Must-try japanese foods when traveling to Tokyo

Top 10 foods to try in Japan

Aug 2, 2023

Japan is renowned for its colorful culture, ancient traditions, and ultra-modern technology, but it also has an unbelievable culinary scene. Seriously— of all the countries that I’ve visited so far, Japan has the best food (literally drooling as I type this).

From little street izakayas with sizzling grills to world famous ramen shops and cinematic sushi bars, there’s something delicious around every corner in Japan. So whether you’re looking for a few must-eats in Japan or just don’t want to miss the best eats Japan, I’m dropping them below (with pictures!) to help you plan your Japan vacation! ⬇️

What are the top 10 Japanese foods?

1. Cheesy Japanese curry

best food to try in japan

Savory Japanese curry and rice is comfort food with a twist. I’m from the South, and as a self-proclaimed fried foods connoisseur, I can tell you that the fried pork in Japanese curry is TOP notch— juicy, salty, and unbelievably crispy. Unlike traditional Indian or Thai curry, Japanese curry is milder, richer, and has a unique blend of spices. For a cheesy twist, head to restaurants like CoCo Ichiban, where you can get a generous topping of gooey melted cheese. Trust me— once you do, you’ll never go back!

2. Sushi

Sushi is a globally acclaimed Japanese delicacy that needs no introduction. Even as someone who doesn’t eat ANY fish at home (I find it truly disgusting, slimy, and smelly), I have to say that it’s different in Japan. If you want an authentic Japanese food culture experience, sushi is unmissable.

3. Souffle pancakes

top 100 japanese foods

Fluffy, jiggly, and incredibly light, souffle pancakes were perfected in Japan. Made with a delicate batter and cooked to perfection, they are a delightful blend of sweet and airy thanks to egg whites, ricotta cheese, and patience. For some of the best souffle pancakes, visit Micasadeco & Cafe Osaka, where you can savor their signature stacks with powdered sugar and syrup, or with with seasonal fruits, gelato, and velvety chantilly cream.

4. Soba

Soba, thin buckwheat noodles, is a traditional Japanese staple known for its nutty flavor and health benefits. Trust me— it tastes better than it sounds. You’ll find it served hot in a flavorful broth or cold with a dipping sauce, and it’s particularly famous in Osaka, the “kitchen of Japan.”

5. Ramen

japanese food culture

You have to eat ramen, period. Each region boasts its own variation of ramen, from creamy tonkotsu in Hakata to soy-based shoyu in Tokyo. I recommend walking around Tokyo at night and following your nose to down streets and alleyways, looking for ramen shops with lines out the door! There’s also Ichiran Ramen, a decent, well-known ramen chain in Japan where you can customize your bowl with various toppings and slurp your way to satisfaction in private booths.

6. Yakitori

Yakitori, a popular Japanese street food, is skewered and grilled chicken pieces. Seasoned with salt or basted with a savory tare sauce, this is a super tasty, affordable grab-and-go snack or meal that you can find on most streets in major Japanese cities.

7. Okonomiyaki

best places to eat in japan tokyo

Think Waffle House, but cleaner and in Japan. A beloved Japanese savory pancake and famous in Japanese food culture, okonomiyaki translates to “grilled as you like it.” This dish, grilled on a huge habatchi-like grill in front of you, combines shredded cabbage, savory batter, and various ingredients like pork, seafood, onions, or cheese, all cooked on a griddle. While you can find different varieties of okonomiyaki all over Japan, the best ones I tried were in Hiroshima, which has a multi-story building housing 20+ okonomiyaki places with special Hiroshima style— including noodles!

8. Wagyu beef in Kobe

Kobe beef, considered one of the finest and most tender types of beef in the world, hails from the Hyogo Prefecture, with Kobe as its epicenter. Raised with utmost care and fed a special diet, Kobe beef is marbled with delicate fat, creating a melt-in-your-mouth experience. To taste this luxurious treat, visit “Steak Land Kobe” in Kobe, renowned for its top-quality Kobe beef.

9. Tempura

what are popular foods to eat in Japan

Tempura is lightly battered and deep-fried chicken or seafood and vegetables with a crisp and delicate texture. Beppu, a famous hot spring town in Japan, is known for its unique and local chicken tempura. Skilled chefs in Beppu use the finest ingredients and precise techniques to create tempura that is crispy, yet not greasy.

10. Kaiseki

Kaiseki is the epitome of Japanese haute cuisine, offering an elaborate multi-course meal that beautifully showcases seasonal and regional ingredients. This culinary art form focuses on balance, harmony, and aesthetics, making it an unforgettable dining experience. To indulge in kaiseki at its finest, visit “Kikunoi” in Kyoto, a Michelin-starred restaurant renowned for its

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