Last updated on April 9th, 2024 at 05:40 am

Welcome to Japan, a land of ancient traditions, breathtaking landscapes, and a culinary heritage that is both diverse and fascinating. Japanese cuisine is renowned worldwide for its fresh ingredients, artistic presentations, and exquisite flavors. Whether you’re a food enthusiast seeking new taste experiences or a seasoned traveler eager to indulge in authentic Japanese dishes, this blog is your ultimate guide. We present the top 20 must-try foods in Japan, carefully ranked and detailed to make your gastronomic journey an unforgettable one. Prepare your taste buds for a delightful adventure as we explore the best Japanese dishes that will leave you yearning for more.

1. Ramen: A Staple of Japan Food Culture 

best Japanese food

Embark on a culinary journey to savor one of the best Japanese dishes – Ramen. This beloved noodle soup captivates taste buds with its rich and flavorful broth, perfectly cooked noodles, and an array of mouthwatering toppings. From succulent slices of chashu pork to seasoned soft-boiled eggs and crunchy bamboo shoots, Ramen offers a symphony of textures and tastes in every bowl. Whether you prefer the classic tonkotsu or miso-based varieties or opt for innovative regional styles, Ramen’s popularity remains undeniable both in Japan and around the world. Embrace the warm comfort and soul-satisfying goodness of Japanese Ramen, an iconic dish that embodies the essence of Japan’s culinary excellence.

Michelin Rated 1 star Ramen In Tokyo:

2. Japanese Curry (Kare):

must try Japanese food

When exploring the best Japanese dishes, one cannot overlook the delightful Japanese Curry. This flavorful and heartwarming meal has become a beloved comfort food across the country. Combining a rich, thick curry sauce with tender meat and an assortment of vegetables, it creates a symphony of tastes that please the palate. Japanese Curry’s unique blend of spices and preparation methods sets it apart from traditional curries, offering a milder yet incredibly satisfying flavor. Whether served in restaurants, homes, or even fast-food chains, this dish has won the hearts of locals and travelers alike, making it what to eat in Japan and an essential part of Japan’s diverse and delicious culinary landscape.

3. Tonkatsu: Creating Best Japanese Dishes

must try Japanese foods

Discover the best of Japanese food with the irresistible Tonkatsu. This iconic dish features breaded and deep-fried pork cutlets that boast a perfect balance of crispiness and tenderness. The art of Tonkatsu lies in its preparation, as the meat is skillfully tenderized before being coated in breadcrumbs and fried to golden perfection. Served with a tangy sauce, shredded cabbage, and steamed rice, this dish exemplifies the harmony of flavors in Japanese cuisine. Whether enjoyed at a local eatery or prepared at home, Tonkatsu remains a favorite among both locals and visitors, showcasing the essence of the best Japanese food.

4. Matcha: All things Matcha

best Japanese foods

Japanese matcha, a revered powdered green tea, holds deep Japan food culture significance and has become a global sensation. Its vibrant green hue and refreshing taste have captivated tea enthusiasts and culinary aficionados alike. From the traditional art of tea ceremonies to modern interpretations in desserts and lattes, matcha continues to be an integral part of Japan’s rich heritage and a symbol of harmony and tranquility. Embark on a journey to discover the wonders of Japanese matcha, where tradition and innovation blend harmoniously in every sip and bite.

5. Kushikatsu:

best Japanese foods

Japanese kushikatsu, a beloved street food delicacy, brings a burst of flavors and textures to your taste buds. These deep-fried skewers offer a delightful medley of ingredients, from succulent meats and seafood to crisp vegetables, all coated in a light and flavorful batter. The key to kushikatsu’s charm lies in the accompanying dipping sauce, which adds an extra layer of taste to each bite. As you wander through the bustling streets of Japan, savoring these best Japanese dishes, you’ll experience the lively atmosphere and rich culinary heritage that make kushikatsu an essential part of Japanese street food culture.

6. Mochi:

best Japanese food

Immerse yourself in the delightful world of Japanese cuisine with a must try Japanese food – Mochi. These soft and chewy rice cakes have won the hearts of food enthusiasts worldwide. Traditionally made during special occasions and festivals, Mochi comes in a variety of flavors, from classic sweet red bean paste to refreshing matcha and fruity fillings. The process of pounding and shaping the glutinous rice dough into these delectable treats is an art in itself. As you bite into the pillowy texture and savor the unique flavors, you’ll experience the cultural significance and culinary finesse that make Mochi an essential part of Japanese gastronomy. Treat your taste buds to this delightful Japanese food, and discover the joy of this timeless and beloved delicacy.

7. Udon:

what to eat In Japan

Dive into the heart of Japan’s food culture and experience a must-try delicacy – Udon. These thick and chewy wheat noodles are a beloved staple that has stood the test of time. With a rich history dating back centuries, Udon’s popularity remains unwavering. Served in hot broths or chilled with various toppings, this versatile dish offers a delightful range of flavors and textures. From traditional favorites like tempura udon to regional variations showcasing local ingredients, exploring Udon is an exciting culinary adventure. Embrace Japan food culture with warmth and simplicity of this comforting Japanese dish, and you’ll understand why Udon holds a special place in the hearts of both locals and visitors, epitomizing the essence of Japan’s rich and diverse food culture.

8. Teriyaki Salmon:

what foods to eat In Japan

Indulge in one of the best Japanese dishes, the tantalizing Teriyaki Salmon. This mouthwatering delicacy showcases the perfect blend of flavors – succulent salmon glazed with a luscious teriyaki sauce. The dish boasts a harmonious balance of sweet and savory notes, creating an unforgettable taste experience. Whether enjoyed in a traditional Japanese restaurant or prepared at home, Teriyaki Salmon promises to delight your palate and immerse you in the rich culinary traditions of Japan. Treat yourself to this culinary gem and discover why it ranks among the best Japanese dishes cherished worldwide.

9. Gyūdon:

Japan food culture

When it comes to what to eat in Japan, Gyūdon stands out as a delectable and comforting choice. This popular must try Japanese food features thinly sliced beef simmered in a savory soy-based sauce, served over a bed of steaming rice. The tender meat, combined with the flavorful broth, creates a delightful explosion of taste with each spoonful. Gyūdon is not only a quick and satisfying meal but also a representation of Japanese culinary simplicity at its finest. As you delve into this delicious comfort food, you’ll discover why Gyūdon holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike, making it a must-try dish during your culinary adventures in Japan.

10. Wagyu Beef:

what food to try In Japan

Discover the epitome of luxury in Japanese cuisine with the must-try delicacy – Wagyu. Renowned worldwide for its unparalleled marbling and melt-in-your-mouth tenderness, Wagyu beef offers an extraordinary dining experience. Raised with utmost care and fed a special diet, the cattle produce a flavor and texture that is unlike any other beef. Whether enjoyed as succulent steaks, mouthwatering burgers, or even in traditional Japanese dishes like shabu-shabu and sukiyaki, Wagyu elevates the dining experience to new heights. Embrace the indulgence and savor the exquisite taste of Wagyu, as you immerse yourself in the captivating world of Japanese gastronomy.

11. Tempura:

best Japanese dishes

Indulge in the light and crispy goodness of Tempura, one of the best Japanese dishes. This delightful dish features lightly battered and deep-fried seafood and vegetables, offering a delicate texture and a burst of flavors with each bite. Immerse yourself in the culinary delight that is Tempura, a true masterpiece of Japanese cuisine.

12. Omurice:

best Japanese dish

This unique and comforting dish combines Western omelette with Japanese fried rice, creating a harmonious fusion of flavors. A fluffy omelette encases a delectable filling of seasoned fried rice, often topped with ketchup for a playful touch. Omurice’s popularity among locals and tourists alike is a testament to its delicious simplicity and heartwarming appeal. Whether enjoyed in cozy cafes or home-cooked with love, this dish captures the essence of Japanese comfort food, promising a satisfying and memorable dining experience for all who indulge in its flavorful embrace making it a best Japanese dishes.

13. Yakitori:

Japanese comfort food

Indulge in one of the best Japanese foods, Yakitori, and experience a delightful culinary journey. This beloved grilled chicken skewer dish showcases the art of simplicity in Japanese cuisine. Tender pieces of chicken, marinated in savory sauces and skillfully grilled to perfection, create a burst of flavors with every bite. Whether enjoyed in traditional izakayas or specialty restaurants, Yakitori offers a casual and social dining experience that captures the heart of Japanese culture. With a variety of cuts and creative seasoning options, this beloved street food epitomizes the essence of Japan’s culinary excellence and remains a favorite among food enthusiasts worldwide. Embrace the charm of Yakitori and savor the authentic taste of Japan in each succulent skewer.

14. Croquettes (Fried Potatoes):

Japanese fried food

Immerse yourself in the delightful world of must-try Japanese food with the beloved Croquettes. These golden-brown, crispy delights combine mashed potatoes, minced meat, or seafood, all bound together in a flavorful mixture and deep-fried to perfection. Whether enjoyed as a street snack or a comforting side dish in restaurants, Croquettes offer a satisfying blend of textures and flavors. With a crispy exterior and a soft, savory center, these tasty treats exemplify the art of Japanese comfort food. Embrace the joy of biting into a Croquette and experience the heartwarming simplicity that has made it a cherished part of Japan’s culinary landscape.

15. Soba:

Soba Noodles

Explore the rich tapestry of Japan’s food culture with the time-honored delicacy of Soba. These thin and nutritious buckwheat noodles have been a culinary tradition in Japan for centuries. Crafted with precision and care, Soba embodies the country’s deep-rooted appreciation for natural ingredients and traditional craftsmanship. Whether enjoyed in hot broth as zaru soba, chilled with dipping sauce, or in unique regional variations, Soba a delightful journey of taste and texture. Embracing the essence of Japan’s culinary heritage, Soba is more than just a dish; it is a symbol of the country’s dedication to preserving its culinary traditions and celebrating the beauty of simplicity in every satisfying slurp.

16. Onigiri (Stuffed Rice):

Japanese Snacks

Indulge in one of the best Japanese foods – Onigiri, and embark on a delightful journey through Japan’s culinary wonders. These beloved rice balls, wrapped in seaweed and filled with a variety of delectable ingredients, showcase the art of simplicity and portability in Japanese cuisine. From traditional fillings like umeboshi (pickled plum) to modern variations with grilled fish, Onigiri offers a diverse range of flavors to suit every taste. Whether enjoyed as a quick snack on the go or a satisfying meal, Onigiri has captured the hearts of locals and travelers alike with its heartwarming comfort and versatility. Savor the joy of biting into these delicious rice balls and experience the essence of Japan’s food culture in every delightful mouthful.

17. Miso Soup:

Miso Soup

Explore the soul-soothing essence of Japan’s food culture with the iconic Miso Soup. This time-honored best Japanese dishes has been a cornerstone of Japan’s cuisines for centuries. Combining a delicate balance of miso paste, dashi broth, and a medley of ingredients like tofu, seaweed, and scallions, Miso Soup embodies the art of simplicity and umami-rich flavors. Served as a comforting starter in traditional meals or as a soothing remedy during colder days, this nourishing soup is a symbol of Japanese hospitality and warmth. Beyond its delightful taste, Miso Soup reflects the deep-rooted connection between food and culture in Japan, making it a staple that holds a special place in the hearts of locals and food enthusiasts worldwide.

18. Sushi:

Japan’s most popular food dish

Embark on an exquisite culinary journey with one of the best Japanese dishes, Sushi. This world-famous delicacy brings together bite-sized pieces of vinegared rice topped with fresh seafood, creating a harmonious blend of flavors that promises a delightful feast for your palate. Prepare to savor the true essence of Japan food culture with every delectable bite.

Michelin Guide Tokyo:

19. Okonomiyaki:

Food to try in Osaka

Don’t miss out on the must try Japanese food, Okonomiyaki, a savory pancake that captivates taste buds with its unique flavors. Translating to “grilled as you like it,” Okonomiyaki offers a delightful blend of cabbage, meat or seafood, and other toppings, all bound together in a savory batter. Cooked on a hot griddle, the dish exudes a tantalizing aroma as it crisps to perfection. Served with a generous drizzle of okonomiyaki sauce, mayo, and bonito flakes, this savory treat embodies the essence of Japan’s comfort food. Whether enjoyed at local eateries or in the lively streets of Osaka, Okonomiyaki promises an unforgettable culinary adventure, where you can personalize each pancake to suit your taste preferences. Embrace the flavors of Japan and immerse yourself in the joy of savoring this beloved and versatile dish.

20. Takoyaki:

Fried Octopus Pancake

Immerse yourself in the delightful world of must try Japanese food with the irresistible Takoyaki. These delectable octopus-filled savory balls have won the hearts of locals and visitors alike. Cooked to perfection in special takoyaki pans, the golden-brown spheres boast a crispy exterior and a soft, flavorful center. Topped with a medley of sauces, mayonnaise, and bonito flakes, Takoyaki offers an explosion of taste and texture in every bite. Whether enjoyed as a street snack or a popular choice in izakayas, this iconic dish showcases Japan’s culinary creativity and love for delicious, handheld treats. Embrace the charm of Takoyaki and savor the authentic taste in each delectable ball making a must try food in Japan.

Best Japanese Food Eating Experience: Kaiseki Meal

Traditional Japanese Kaiseki

Embark on a culinary journey through Japan’s food culture with the exquisite experience of Kaiseki. This traditional multi-course must try Japanese meal showcases the country’s culinary artistry and attention to detail. Rooted in the philosophy of harmony and balance, Kaiseki features seasonal and locally sourced ingredients prepared with utmost care and precision. Each course is thoughtfully designed to delight the senses, from the delicate flavors to the stunning presentation. Kaiseki’s focus on showcasing the essence of each ingredient reflects Japan’s deep respect for nature and the changing seasons. As you savor this culinary masterpiece, you’ll not only experience the epitome of Japanese gastronomy but also gain insight into the profound cultural significance of Kaiseki in preserving the country’s rich food heritage.

Conclusion of What To Eat In Japan:

Discover the best Japanese dishes and explore Japan’s rich food culture on a gastronomic adventure in the Land of the Rising Sun. From the renowned Sushi to the comforting Ramen, indulge in a celebration of flavors, textures, and culinary artistry that captivates the senses. Japan’s culinary heritage offers a unique and unforgettable dining experience. These are my favorite foods of what to eat In Japan. Enjoy.
Japan Travel Guide

Is tipping customary in Japanese restaurants?

No, tipping is not customary in Japan. Exceptional service is already included in the price, and offering a tip may cause confusion.

Are there vegetarian options available in Japanese cuisine?

Yes, Japan offers various vegetarian options, including vegetable sushi, tempura, and tofu-based dishes. Vegetarian restaurants and options are becoming more prevalent in major cities.

What is the best time to visit Japan for its food festivals?

Japan hosts food festivals throughout the year, with many coinciding with local harvest seasons. Cherry blossom season in spring and autumn foliage season are popular times to experience food festivals and local delicacies.

 Is it polite to slurp noodles in Japan?

Yes, in Japan, slurping noodles is considered a sign of enjoyment and appreciation for the meal. It is a cultural norm and shows that you are enjoying the dish.

Can I find halal food options in Japan?

While Japan is not as well-known for halal food, major cities and tourist areas have an increasing number of restaurants offering halal-certified dishes to accommodate Muslim travelers.

What is the difference between Ramen and Udon noodles?

Ramen noodles are thin and springy, often served in a flavorful broth, while Udon noodles are thick and chewy, commonly served in a milder broth. Both are delicious and worth trying during your Japan visit.

How should I eat Sushi properly?

When eating Sushi, use chopsticks or your fingers, and dip the fish side (not the rice) into soy sauce. Eat the piece in one bite to savor the full flavor combination. Avoid adding wasabi to the soy sauce, as the Sushi is already seasoned by the chef.


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