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Japanese National Foods

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Elegant and delicious Kaiseki cuisine


Japanese national foods were once known  either in the form of "sushi" or "sukiyaki" but in recent years, the Japanese cuisine has become more popular and many visitors to Japan are prepared for the variety and uniqueness of Japanese food, as it is traditionally prepared.



Here are some of the most popular Japanese National Foods.



Sushi without doubt tops the list of Japanese national foods. It is a Japanese delicacy made of cooked vinegared rice “shari” combined with other ingredients “neta”. Seafood is the most common neta and when sliced and used is called sashimi. The term sushi literally, means "sour-tasting". Sushi varieties come from the different fillings, toppings, condiments, and method of preparation while “shari” is the common ingredient in all types.

The most common Sushi types are:

Chirashizushi  "scattered sushi" is a bowl of sushi rice topped with a variety of sashimi and garnishes

Inarizushi is a pouch of fried tofu or omelet filled with usually just sushi rice.

Makizushi "rolled sushi" or Norimaki "Nori roll" or makimono "variety of rolls" is a nori wrapped piece, formed with the help of a bamboo mat, called a makisu.

Narezushi  "matured sushi" is a traditional form of fermented sushi made with pickled fish.

Nigirizushi "hand-formed sushi" consists of an oblong mound of sushi rice, usually with a bit of wasabi, and a topping of various fish and seafood draped over it.

Temarizushi "ball sushi" is a ball-shaped sushi made by pressing rice and fish into a ball-shaped form by hand using a plastic wrap.

Oshizushi "pressed sushi”, also known as "box sushi”


Miso soup, a traditional Japanese soup consisting "dashi", a stock, into which softened miso paste is mixed.


Tuna sashimiSashimi is raw, thinly sliced meats served with a dipping sauce and simple garnishes or used in other dishes. Most commonly Sashimi is of fish or seafood served with soy sauce and wasabi.


Onigiri are balls of rice with a filling in the middle. Japanese equivalent of sandwiches.


Donburi is a one-bowl dish, consisting of a “donburi” big bowl full of hot steamed rice with various savory toppings, such as deep-fried breaded cutlet of pork, chicken, sashimi,  egg, roe, beef or tempura.


Soba with duck and brothMen-rui or noodles is traditional Japanese foods usually served chilled with a dipping sauce, boiled and hot in a soy-dashi broth or fried.

Soba is brown buckwheat noodles.

Udon thick white wheat noodles served with various toppings, in dashi broth, or in a Japanese curry

Somen is thin white wheat noodles served chilled with a dipping sauce.

Ramen is thin light yellow noodles served in hot chicken or pork broth with various toppings


Prawn TempuraTempura is a Japanese National dish of seafood or vegetables that have been battered and deep fried.


Teriyaki is A Japanese favorite consisting of grilled, broiled, or pan-fried meat, fish, chicken or vegetables glazed with a sweetened soy sauce.


Yakitori is the famous barbecued chicken skewers, usually served with beer. 

Yakitori being grilled at a street stall


Sukiyaki is a Nabemono, or the Japanese version of the Hot Pot  where thinly sliced beef and vegetables cooked in a mixture of soy sauce, dashi, sugar, and sake in a large pot at the table then taken into individual bowls.


Karē  or curry is so commonly served and consumed that it can be called a national dish. Karē is served as curry rice “karē raisu, curry noodles “karē udon” and “karē-pan” curry and bread. 


WagashiWagashi is a traditional Japanese confectionery, which is often served with tea, especially the types made of mochi, azuki bean paste, and fruits.


These are some of the Japanese National Foods that are most commonly known and are symbolic of the Japanese cuisine, which has become a much appreciated and loved cuisine around the world. Eating traditionally prepared Japanese foods in Japan is an experience of a lifetime.


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Japanese National Foods