List of Japanese dishes

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A Japanese dinner
Japanese breakfast foods

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 western 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)[edit]

steamed rice with furikake topping

Rice porridge (お粥)[edit]

  • Nanakusa-gayu (七草の節句) is the long-standing Japanese custom of eating seven-herb rice porridge (nanakusa-gayu) on January 7 (Jinjitsu).
  • Okayu (お粥) is a rice congee (porridge), sometimes egg dropped and usually served to infants and sick people.
  • Zosui (Zōsui, 雑炊) or Ojiya (おじや) is a soup containing rice stewed in stock, often with egg, meat, seafood, vegetables or mushroom, and flavored with miso or soy. Known as juushii in Okinawa. Some similarity to risotto and Kayu though Zosui uses cooked rice, as the difference is that kayu is made from raw rice.

Rice bowls (どんぶり)[edit]

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

Sushi (寿司)[edit]

A sushi platter

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

  • Nigirizushi (握り寿司): This is sushi with the ingredients on top of a block of rice.
  • Makizushi (巻き寿司): Translated as "roll sushi", this is where rice and seafood or other ingredients are placed on a sheet of seaweed (nori) and rolled into a cylindrical shape on a bamboo mat and then cut into smaller pieces. Now, sushi is a very popular favorite food. It consists of cooked rice, sesame oil, salt,vinegar and sesame seeds, sugar is often added as seasonings. Then it is placed on a sheet of nori, dried laver. The seasoned rice is spread on the laver, and then fried egg, julienned carrots, julienned ham, seasoned ground beef or seasoned fish cakes, pickled radish, seasoned spinach, and seasoned gobo and cucumber are then placed closely together on the rice.tuna, cheese, yakiniku, vegetable, and more.
  • Chirashizushi (ちらし寿司) or Bara-zushi (バラ寿司): Translated as "scattered", chirashi involves fresh seafood, vegetables or other ingredients being placed on top of sushi rice in a bowl or dish.
  • Inarizushi (稲荷寿司, お稲荷さん): Fried tofu packet stuffed with sushi rice (no fillings)
  • Oshizushi (押し寿司):
  • Meharizushi (めはり寿司):

Other staples[edit]

Noodles (men-rui, 麺類)[edit]

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
  • Chinese-influenced noodles are served in a meat or chicken broth and have only appeared in the last 100 years or so.
    • Ramen (ラーメン): thin light yellow noodles served in hot chicken or pork broth with various toppings; of Chinese origin, it is a popular and common item in Japan. Also known as Shina-soba (支那そば) or Chūka-soba (中華そば) (both mean "Chinese-style soba").
    • Champon (ちゃんぽん): yellow noodles of medium thickness served with a great variety of seafood and vegetable toppings in a hot chicken broth which originated in Nagasaki as a cheap food for students.
    • Hiyashi chūka (冷やし中華): thin, yellow noodles served cold with a variety of toppings, such as cucumber, tomato, ham or chicken, bean sprouts, thin-sliced omelet, etc., and a cold sauce (soy sauce based, sesame based, etc.). The name means "cold Chinese noodles."
  • Mazesoba (台湾まぜそば: wheat noodles served with a number of savory toppings, including raw egg, ginger, and meat
  • Okinawa soba (沖縄そば): thick wheat-flour noodles served in Okinawa, often served in a hot broth with sōki, steamed pork. Akin to a cross between udon and ramen.
  • Yaki soba (焼きそば): Fried Chinese noodles.
  • Yaki udon (焼きうどん): Fried udon noodles.

Bread (pan, パン)[edit]

Bread (the word "pan" (パン) is derived from the Portuguese pão)[4] 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)[edit]

Deep-fried dishes (agemono, 揚げ物)[edit]

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

Yakizakana (grilled rockfish) with mushroom, leeks, and yuzu
A beef teriyaki dish

Nabemono (one pot cooking, 鍋物)[edit]

Nabemono (鍋物) includes:

Nimono (stewed dishes, 煮物)[edit]

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.

  • Oden (おでん, "kantou-daki", 関東炊き): surimi, boiled eggs, daikon radish, konnyaku, and fish cakes stewed in a light, soy-flavored dashi broth. Common wintertime food and often available in convenience stores.
  • Kakuni (角煮): chunks of pork belly stewed in soy, mirin and sake with large pieces of daikon and whole boiled eggs. The Okinawan variation, using awamori, soy sauce and miso, is known as rafuti (ラフテー).
  • Nikujaga (肉じゃが): beef and potato stew, flavored with sweet soy.
  • Nizakana (煮魚): fish poached in sweet soy (often on the menu as "nitsuke" (煮付け)).
  • Sōki (ソーキ): Okinawan dish of pork stewed with bone.

Itamemono (stir-fried dishes, 炒め物)[edit]

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

Sashimi (刺身)[edit]

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))[edit]

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

  • Miso soup (味噌汁): soup made with miso suspended in dashi, usually containing two or three types of solid ingredients, such as seaweed, vegetables or tofu.
  • Tonjiru (豚汁): similar to Miso soup, except that pork is added to the ingredients
  • Dangojiru (団子汁): soup made with dumplings along with seaweed, tofu, lotus root, or any number of other vegetables and roots
  • Sumashijiru (澄まし汁) or "osumashi" (お澄まし): a clear soup made with dashi and seafood or chicken.
  • Zōni (雑煮): soup containing mochi rice cakes along with various vegetables and often chicken. It is usually eaten at New Years Day.

Pickled or salted foods (tsukemono, 漬け物)[edit]

Karashimentaiko 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)[edit]

Chinmi (珍味)[edit]

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, イナゴ) and bee larvae (hachinoko, 蜂の子) are not uncommon dishes.[citation needed] The larvae of species of caddisflies and stoneflies (zaza-mushi, 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 (Hakone Sanshōuo, ハコネサンショウウオ, 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))[edit]

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

Japanese-style sweets (wagashi, 和菓子)[edit]

Wagashi in a storefront in Sapporo, Japan

Wagashi include

  • Amanattō: traditional confectionery made of adzuki or other beans, covered with refined sugar after simmering with sugar syrup and drying.
  • Dango: a Japanese dumpling and sweet made from mochiko (rice flour),[1] related to mochi.
  • Hanabiramochi: a Japanese sweet (wagashi), usually eaten at the beginning of the year.
  • Higashi: a type of wagashi, which is dry and contains very little moisture, and thus keeps relatively longer than other kinds of wagashi.
  • Hoshigaki: dried persimmon fruit.
  • Imagawayaki: also known as 'Taikoyaki' is a round Taiyaki and fillings are same.
  • Kakigōri: shaved ice with syrup topping.
  • Kompeito: crystal sugar candy.
  • Manjū: sticky rice surrounding a sweet bean center.
  • Matsunoyuki: a wagashi that resembles a pine tree dusted with snow.
  • Mochi: steamed sweet rice pounded into a solid, sticky, and somewhat translucent mass.
  • Oshiruko: a warm, sweet red bean (an) soup with mochi: rice cake.
  • Uirō: a steamed cake made of rice flour.
  • Taiyaki: a fried, fish-shaped cake, usually with a sweet filling such as a red bean paste.
  • Namagashi: a type of wagashi, which is a general term for snacks used in the Japanese tea ceremony.

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

Western-style sweets (yōgashi, 洋菓子)[edit]

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

  • Kasutera: "Castella" Iberian-style sponge cake
  • Mirukurepu: "mille feuilles": a layered crepe that literally means, "one thousand leaves" in French.

Sweets bread (kashi pan, 菓子パン)[edit]

  • Anpan: bread with sweet bean paste in the center
  • Melonpan: a large, round bun which is a combination of regular dough beneath cookie dough. It occasionally contains a melon-flavored cream, though traditionally it is called melon bread because of its general shape resembling that of a melon (not due to any melon flavor).

Other snacks[edit]

Snacks include:

Tea and other drinks[edit]

Tea and non-alcoholic beverages[edit]

Japanese green tea
  • Amazake
  • Genmaicha is green tea combined with roasted brown rice.
  • Gyokuro: Gyokuro leaves are shaded from direct sunlight for approximately 3 weeks before the spring harvest. Removing direct sunlight in this way enhances the proportions of flavenols, amino acids, sugars, and other substances that provide tea aroma and taste. After harvesting the leaves are rolled and dried naturally. Gyokuro is slightly sweeter than sencha and is famous for its crisp, clean taste. Major growing areas include Uji, Kyōto and Shizuoka prefecture.
  • Hōjicha: green tea roasted over charcoal
  • Kombucha (tea): specifically the tea poured with Kombu giving rich flavor in monosodium glutamate.
  • Kukicha is a blend of green tea made of stems, stalks, and twigs.
  • Kuzuyu is a thick herbal tea made with kudzu starch.
  • Matcha is powdered green tea. (Green tea ice cream is flavored with matcha, not ocha.)
  • Mugicha is barley tea, served chilled during summer.
  • Sakurayu is an herbal tea made with pickled cherry blossoms.
  • Sencha is steam treated green tea leaves that are then dried.
  • Umecha is a tea drink with umeboshi, which provides a refreshing sourness.
  • Kuwacha is a noncaffeinated tea made with white mulberry leaves.

Soft drinks[edit]

Lemonade-flavored Ramune

Alcoholic beverages[edit]

Sake () is a rice wine that typically contains 12%–20% alcohol and is made by a double fermentation of rice. Kōjji 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 (, 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[edit]

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[edit]

  • Tempura — so thoroughly adopted that its foreign roots are unknown to most people, including many Japanese. As such, it is considered washoku (和食, native food).
  • Castella — sponge cake, originating in Nagasaki.
  • Pan — bread, introduced by Portugal. (bread is pão in Portuguese.) Japanese bread crumbs, panko, have been popularized by cooking shows.


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

  • Breaded seafood or vegetables (furai, フライ, derived from "fry"), and breaded meat (katsuretsu, カツレツ, derived from "cutlet" and often contracted to katsu), are usually served with shredded cabbage and/or lettuce, Japanese Worcestershire or tonkatsu sauce and lemon. Tempura, a related dish, has been heavily modified since its introduction to Japan by use of batter and dashi-flavored dip, and is usually considered to be washoku.
Korokke for sale at a Mitsukoshi food hall in Tokyo, Japan
  • 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.
  • Japanese curry - rice - imported in the 19th century by way of the United Kingdom and adapted by Japanese Navy chefs. One of the most popular food items in Japan today.[citation needed] Eaten with a spoon. Curry is often eaten with pickled vegetables called fukujinzuke or rakkyo
    • Curry Pan - deep fried bread with Japanese curry sauce inside. The pirozhki of Russia was remodeled, and Curry bread was made.
    • Curry udon - is a hot noodle dish where the soup is made of Japanese curry. May also include meat or vegetables.
Hayashi rice
  • Hayashi rice (ハヤシライス) - beef and onions stewed in a red-wine sauce and served on rice
  • Nikujaga - soy-flavored meat and potato stew that has been made in Japan to the extent that it is now considered washoku, but again originates from 19th Century Japanese Navy chefs adapting beef stews of the Royal Navy.
  • Omu raisu - ketchup-flavored rice wrapped in omelet.

Other items were popularized after the war:

  • Hamburg steak - a ground beef patty, usually mixed with breadcrumbs and fried chopped onions, served with a side of white rice and vegetables. Popular post-war food item served at homes. Sometimes eaten with a fork.
Fake food of naporitan in display window of a restaurant in Japan

Other homegrown cuisine of foreign origin[edit]



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

Less traditional, but widely used ingredients include:

  • Monosodium glutamate, which is often used by chefs and food companies as a cheap flavor enhancer. It may be used as a substitute for kombu, which is a traditional source of free glutamate
  • Japanese-style Worcestershire sauce, often known as simply "sauce", thicker and fruitier than the original, is commonly used as a table condiment for okonomiyaki (お好み焼き), tonkatsu (トンカツ), croquette ("korokke", コロッケ) and the like.
  • Japanese mayonnaise is used with salads, okonomiyaki (お好み焼き), yaki soba (焼きそば) and sometimes mixed with wasabi or soy sauce.

See also[edit]


  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. ^ Stanlaw, James (2004). Japanese English: language and culture contact. Hong Kong University Press. p. 46. ISBN 962-209-572-0.
  5. ^ Sen, Colleen Taylor (2009). Curry: a Global History. London: Reaktion Books. p. 116. ISBN 9781861895226.
  6. ^ Shimbo 2000, p.147 "wakame and cucumber in sanbaizu dressing (sunomono)"; p.74 "sanbaizu" recipe
  7. ^ "Gyoza (Japanese dumplings)". BBC. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  8. ^ McInerney, Jay (June 10, 2007). "Raw". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 October 2013.