10 Famous Traditional Food In Japan


A brief matome of Japan’s traditional foods from a Japanese perspective.


Sushi is one of the most famous Japanese foods. Sushi is vinegar rice topped with (a slice of) fish, meat, or vegetables. The main ingredients of sushi is rice and raw/cooked fish or other seafood. You can enjoy a wide variety of sushi such as: nigiri, maki, and chirashi in Japan. One thing that is similar to sushi is sashimi. Do you know the difference between sushi and sashimi? It’s very simple: sushi has vinegar rice but sashimi does not.


Ramen is Japanese-styled noodles, served in hot soup. This type of noodle dish originally came from China in the 19th century and we developed our own type with a hundred variation. There are basically 4 types of Ramen, which are often available: Miso, Shoyu, Shio, Tonkotsu. Shoyu Ramen has the oldest and the most popular flavour for Japanese people because it is made from soy sauce. Its soup is brown in colour and seems worth trying by foreign visitors.


Tempura is seafood or vegetables that have been covered in batter and fried in oil. The batter is made by dissolving flour and egg in water. If you want to try a typical Japanese food, Tempura is the best choice! Tempura is quite similar to a fritter but what is unique about Tempura is that we dip it into sauce. Eggplant, pumpkin, mushroom and small sweet peppers are typically the vegetables that can be cooked as Tempura. Seafood Tempura is also popular in Japan, such as squid, shrimp, and conger eel.


Soba noodles are part of traditional Japanese dishes and have been eaten since the Edo period 1603 to 1868. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour (roughly as thick as spaghetti). Soba noodles are very healthy, high in nutrients and low in fat and cholesterol.


Tonkatsu is tender deep-fried pork cutlets served Japanese-style. With Tonkatsu, the cutlets are covered with flour, egg and then bread crumbs for a crispy texture when fried. There are plenty of dishes derived from Tonkatsu.


Tonkatsu and onion are simmered in a mixture of dashi soup stock and sweet soy sauce. A raw egg is then scrambled and put on the Tonkatsu. When the egg is cooked, the combination is placed on a bowl of rice.

「カツカレー」”Pork Cutlet Curry over Rice”

Tonkatsu on rice covered with a Japanese-style curry.

「カツサンド」”Cutlet sandwich”

Tonkatsu sandwich with sauce added for a zesty flavor.


Okonomiyaki is a Japanese-style pancake (or pizza) made from eggs, flour and water with many different toppings. We eat Japanese-style pancakes with sweet and savoury sauce, similar to Worcestershire sauce. We have two types of Okonomiyaki, Osaka style and Hiroshima style. With Osaka style, we scramble eggs, flour and many different toppings and fry in a pan. With Hiroshima style, each ingredient is piled up in a particular order. Noodles are also sandwiched between the layers in Hiroshima style.


It is a Japanese stew in which a variety of ingredients are simmered together in a pot of kelp broth and soy sauce. Popular ingredients include a Japanese radish (daikon), a tube-shaped fish cake (chikuwa), a devil’s tongue (konnyaku), boiled eggs and deep-fried tofu (atsuage). It is a popular family dish. Many people enjoy eating it especially during winter. Oden is sold at local convenience stores or street stands.


Sukiyaki is a Japanese dish made of beef, vegetables, grilled tofu, and shirataki noodles simmered in Warishita sauce. The sauce is made with soy sauce, sugar and cooking sake. You take what you want to eat from the pot, dip it in the raw egg and eat it. Sukiyaki is a staple Japanese food with a relatively short history dating back 200 years ago.


Yakitori is grilled chicken skewered from several bite-sized pieces of various parts of chicken. Yakitori is grilled chicken skewers. It is grilled over charcoal with salt or sweet soy sauce until tender and juicy. Pork and beef, along with their guts, are also used for yakitori. Yakitori is a staple food in Japanese Pubs.

「しゃぶしゃぶ」”Shabu Shabu”

Shabu-shabu is a Japanese dish where thinly sliced beef is cooked in a traditional hot-pot full of boiling broth. The meat is cooked by gently dipping and waving it around in the broth with chopsticks. The beef is so thin you can almost see through it, so it cooks quickly and is ready to eat as soon as its colour changes. Goma-dare (sesame sauce) and ponzu (soy sauce mixed with citrus vinegar) are the most popular sauces for shabu-shabu. You can also put vegetables and tofu in the pot and enjoy as well. Once all the beef and vegetables are eaten, the meal is finished by boiling flat noodles called kishimen in the remaining broth.

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