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A Japanese dinner
Japanese breakfast foods
Tempura udon

Below is a list of dishes found in Japanese cuisine. Apart from rice, staples in Japanese cuisine include noodles, such as soba and udon. Japan has many simmered dishes such as fish products in broth called oden, or beef in sukiyaki and nikujaga. Foreign food, in particular Chinese food in the form of noodles in soup called ramen and fried dumplings, gyoza, and other food such as curry and hamburger steaks are commonly found in Japan. Historically, the Japanese shunned meat, but with the modernization of Japan in the 1860s, meat-based dishes such as tonkatsu became more common.

Rice dishes (ご飯物)


Rice porridge (お粥)

Rice bowls (どんぶり)

A one-bowl dish, consisting of a donburi (どんぶり, 丼, big bowl) full of hot steamed rice with various savory toppings:

Sushi (寿司)

A sushi platter

Sushi (寿司, 鮨, 鮓) is a vinegared rice topped or mixed with various fresh ingredients, usually seafood or vegetables.

Other staples

Noodles (men-rui, 麺類)

Noodles (麺類) often take the place of rice in a meal. However, the Japanese appetite for rice is so strong that many restaurants even serve noodles-rice combination sets.[citation needed]

Kamo nanban: Soba with sliced duck breast, negi (scallions) and mitsuba

Bread (pan, パン)

Bread (the word "pan" (パン) is derived from the Portuguese pão)[5] is not native to Japan and is not considered traditional Japanese food, but since its introduction in the 16th century it has become common.

Common Japanese main and side dishes (okazu, おかず)

Deep-fried dishes (agemono, 揚げ物)

Grilled and pan-fried dishes (yakimono, 焼き物)

Yakizakana [ja] (grilled Fish)

Nabemono (one pot cooking, 鍋物)

Nabemono (鍋物) includes:

Nimono (stewed dishes, 煮物)

Seaperch poached with ginger, soy sauce, mirin, sugar, sake, and water.

Nimono (煮物) is a stewed or simmered dish. A base ingredient is simmered in shiru stock flavored with sake, soy sauce, and a small amount of sweetening.

Itamemono (stir-fried dishes, 炒め物)

Kinpira gobo (金平)

Stir-frying (炒め物) is not a native method of cooking in Japan, however mock-Chinese stir fries such as yasai itame [ja] (野菜炒め, stir fried vegetables) have been a staple in homes and canteens across Japan since the 1950s. Home grown stir fries include:

Sashimi (刺身)

Bonito (skipjack tuna) tataki. Often on the menu as "Katsuo no Tataki" (鰹のタタキ)

Sashimi (刺身) is raw, thinly sliced foods served with a dipping sauce and simple garnishes; usually fish or shellfish served with soy sauce and wasabi. Less common variations include:

Soups (suimono (吸い物) and shirumono (汁物))

Main article: List of Japanese soups and stews

The soups (suimono (吸い物) and shirumono [ja] (汁物)) include:

Pickled or salted foods (tsukemono, 漬け物)

Karashimentaiko [ja] (辛子明太子)

These foods are usually served in tiny portions, as a side dish to be eaten with white rice, to accompany sake or as a topping for rice porridges.

Side dishes (惣菜)

Ohitashi [ja] (お浸し)

Chinmi (珍味)

Chinmi: Salt-pickled mullet roe (karasumi)

Chinmi (珍味) are regional delicacies, and include:

Although most Japanese eschew eating insects, in some regions, locust (inago [ja], イナゴ) and bee larvae (hachinoko [ja], 蜂の子) are not uncommon dishes.[citation needed] The larvae of species of caddisflies and stoneflies (zaza-mushi [ja], ざざむし), harvested from the Tenryū river as it flows through Ina, Nagano, is also boiled and canned, or boiled and then sautéed in soy sauce and sugar.[citation needed] Japanese clawed salamander (ハコネサンショウウオ, Hakone Sanshōuo, Onychodactylus japonicus)) is eaten as well in Hinoemata, Fukushima in early summer.[citation needed]

Sweets and snacks (okashi (おかし), oyatsu (おやつ))

See also: List of Japanese desserts and sweets and Category:Japanese desserts and sweets

Japanese-style sweets (wagashi, 和菓子)

Wagashi in a storefront in Sapporo, Japan

Wagashi include:

Old-fashioned Japanese-style sweets (dagashi, 駄菓子)

Dagashi include:

Western-style sweets (yōgashi, 洋菓子)

Yōgashi [ja] are Western-style sweets, but in Japan are typically very light or spongy.

Sweets bread (kashi pan, 菓子パン)

Kashi pan [ja] include:

Other snacks

See also: List of Japanese snacks and Category:Japanese snack food


Snacks include:

Tea and other drinks

Tea and non-alcoholic beverages

See also: Japanese green teas

Japanese green tea

Soft drinks

Lemonade-flavored Ramune

Alcoholic beverages

Sake () is a rice wine that typically contains 12–20% alcohol and is made by a double fermentation of rice. Kōji fungus is first used to ferment the rice starch into sugar. Regular brewing yeast is used in the second fermentation to make alcohol. At traditional meals, it is considered an equivalent to rice and is not simultaneously taken with other rice-based dishes. Side dishes for sake is particularly called sakana (肴, 酒菜), or otsumami おつまみ or ate あて.

Shōchū is a distilled beverage, most commonly made from barley, sweet potatoes, or rice. Typically, it contains 25% alcohol by volume.

Imported and adapted foods

Japan has incorporated imported food from across the world (mostly from Asia, Europe and to a lesser extent the Americas), and have historically adapted many to make them their own.

Foods imported from Portugal in the 16th century


Yōshoku (洋食) is a style of Western-influenced food.

Korokke for sale at a Mitsukoshi food hall in Tokyo, Japan

See also: List of Japanese dishes § Deep-fried dishes (agemono, 揚げ物)

  • Kaki furai (カキフライ, 牡蠣フライ) - breaded oyster
  • Ebi furai (エビフライ, 海老フライ) - breaded shrimp
  • Korokke ("croquette" コロッケ) - breaded mashed potato and minced meat patties. When white sauce is added, it is called cream korokke. Other ingredients such as crab meat, shrimp, or mushrooms are also used instead of minced meat which are called kani-, ebi-, or kinoko-cream korokke, respectively.
  • Tonkatsu, Menchi katsu, chicken katsu, beef katsu, kujira katsu - breaded and deep-fried pork, minced meat patties, chicken, beef, and whale, respectively.
Hayashi rice

Other items were popularized after the war:

Fake food of naporitan in display window of a restaurant in Japan
Tarako spaghetti [ja] (たらこスパゲッティ)
Mentaiko spaghetti (明太子スパゲッティ)

Other homegrown cuisine of foreign origin



Lots of Japanese foods are prepared using one or more of the following:

Less traditional, but widely used ingredients include:

See also


  1. ^ Cwiertka, K.J. (2006). Modern Japanese Cuisine: Food, Power and National Identity. University of Chicago Press. p. 229. ISBN 978-1-86189-298-0. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  2. ^ Tsuji, Shizuo; M.F.K. Fisher (2007). Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art (25 ed.). Kodansha International. pp. 280–281. ISBN 978-4-7700-3049-8.
  3. ^ Inada, S. (2011). Simply Onigiri: fun and creative recipes for Japanese rice balls. Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) Private Limited. p. 86. ISBN 978-981-4484-95-4. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  4. ^ "Maki-zushi (Sushi rolls)". NHK. 2011-11-25. Archived from the original on 2017-11-20. Retrieved 2022-06-01.
  5. ^ Stanlaw, James (2004). Japanese English: language and culture contact. Hong Kong University Press. p. 46. ISBN 962-209-572-0.
  6. ^ Sen, Colleen Taylor (2009). Curry: a Global History. London: Reaktion Books. p. 116. ISBN 9781861895226.
  7. ^ ほたてのレシピ [Recipes for scallops]. 青森県漁業協同組合連合会 (Aomori fishers' cooperations' association) (in Japanese). もと焼き (motoyaki). Archived from the original on 2021-07-20. Retrieved 2021-07-20. (rough translation) Ingredients of tamagonomoto: 2 egg yolks; 1 tbsp miso; 1 tbsp sugar; salt; pepper
  8. ^ Shimbo, Hiroko (2000), The Japanese Kitchen: 250 Recipes in a Traditional Spirit, Harvard Common Press, ISBN 978-1-55832-177-9 p.147 "wakame and cucumber in sanbaizu dressing (sunomono)"; p.74 "sanbaizu" recipe
  9. ^ "Gyoza (Japanese dumplings)". BBC. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  10. ^ McInerney, Jay (June 10, 2007). "Raw". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 October 2013.