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Japanese cuisine is famous for its highly skilled preparation routine as well as its distinctive and cultivated presentation. The Japanese do not exclusively depend on herbs and spices to season their food, unlike other types of Asian dishes. Each ingredient is meticulously chosen and kept in unity with its own original taste.

Traditionally, food in Japan is based on rice, miso soup, and other dishes with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients. Fish, pickled vegetables, and vegetables cooked in broth are typical side dishes. Fish is standard in the traditional cuisine. It is often grilled, or served raw as sashimi or in sushi. There is also tempura, which is seafood and vegetables deep-fried in a light batter. Sushi has expanded throughout the world, as it is distinctive for Japanese cuisine.

Apart from rice and noodles, such as soba and udon, Japan has an assortment of dishes. In particular, fish products in broth called oden, or beef in sukiyaki and nikujaga. Foreign food, specifically Chinese, can be found in the form of fried dumplings (gyoza) and noodles in soup (ramen). Western food including hamburgers and curry are recurrent in Japan as well.

Japan has a native form of sweets called wagashi, which may include, notably, red bean paste as an ingredient. There is also a variety of rice wine, known as sake.

Vegetable dishes are usually flavored with the ever-present dashi stock, often consisting katsuobushi (dried skipjack tuna flakes). Provided that, strictly vegetarian food can be hard to come across. Although, an exception to this would be a Buddhist cuisine called shōjin-ryōri. At the same time, the shōjin-ryōri promoted at restaurants may include some non-vegetarian ingredients.

The accustomed Japanese diet contains high fiber content and low cholesterol and calories. Rice is present in nearly every Japanese meal, and udon and soba noodles are standard as well. Soybean products, beans, fish, seaweed, fruit, and vegetables is exceptionally prevalent in Japanese cuisine. Teriyaki, tempura, and yakitori are also recurrent Japanese dishes.

Some standard Japanese foods include: pickled or salted vegetables (tsukemono), deep-fried dishes (agemono), steamed foods (mushimono), grilled and pan-fried meals (yakimon), sliced raw fish (sashimi), soups (shirumono and suimono), stir-fried meals (itamemono), vinegared dishes (sunomono), and simmered dishes (nimono).

Today, Japan is prolific with local and moderately inspired Western-style food. Most of these foods were invented during the emergence of the 1868 Meiji restoration. At the end of the country’s seclusion, influence from the foreign (particularly Western) culture led to assorted restaurants serving Western food, known as yōshoku. Western cuisine restaurants are called yōshokuya.

Numerous yōshoku items have been established to an extent where they are considered Japanese, and are an inherent component of the Japanese menu. These foods are typically served together with rice and miso soup, and are eaten with chopsticks. Although this may be true, these foods are still classified as yōshoku due to their origins, in contrast with the more conventional washoku (Japanese cuisine).

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Listed below are several common yoshoku:

photo of Japanese cuisine four

a savoury pancake containing an array of ingredients

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a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet

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This was introduced by the British in the Meiji era. However, Japanese curry is unique compared to other forms. Japanese variations include curry bread, curry udon, and "katsu-curry" (tonkatsu served with curry).

photo of Japanese cuisine six

This is a Chinese influenced food consisting of wheat noodles served in a meat stock broth. Ramen has become exceedingly widespread over the last century.

photo of Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum

Kanto | Kanagawa | Yokohama

Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum

The Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum focuses on the very popular noodle dish known as ramen.

photo of Cup Noodles Museum

Kanto | Kanagawa | Yokohama

Cup Noodles Museum

The Cup Noodles Museum is an interactive museum that shows the history of instant ramen noodles.

photo of Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum

Kansai | Osaka | Osaka City

Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum

The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum displays the history of instant ramen and the inventor of the product.

photo of Naniwa Kuishinbo

Kansai | Osaka | Osaka City

Naniwa Kuishinbo

Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho is a food theme park featuring local Osaka cuisine.

photo of Furukawa Fish Market

Tohoku | Aomori | Aomori

Furukawa Fish Market

Furukawa Fish Market is located in downtown Aomori and is known for create your own seafood donburi called nokkedon.

photo of Tsukiji Market

Kanto | Tokyo | Central Tokyo

Tsukiji Market

Tsukiji Market is a large market for fish, fruits and vegetables in central Tokyo.

photo of Nishiki Market

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market started out as a fish wholesale district, but evolved into a shopping district known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen.”

photo of Nijo Market

Hokkaido | Sapporo

Nijo Market

Located two blocks away from Odori Park, offers a chance to eat Hokkaido’s famous seafood.

photo of Hakodate Morning Market

Hokkaido | Hakodate

Hakodate Morning Market

Over 450 shops; hours of operations are 5am (6am in the winter) to 12pm.

photo of Kushiro Washo Market

Hokkaido | Kushiro

Kushiro Washo Market

Kushiro Washo Market is one of the top three fish markets to go to in Hokkaido and it is popular place to have a “Kattedon” meal.

photo of Shiogama Fish Market

Tohoku | Miyagi | Shiogama

Shiogama Fish Market

Shiogama Fish Market is one of the busiest processing centers for fish in Japan and most important fishing port.

photo of Omicho Market

Chubu | Ishikawa | Kanazawa

Omicho Market

Omicho Market is the largest fresh food market in Kanazawa and has been around since the Edo period.

photo of Kuromon Market

Kansai | Osaka | Osaka City

Kuromon Market

The Kuromon Ichiba Market is known as “Osaka’s Kitchen” and is a popular shopping alley.