Exploring the Flavors of Japan: Must-Try Dishes to Try in Japan

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

More than the beautiful parks, friendly locals, and flashing city lights, Japan is known for its amazing cuisine. Millions of tourists flock to Japan to explore the country’s gastronomic delights. Are you ready to take on a gastronomic journey? In today’s post, we are listing down some of the dishes you need to try while in Japan:


You simply cannot go to Japan without sampling a dish that practically put the country on the map, the sushi. Get ready, once your taste buds are spoiled with authentic Japanese sushi, you will never go back to your usual sushi ever again. The sushi represents Japan in so many ways. Imagine sweet, succulent fresh seafood on a tiny bed of vinegared rice with a kiss of wasabi. Layer after layer, the flavors explode in the mouth. Much like the humble sushi, Japan is full of layers just waiting to be explored.


Hearty, rich, and comforting, ramen is eaten as a late night meal in Japan. The dish features a portion of egg noodles swimming in a salty broth and then topped with a perfectly boiled egg, slivers of meat, and other trimmings. Virtually all restaurants have their own soup recipe and the ingredients are a closely guarded secret. There are 4 types of ramen soup styles: pork bone or tonkatsu, miso, soy sauce, and salt.


River eel is priced for its soft meat, earthy flavors, and distinctive bite. According to Japanese folklore, river eel meat – called unagi – is a great remedy against severe heat and humidity. This delicacy is an ancient favorite.


Tempura is a type of light batter used to fry seafood and vegetables. The ingredients are fried in sesame oil and then served with a small portion of salt or with a soy sauce-based broth and pickled radish. There are different types of ingredients used for tempura but our favorite is the ebi-ten or tempura prawns!


Yet another ancient favorite, soba is comprised of long, buckwheat noodles dipped in a light, soy sauce-based broth. Unlike ramen, soba is served at room temperature. The noodle is served separately from the broth. To eat the soba, get a small amount from the bowl, dip it into the sauce then slurp away.


A wildly popular dish, tonkatsu is lightly breaded pork cutlet served over Japanese rice with a special sauce. The dish is also served with a mountain of finely shredded fresh cabbage, and a side of miso soup.

Tonkatsu dates back to 19th century Japan when the country is just getting to know the western lifestyle. The best kind of tonkatsu is one that’s made with kuro-bota or Berkshire pork. Kuro-bota is guaranteed tender, juicy, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious!


Yakitori is the local barbecue, best eaten with a cold bottle of Kerin! Yakitori is simply skewered chicken meat grilled to perfection. As far as the meat seasonings go, they are stripped down to salt or shio and sweet soy sauce or tare.

Japanese Curry or Karē

Rounding up our list of local dishes to try in Japan is the curry rice or Japanese karē. Unlike traditional curry, the sauce is sweet and served over rice, over noodles, or as a pastry filling. This savory dish is layered with rice at the bottom, pork, beef or chicken, and topped with the sauce. Of all karē types, katsu- karē or pork curry is the most popular!

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