinary pleasure to the palate. While the performance-enhancing properties of a bowl of suppon are hard to prove, a forbiddingly expensive delicacy it remains to this day in traditional-style upscale restaurants in Kyoto and Tokyo. There are ways to get around the latter problem, though. Now, what about the pleasure to the palate? I went to find out by visiting Ajimu in Oita Prefecture in deepest Kyushu.

Vegetarian Sushi Healthy Eating To Save The Planet.

Vegetarian Sushi.

The popular sushi train with its delicious meals continues to chug across the world, with devastating costs to ocean life. Sushi shops are popping up across Brazil, sushi trains are chugging across Australian countertops. Sushi is even a choice at some local outdoor markets in Thailand.

At the same time, fish populations are crashing. The first wild Bluefin tuna to be auctioned at Tokyo's famous fish market, Tsukiji, on the first of January sold for 4.5 million yen. Why such an exorbitant price for a 180 kilogram fish? It is delicious, and Bluefin tuna is being eaten into extinction. The same situation applies to many other fish species that you probably enjoy eating. What are you going to do?

Ichishima Sake Brewery Tour Historic Sake Brewery in Shibata, Niigata.

Ichishima Sake Brewery Tour.

Sake and Japanese culture fans will take great pleasure in a one-of-a-kind tour of local sake history, guided by Kenji Ichishima, president of the Ichishima Sake Brewery - which continually wins national and international awards for its premium sakes. His tour is among the best sake brewery tours in the nation. Ichishima will introduce you to his family history, Japanese sake culture, and, of course, the sake his brewery perfects.

We had called in advance to request our free tour, and Ichishima warmly welcomed us at the front of the brewery his family has been running since its founding in 1790, two hundred and twenty-five years ago. Sake is, literally and figuratively, in his blood. He grew up in and around his family's brewery, which is located in the small town of Shibata, Niigata, where the drinking water comes from snow melting in the mountains above town.

Ekiben Lunch Boxes Bought At Railway Stations.


The word ekiben is a shorthand combination of the words eki (railway station) and bento (boxed lunch). Long-distance train stations are the places to buy them - before boarding the train.

Larger stations feature special ekiben stores, smaller stations might have just a few little stalls or sell it on their kiosks.

Tokyo Station houses a great number of ekiben stores. While the Tokyo Station Bento may be a specialty available only here, the variety of ekiben on sale is staggering. There are not only lunch boxes available from all the traditional bento makers in Tokyo but there are also lunch boxes on sale from makers across Japan.

Uji Tea Culture center of the green tea universe.

Uji Tea Culture.

Historically and culturally, Uji is the most distinct tea-producing region of Japan. For over a thousand years, Uji has been the nexus of Zen Buddhism, tea growing, tea processing, tea-cuisine development, and tea trading. Farmers in Uji grow the tastiest tea in the country, or so say most Japanese tea experts. For Japanese tea connoisseurs, Uji could be the center of the universe.

Numerous temples, teahouses, farms, tea markets, and other tea-related sites that tell stories of the development of Japan's unique culture exist within Uji.

Wara Natto traditional straw-wrapped natto from Mito.

War natto from Mito.

In eastern Japan, in the Kanto and Tohoku regions, a typical breakfast rice topping is natto. Natto consists of fermented soybeans, is has a strong smell and when you move it with your chopsticks, it draws slimy strings.

Mix the natto with karashi mustard and soy sauce and some negi cuts (Welsh onion), then put it on your rice, and mix it into the rice. Some people also mix their natto with a raw egg.

There are of course many other dishes that involve natto. Natto can be rolled into maki sushi, onigiri rice balls can be filled with natto, it can be added to miso soup, in salads, it can even be eaten with spaghetti.

Tsuji Culinary School

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