50 Traditional Japanese Foods

Traditional Japanese Foods
Image credit: thespruceeats.com

Traditional Japanese foods are often known for their simplicity. Usually, they consist of only a few ingredients that come together to create something savory and delicious. 

While most of these dishes may seem simple, that doesn’t mean they don’t have much to offer!

From rice balls to noodles, here are some traditional Japanese foods you should try at least once in your life.

1. Shirasu / Shirasudon

Shirasu / Shirasudon is the first of the traditional Japanese foods list we’ll talk about. It consists of fresh fish (e.g., anchovies) that have been boiled in water and strained.

Then simmer in dashi broth with soy sauce and mirin until they become tender. The fish are then cut into small pieces or strips before being served atop a rice bowl.

The dish is most popular as a breakfast food, although it can be eaten anytime. Shirasu / Shirasudon is served alongside other typical breakfast foods such as miso soup and natto.

Although, the dish can also be enjoyed for lunch or dinner and on its own without other accompaniments if desired.

2. Somen

The second on this list of traditional Japanese foods is Somen, a thin, white noodle that is served cold. It is often topped with grated daikon radish, green onion, and soya sauce.

Somen noodles are typically served in a large bowl of iced water and eaten with chopsticks. Further, Somen noodles are best when fresh and not overcooked, as they become soggy and lose their texture.

They can be cooked using boiling or hot water, but they should always be rinsed in cold water before serving.

The noodles should not be boiled for more than one minute, if over-cooked it becomes stiff and difficult to eat.

3. Imagawayaki

Imagawayaki is a Japanese dessert made of sweet red-bean paste that is rolled up in an egg pancake with brown sugar, butter, and soy sauce.

As it cooks, the sugar caramelizes and melts into the red bean paste. It’s soft and moist on the inside with a crispy exterior. 

Additionally, Imagawayaki can be served cold or hot, depending on the weather outside. If you’re looking for some delicious traditional Japanese foods, this one will satisfy your sweet tooth!

4. Melonpan

Melonpan is a traditional Japanese bread with a sweet, crunchy exterior and a soft, chewy interior. The bread was created in the mid-1950s by two bakers from Nagoya, Japan.

Melonpan is popular among children and adults alike for its delicious taste and unique texture. Plus, it can be eaten on its own or with other sweets.

Melonpan, as one of the traditional Japanese foods, has many variations. They include square-shaped, chocolate-covered, or filled with custard cream inside.

5. Warabimochi

Warabimochi is one of the traditional Japanese foods that can be eaten year-round. It is made by boiling and steaming glutinous rice, which is then pounded into a paste. 

The paste is formed into blocks and cooled, where it becomes chewy. Further, Warabimochi pairs well with a light soup and can be served as the final course of a meal or as an afternoon snack. 

6. Daifuku

On this list of traditional Japanese foods, if you’re looking for more of a sweet dessert, try Daifuku. Daifuku is a small round mochi stuffed with a sweet filling such as red bean paste or white bean paste. These are typically wrapped in sheets of nori and are sometimes rolled up in Anko.

7. Tamagoyaki

This dish is a traditional Japanese food that you should try at least once. It is a rolled omelet made from eggs and sugar with added dashi soy sauce.

The ingredients are mixed and heated until the eggs form an omelet. The omelet is then rolled up like a sushi roll and cut into pieces, usually about six pieces per roll.

Tamagoyaki is often served as breakfast in Japan and can be found on many menus worldwide as well. All in all, it is one of the traditional Japanese foods to serve your guests without worries!

8. Tsukemono

One of the traditional Japanese foods which are most often served with rice and other dishes is Tsukemono. Tsukemono may include vegetables, seaweed, or fish.

In Japan, tsukemono can be served as an appetizer or eaten with the main meal. Usually, they are served in small bowls and are meant to be consumed quickly before they spoil.

One of the most popular tsukemono recipes is daikon oroshi, which includes grated daikon radish seasoned with soy sauce and salt.

Another common dish is Nuka (fermented rice), where cooked rice is allowed to ferment for days or weeks before being eaten. Nuka may be combined with vinegar or sake for flavor.

9. Robatayaki

Robatayaki is a type of barbecue that originated in Japan. Often, this dish can include various foods such as chicken, beef, and vegetables cooked on an open flame.

The best way to cook these traditional Japanese foods is by using the traditional binchōtan charcoal. This type of charcoal burns cleaner and hotter than regular charcoal, making it perfect for grilling. 

Robatayaki is usually served with rice and other side dishes like miso soup or pickles. Traditionally, robatayaki was prepared outdoors before a home’s entrance as part of the Obon Festival. However, today restaurants are often found serving robata-yaki year-round. 

10. Oyakodon

Oyakodon is a traditional Japanese dish made with chicken and eggs served over rice. The word oyako means parent and child in Japanese, which refers to the fact that this dish contains both chicken and eggs.

It is often served on holidays such as Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve for good luck. In addition to that, the dish can be served with ketchup on top, but more commonly, soy sauce is used for flavor.

Oyakodon is not just one of the traditional Japanese foods but also a relatively simple dish that requires only a few ingredients.

This makes it the perfect meal for those days when you don’t have much time to cook.

11. Karaage

Karaage is a dish that is most often found in Japan and is a type of fried chicken. It’s made by coating the meat in a light batter.

And then deep frying it until it’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. It’s typically served with soy sauce for dipping or other types of sauces. 

Meanwhile, the taste of karaage can vary depending on what kind of spices are used when cooking it. Some variations include garlic, ginger, chili pepper, or red pepper flakes.

Karaage can be eaten as an appetizer or as part of a larger meal with rice and vegetables. This one of the traditional Japanese foods, Karaage, originated in Fukuoka-ken, which is located in southern Japan.

12. Gyudon

Gyudon, or beef bowl, is a popular dish in Japan. Gyudon is a fast food dish consisting of rice topped with sliced raw beef and onions simmered in a soy sauce-based sauce.

The dish is often served with boiled vegetables on the side, such as cabbage or carrots. The origins of this specialty of traditional Japanese foods are unclear.

One theory suggests that it was introduced by Chinese immigrants who had settled in Japan during the country’s isolation period from 1853–1868.

Another theory credits it to Joichiro Sano, who opened the first restaurant serving the dish in 1951. His restaurant was named Gyūdon after one of his favorite dishes from when he was studying for his degree in London.

13. Fugu

Fugu, a type of blowfish that is only eaten in Japan, is not left out of this list of traditional Japanese foods. To prepare Fugu, the fish must be killed with an electric shock or by slicing its head off.

Then, the fish’s viscera are removed, and its skin is cleaned. The meat may then be filleted or served whole with the roe.

Fugu contains lethal amounts of tetrodotoxin, a poison found in these fish’s ovaries, liver, and skin. As a result, diners are warned not to consume any part other than the fully prepared fillets or sashimi.

14. Shogayaki

Shogayaki is one of many traditional Japanese foods that is delicious and healthy. It’s made with fresh ingredients and cooked in a little bit of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and sugar.

Shogayaki is typically served with rice or on its own as an appetizer or snack. Coupled with that, depending on your preference, Shogayaki can be eaten cold or hot.

The ingredient list is short, so you know what you’re putting into your body. The preparation process for shogayaki isn’t complicated as well.

It usually takes around 5 minutes to make this dish, which includes cutting the vegetables into small pieces. After which, stir-fry them over high heat in sesame oil until they are cooked through yet still crisp.

The key ingredient here is the sushi vinegar, which gives shogayaki its distinctive flavor and ensures that it doesn’t taste too sweet or salty.

15. Gyoza

Gyoza is one of the many varieties of traditional Japanese foods. It consists of fried or steamed dumplings with a mixture of minced meat and vegetables, usually cabbage, chives, garlic, and ginger.

The dumplings are commonly boiled or deep-fried before being served as an appetizer with dipping sauce. The sauce can be soy sauce with vinegar or sweet and sour.

Gyoza is eaten year-round in Japan but is most commonly eaten during winter months because it’s generally served cold.

It is said that gyoza was created in China from the jiaozi dish and brought over by Chinese chefs who immigrated to Japan for work.

This dish became popular after World War II when occupying American forces introduced it as a new type of restaurant food.

16. Mochi

Mochi is a traditional Japanese food that is usually seen as a sweet dish. It is made from rice and water, then pounded into a paste-like consistency.

The dough is then molded into any shape you desire or cut and dipped in various sweet sauces or condensed milk. 

However, mochi can also be used as an ingredient in other dishes. Dishes such as okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake), yakisoba (Japanese stir-fried noodles), and ochazuke (a rice dish with green tea). Looking for all round traditional Japanese foods? Mochi is one of them!

17. Kiritanpo

Kiritanpo is a traditional Japanese food that consists of rice balls with red bean paste. The rice ball resembles the round shape of an ear, and the name kiritanpo is derived from the word karitama, which means ear.

There are many variations of kiritanpo, which happens to be one of the traditional Japanese foods. However, one popular variation is called mikatan.

Mikatan is made with a small piece of mochi (rice cake) wrapped in a lotus leaf. The lotus leaf symbolizes longevity and purity, which makes this kiritanpo very traditional.

18. Omurice

Omurice is a traditional Japanese food consisting of an egg-based omelet wrapped with lightly cooked rice, then fried and served with a sauce.

This dish is really popular in Japan, but I bet it’s not too well known outside of the country yet. It was originally considered a dish for children or nursing mothers. 

This was because it was believed that the softness of the rice would help soothe stomachs while they recover from an illness. The word omurice comes from omu, meaning steam or boiled rice.

Even though this dish has only been around since 1884, it has become so popular that there are more than 600 variations!

So if you really want to enjoy the best times of your life with traditional Japanese foods, Omurice will surely deliver beyond expectations!

19. Bento

Like other traditional Japanese foods, Bento is also a traditional meal from Japan. It is usually packed into a small wooden or lacquered box and contains rice, fish, pickles, cooked vegetables, and other components. The word bento literally means a boxed lunch.

Furthermore, it is believed that bento became popular in the 17th century with the emergence of middle-class merchants in Japan. These merchants desired an easy-to-carry midday meal while conducting business.

20. Wagyu

Wagyu is a traditional Japanese food that many people are unfamiliar with. Wagyu is beef that has been raised in Japan and typically has a higher fat content than other beef. This gives it a richer flavor and makes the meat more tender when cooked. 

Often, Wagyu is eaten raw, but it can also be cooked in any number of dishes such as steak, hamburgers, teriyaki, and more. It’s best enjoyed when rare or medium rare.

If you like your beef well done, you may want to try another type of beef. Overall, you will definitely love this delicacy on our list of traditional Japanese foods!

21. Zenzai / Oshiruko

Zenzai is a type of sweet soup made from red beans. The beans are boiled with sugar, ginger, and dashi (a type of broth).

Oshiruko is a wintertime dessert typically eaten on New Year’s Day. It is the same as zenzai but uses whole eggs instead of beaten egg whites. 

In Japan, oshiruko is traditionally eaten by dipping pieces of mochi (sticky rice cake) into the soup.

However, other items such as ice cream, tofu, or chestnuts can be used. Zenzai is also often enjoyed with rice cakes that have been simmered in syrup for long periods. 

Additionally, a variation on this dish called Omikoshi Zensai is often eaten during New Year’s celebrations.

It includes vegetables and meat to be consumed while walking during festival activities. Read on to find out about other traditional Japanese foods!

22. Osechi Ryori

Osechi Ryori is a traditional food eaten during the New Year in Japan. It’s typically a collection of several dishes, with some being vegetarian and others not, that have a variety of textures and flavors.

This is because it represents the diversity in life and good fortune for the coming year. Plus, it may be served as an all-in-one meal or offered as individual dishes over several days.

Some typical osechi ryori foods include kuromame (sweet black soybeans), kinpira (sautéed vegetables), kazunoko (herring roe), and shiitake.

Matsutake (mushrooms), seabream, and shrimp tempura, among many other items, are also included. This list of traditional Japanese foods is not complete without the Osechi Ryori!

23. Shojin Ryori

Shojin Ryori is a type of vegetarian cuisine that derives from Zen Buddhism. The meals are designed to be eaten in the morning and evening. Also, they are meant to be eaten before the monks have their meal for the day. 

This cooking style has been popularized outside of Japan and is usually vegan or contains mostly vegetables with little meat.

Shojin Ryori uses tofu, soy sauce, miso paste, and kombu seaweed, among other ingredients. In addition, this one of the traditional Japanese foods is often served either hot or cold.

24. Kappo Ryori

Of the traditional Japanese foods, Kappo Ryori is a traditional dish consisting of a set menu. The dishes are usually served along with rice and soup.

Some dishes on the menu may include Sashimi, Tempura, Soy Sauce Ramen, Grilled Fish, and many more.

When dining in a Kappo Ryori restaurant, there are some things you should keep in mind: 

  • Keep your utensils off the table using the chopsticks or spoon provided as soon as you sit down. 
  • Use the soy sauce typically provided for dipping sauces and seasonings. This is because it helps bring out the flavor of most foods.

25. Hiyashi Chuka

This dish is not excluded from this list of delicious traditional Japanese foods. It can be created by boiling ramen noodles. When the noodles are cooked, they are cooled in cold water. 

Then, they are placed in a bowl with sesame sauce, green onions, cucumber, pickled ginger, soy sauce, and ground white pepper for seasoning. It is best enjoyed with a chilled beer or soda pop because of its refreshing taste.

26. Yatsuhashi

A sweet, crispy confection that is usually served with tea, yatsuhashi is one of the traditional Japanese foods perfect for any occasion.

These cookies are traditionally made by hand and are flavored with cinnamon and brown sugar. Yatsuhashi is made from wheat flour, sugar, eggs, butter or margarine, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. 

It can be found in many shapes, including round balls or logs (which can be sliced into the desired thickness).

The end product should have a light coating of white frosting on top of the cookie. This is made from powdered sugar mixed with vanilla extract or black sesame seeds. 

Japanese cuisine has influenced cultures worldwide through its unique dishes and spices used in cooking.

27. Kushiage

Some common ingredients for kushiage include shrimp, squid, chicken, beef, burdock root, carrots, and lotus roots. You can also find some people adding spinach or burdock root to the dish. 

Whatever ingredients you choose will depend on your personal preferences and the restaurant you visit. Regardless, you are guaranteed maximum enjoyment from Kushiage, which is equally one of the traditional Japanese foods!

28. Gyutan

If you’re new to the world of traditional Japanese foods, gyutan is a good place to start. Gyutan is the thinly sliced beef tongue that has been grilled and then sliced into pieces. 

Usually, the dish is served with grated ginger, soy sauce, and garlic. The diner can add any of these or just a few drops of water if they like.

It’s best eaten when it’s still a little pink in the middle, and many consider it one of Japan’s most delicious dishes.

29. Anmitsu

One of the most popular traditional Japanese foods, anmitsu, is made of many layers. These layers can be made with different ingredients but often include ice cream or tofu. 

In addition to being a delicious dessert, anmitsu is also a popular dessert for celebrations. This is mainly because it looks like stacked blocks and has seven tiers.

30. Chankonabe

The dish that most encapsulates the essence of traditional Japan is Chankonabe. This dish contains the main protein (such as fish, chicken, or tofu) and vegetables in soy sauce broth. Then, it is served with rice.

It originated as an affordable meal for samurai warriors and continues to be popular today. Legend has it that a Mongolian army led by Kublai Khan invaded Japan in 1274. Ashikaga Takauji and his samurai warriors defeated the invaders.

It was further said that these warriors could feed themselves during the two-month siege with Chankonabe.

This was because it had no spices or seasonings that might attract insects. So why not try this delicacy on the traditional Japanese foods list today?

31. Kaiseki

Talking about the various traditional Japanese foods, Kaiseki is a traditional, multi-course Japanese meal. The meal is typically served on multiple small plates and bowls, along with an accompanying bowl of soup.

A drink of tea or sake then accompanies it. Kaiseki meals are often elaborately prepared, using fresh ingredients and traditionally made sauces. 

Furthermore, Kaiseki can be vegetarian or include seafood, meat, and poultry. It can also be elaborate using expensive ingredients such as abalone, sea urchin roe, or wild mushrooms.

Kaiseki meals often contain seasonal ingredients that correspond with the four seasons (spring foods in springtime, for example).

32. Tonkatsu

You might be thinking if Tonkatsu is one of the traditional Japanese foods. Well, of course, yes! It was invented at a Tokyo restaurant called Rengatei in 1899, served with rice and shredded cabbage. 

Often, it is compared to the American-style fried pork chop, but it is made from panko bread crumbs. These are lighter and crispier than traditional bread crumbs.

The meat is usually coated in flour before being dipped into an egg and then deep-fried. Some variations include sauces like tonkatsu sauce or other ingredients such as curry or mayonnaise.

33. Ramen

As known, traditional Japanese foods are one of the most diverse in the world. Dishes from different regions use unique ingredients, cooking styles, and spices that create a variety of tastes.

Whether you’re looking for a nice night out with friends or something quick on your way home, traditional Japanese foods are sure to have what you need. 

Going further, Ramen consists of broth, noodles, meat, eggs, and vegetables served either hot or cold. It has long been considered a type of fast food due to its inexpensive price, but more recently, it has become a delicacy.

Ramen restaurants have sprung up all over Japan, so even those without the time to cook can find this dish easily.

34. Tempura

The vegetables used in tempura dishes vary from shrimp, squid, green beans, carrots, onions, and potatoes. The seafood used can include prawns, lobster tails, or scallops.

These dishes come with various dipping sauces, including soy sauce mixed with chili pepper flakes or salt mixed with lemon juice. 

Tempura consists of pieces of fish and other ingredients that are battered and deep-fried in oil. Tempura is often served with a side dish such as sashimi, which is thinly sliced raw fish served without rice.

Or with sushi (vinegar rice topped with fresh raw fish), tamagoyaki (a rolled omelet made from eggs), or miso soup. Can Tempura be ever left out of the list of traditional Japanese foods?; Impossible!

35. Shabu Shabu 

Shabu Shabu is a traditional Japanese dish that consists of thinly sliced meat and vegetables boiled in water, then dipped in a sauce.

The meat is traditionally beef, but there are many varieties, including pork, lamb, chicken, and tofu. The sauce used varies depending on the region. 

Often, this dish on the list of traditional Japanese foods is served with noodles or rice. Shabu-shabu is cooked in a deeper pot with a milder and lighter soup base than sukiyaki but still has the same flavors as sukiyaki. In Japan, restaurants specializing in this type of cuisine may refer to themselves as shabu-shabu-ya. 

After cooking the ingredients by boiling them for just a few minutes in water, they are transferred to individual bowls. These bowls are placed around a central pot containing broth made from dashi (fish stock), soy sauce, and sake. 

36. Oden 

Oden is a traditional Japanese dish consisting of boiled vegetables and fish cakes. It’s typically served in a hot pot and eaten with rice or noodles. The word oden translates as boiled rice. 

Oden is traditionally made during cold winter but can be enjoyed year-round. One particular type of oden that is well-known in Japan is called kitsune (fox) oden.

This consists of Anko (sweet red bean paste) with fried tofu, konnyaku, carrots, onions, and shiitake mushrooms. 

You’ll find this delicious dish on the menu at many restaurants around the country. Of the traditional Japanese foods, it’s worth trying for yourself!

37. Natto 

Next up on this list of traditional Japanese foods is Natto, a food made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis. It has a sticky texture and an earthy, pungent smell that can be an acquired taste. 

Typically, Natto is served with raw egg or in a bowl of rice, and it can be consumed as part of breakfast or dinner.

Some people enjoy natto on its own without mixing it with anything else. But others prefer to mix it with raw eggs or add some soy sauce.

38. Wagashi 

These traditional sweets are the jewels of Japanese food culture, often served with tea after meals. Wagashi is made from various ingredients and flavors that have been perfected over centuries.

Coupled with that, they will make for a very memorable experience for your taste buds. A few examples include green tea, sweet rolls, mochi-filled pastries, yokan (sweet red bean paste wrapped in rice dough), and Mizu yokan (a type of wagashi that includes water).

Still not found the perfect traditional Japanese food for yourself yet? Not to worry, we still have many coming up!

39. Onigiri 

Onigiri is a traditional Japanese food consisting of rice wrapped in nori and then usually filled with something.

It is typically shaped into a triangle and can be eaten cold or hot, depending on the filling. Onigiri was an important part of the samurai’s diet. 

Further, the fillings used in these rice balls can vary greatly, depending on region, seasonality, and personal preference.

Common fillings include pickled plum, umeboshi (pickled ume), salmon roe (ikura), or mentaiko (spicy cod roe).

40. Tofu 

Tofu is an excellent choice if you’re looking for sumptuous traditional Japanese foods. It’s the most widely eaten in Japan and has been around since the 6th century.

The protein-rich soybean curd is made by coagulating soy milk with a substance like vinegar, lemon juice, or nigari. 

Additionally, Tofu can be served as a side dish or main course. Plus, it comes in many different varieties, including silken, firm, soft, medium-firm, and extra-firm.

There are also many different ways tofu can be prepared, such as boiling it in soup or frying it up with vegetables.

41. Unagi 

Unagi is a traditional Japanese dish made from the freshwater eel. The taste of unagi is sweet and savory, with a rich flavor that can be described as buttery.

Some people say that the taste of unagi is too strong for them and prefer to eat lighter dishes like sashimi or sushi.

Nonetheless, this might just mean they’re not yet used to Japan’s flavors. If you can try it, we recommend going all in and enjoying this one of the traditional Japanese foods while you are there!

42. Sashimi 

Traditional Japanese foods are a complex and diverse cuisine. There are so many options that it can be difficult to know where to start, especially when you’re first getting acquainted with the country’s dishes. 

One option is sashimi; raw seafood served without additional ingredients. It’s a great introduction to the wide world of Japanese cuisine, with its characteristic simplicity, freshness, and lightness.

You’ll find sashimi on menus all over Japan, but there are only two types: nigiri sushi and sashimi (sliced raw fish). 

What’s more? Nigiri sushi is made by placing a small rice ball on top of the fish. In contrast, sashimi pieces are scattered across the plate like crumbs on a tablecloth.

43. Sukiyaki 

If your appetite calls for traditional Japanese foods, Sukiyaki will answer with pleasure. This Japanese hot pot dish is perfect for social dining, with raw beef, noodles, and vegetables served in a pot of boiling broth.

Sukiyaki has a rich flavor because it uses soy sauce as the main ingredient, which gives the meal an unmistakable taste. 

Moving on, the boiled ingredients are dipped in a soy sauce-based sauce, then eaten together with thin slices of raw egg.

Various garnishes, such as green onions or shredded seaweed, may be added to this traditional dish as desired.

44. Soba 

These buckwheat noodles were originally eaten by the poor because it was cheap and easy to prepare. However, nowadays, it is considered a delicacy.

It can be served cold in summer or hot in winter with several toppings like tempura, soy sauce, and green onion. 

The most famous dish is zaru soba, served on a bamboo mat with iced green tea. You’ll find that the dish will make you slurp up the noodles loudly.

So don’t be alarmed if you are given strange looks! Just make sure you enjoy every bit of this delicacy on the list of traditional Japanese foods!

45. Takoyaki 

These octopus-filled wheat batter balls hail from Osaka and are usually served with a takoyaki sauce made from soy sauce, dashi, and mayonnaise.

They have the flavor of the chewy dough and the crunchy texture of the crispy batter. They can be eaten on their own or with a piece of seaweed that has been dipped in takoyaki sauce.

The most popular toppings are cooked green onion, ginger, fried tempura bits (tenkasu), dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi), and sweetened red pickled ginger (Beni shoga).

One thing is for sure – you will not want to stop eating these particular traditional Japanese foods!

46. Udon 

These thick wheat-flour noodles are thought to have originated in China. The dish can be served cold, hot, or as a dipping sauce.

Cold udon is a summertime favorite and is often served with cucumber and tempura fish. 

One of the most popular udon dishes is called kitsune-udon, which features thin, deep-fried pieces of tofu, tempura shrimp, and seaweed.

You can find udon noodle soup in many parts of Japan, but it’s Kyoto that has the best versions of this dish.

47. Yakitori  

These reasonably-priced grilled chicken skewers are a very common food in Japan. Plus, they can be found everywhere, from street vendors to fine dining establishments.

The dish is served with tare sauce or salt, which adds flavor and texture. This is one of the popular traditional Japanese foods.

Also, there are different variations of yakitori, such as fried, sesame seed coated, tsukune (chicken meatballs), sukiyaki (cubes of beef or pork), etc. Yakitori is the perfect inexpensive way to enjoy a little taste of Japan!

48. Miso Soup 

Miso soup isn’t excluded from our list of traditional Japanese foods. You can find this thin soup on the menu of most restaurants in Japan.

It is made with a salty soybean paste, rice or barley, and vegetables like green onion and wakame (seaweed). 

There are many variations, but typically, miso soup is served either hot or cold, depending on the season. The ingredients in miso paste vary from region to region, giving it various flavors.

59. Okonomiyaki 

Okonomiyaki is a dish that is made with eggs, flour, and cabbage, similar to a pancake or omelet. The name okonomiyaki comes from the word okonomi, which means what you like, and yaki, which means grill. It’s typically cooked up in an oblong shape and has cabbage on the bottom of it. 

To top off the okonomiyaki, you can use mayonnaise, ketchup, aonori (seaweed), bonito flakes, and some kind of meat.

While okonomiyaki traditionally does not include noodles as Western pancakes do, there are some variations with noodles inside. This is the penultimate dish on this list of traditional Japanese foods.

50. Sushi 

There’s much more than just sushi when it comes to traditional Japanese foods, so plan a trip to Japan soon! In its homeland, the craft of sushi is taken as an art form.

Served as both finger food and a full-course meal, nigiri-zushi is one of the most popular forms. Japanese sushi had roots in the Edo Period (1603–1868) when seafood was plentiful.

The invention of ika ika zushi is credited to Hanaya Yohei, who sold fermented sea urchin and salmon roe wrapped in seaweed (nori). To sum up, Sushi ends our list of traditional Japanese foods!


When you attend a Japanese celebration, you’re guaranteed to see all of your favorite foods like Bento and Somen. However, the table will probably have plenty of other options as well. 

Here’s a list of some of the most popular traditional Japanese foods and ideas for incorporating them into your party.

Whether you bring them or serve them, these traditional Japanese foods will satisfy you and your guests!

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