When it comes to delicious and fresh food, you need not look any further than Japan. The land of the rising sun hits the jackpot every time for die-hard foodies around the world. After spending considerable time living in the country, Jesse and I picked up a few favorites. Here are the best things we’ve eaten in Japan.
Other worthy mentions:
sushi – everyone’s favorite Japanese export. Don’t expect any California rolls here. Instead, the most popular version is sushi nigiri.
ramen – noodle soup with lots of vegetables and pork belly. My personal favorite is tonkotsu ramen where the soup stock is made from pork bones.
yakitori – DIY grilled meat/entrails on a stick. Cow tongue never tasted so good!
ozoni – soup usually served around New Year. Can be sweet or savory. Varies across Japan. Includes incredibly sticky mochi (rice dumplings) that some people choke on!
gyudon – cheap but satisfying rice, onion, and beef bowl. Usually topped with pickled ginger.
onigiri – bite-sized triangles of seaweed, umeboshi (pickled plum), rice, and seafood. Perfect for eating on the go while hiking. My favorites are smoked herring and tuna mayonnaise.
gyoza – dumplings that are filled with meat and pan-fried.
miso – standard soup served with almost any meal. Made with dashi (stock), seaweed, tofu, and other ingredients.
chawanmushi – a tiny bowl/cup (chawan) of jiggly, savory custard filled with meat and veggies.
shojin-ryouri – the best vegetarian cuisine you can find in Japan. We had an exquisite meal at a Buddhist temple in Shimane that featured clear, slippery tofu noodles served with a strong soy sauce and wasabi, a clear broth made from mushrooms that tasted of pine trees, and finely roasted bell peppers with bits of candied citrus.
kaki – Japan is blessed with an abundance of kaki (oysters). We had huge grilled ones in Hiroshima and the Oki Islands.
Pocky – everyone’s favorite chocolate-covered pretzel sticks. Try the matcha and almond-encrusted ones!
Japanese cheesecake – so light and fluffy!
Christmas cake – sponge cake served with fresh whipped cream and strawberries. Only served at Christmas.
Japanese crepe – If you think France has the best crepes, I think Japan comes a very close second! One of our favorites was filled with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.
strawberry daifuku – mochi sweet filled with a whole strawberry and anko (sweet red bean paste). Popular during springtime.
umeshu jelly – If you love Japanese plum (ume), you will love this clear, sweet treat in the summertime! Best served chilled.
yuzu sorbet – so citrusy, so more-ish!
What’s your favorite Japanese food? Did you like our list? Pin it!