Japan’s 11 Must-Eat Foods And Where To Find Them [You Should Try]

Japan is a food lover’s paradise, with a rich culinary culture with something to offer everyone. From fresh sushi to savory ramen, countless must-try dishes will tantalize your taste buds.

Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or just looking to try something new, Japan’s diverse cuisine is sure to impress. If you’re ever in Japan, you need to try some of their famous foods. From sushi to tempura, these dishes are something you want to take advantage of.

Here we will discuss Japan’s 11 must-eat foods and where to find them. We will also help you learn the food preparation process before you go to Japan so that everything goes smoothly during your food journies. If you plan a trip to Japan, add these foods to your list. So whether you’re in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, or any other city in Japan, check out this list and save yourself a lot of trouble.

Japan's 11 Must-Eat Foods

About Japan’s Foods

About Japan's Foods

Japan is a food lover’s paradise – and its cuisine is so diverse it’s hard to decide what to try first. Suppose you plan to visit this fascinating country, including at least one of the eleven must-eat foods on your list. Some of the selections included in this guide are:

Sushi, Tempura, Ramen noodles, Udon noodles, Yakitori, Yakitori skewers, Tempura skewers, Okonomiyaki, and Yakitori Japanese Barbecue. Additionally, read the entire guide before hitting the streets to find the best food options – some hidden gems will delight your taste buds. So, Japan has something to offer you whether you’re a sushi lover or a ramen noodles fanatic.

Japan’s 11 Must-Eat Foods And Where To Find Them That Must Be On Your List

11 Japanese Foods That Must Be On Your List

Japan has sushi lovers, tempura connoisseurs, and ramen noodles addicts. And you know what? You should include some of the country’s favourite food on your trip list. Some must-eat Japanese foods include sushi, tempura, and ramen noodles. Sushi is a popular dish all over Japan, so it’s best to try some of the best sushi joints in the country.

Suppose tempura is your thing, head to a restaurant specializing in tempura. And if ramen noodles are your thing, you can find ramen noodles joints practically anywhere in Japan. If you plan a trip to Japan, add these 11 must-eat foods. Japanese cuisine has delicious flavours and unique dishes, from savoury ramen to sweet mochi. Here are Japan’s 11 Must-Eat Foods And Where To Find Them.

1.Soba Noodles

Soba Noodles

Regarding must-eat foods in Japan, soba noodles are definitely at the top. These thin and chewy noodles are made from buckwheat flour and can  serve hot or cold and are a staple in Japanese cuisine. Some popular dishes featuring soba noodles include zaru soba (cold soba noodles served with dipping sauce), soba salad, and tempura soba.

If you want to try authentic soba noodles, head to one of Japan’s many speciality soba restaurants. Some notable spots include Narutomi Soba in Tokyo and Okina-tei in Kyoto. Trust us, one bite of these delicious noodles, and you’ll understand why they’re a must-try food in Japan.



No trip to Japan is complete without trying Yakitori, a skewered and grilled chicken dish that is a staple of Japanese cuisine. This popular dish can be found in many restaurants throughout Japan, from street vendors to high-end establishments.

The dish is typically made with bite-sized pieces of chicken seasoned with salt or soy sauce and then grilled over charcoal. While chicken is the most common meat for Yakitori, other meats such as beef, pork, and seafood can also be found on the menu. Yakitori is often served with dipping sauces and condiments such as wasabi, soy sauce, and grated ginger. With its delicious taste and wide availability, it’s no wonder why Yakitori has become one of the must-try foods for any visitor to Japan.

3.Gyoza Dumplings

Gyoza Dumplings

You’ll also love gyoza dumplings if you’re a fan of sushi, mochi ice cream, or ramen noodles. These savoury little morsels come from Japan and are renowned for their great taste. There are wide varieties to choose from – chicken, pork, or vegetable – so there’s sure to be one that appeals to your palate.

Plus, unlike most other food items where cooking time and preparation are often necessary before eating them, gyoza dumplings are best prepared when ordered from a restaurant. After dipping them in soy sauce, place them in boiling water, and they will cook within minutes. Once you’ve tried these delicious little things, don’t forget to tell all your Japanese friends about them! They’re worth trying out.



Tempura is a delicious dish that you can easily prepare at home. It is made from battered and fried food and usually includes shrimp, vegetables, and crab meat. Those looking to make this delicacy themselves should know some easy tips – like using tempura batter that is thick enough so the food doesn’t stick to the pan but also light enough so it doesn’t become soggy or heavy.

Tempura makes for an exquisite dish that goes well with any occasion! Not to mention, once you try it, you’ll never return to your old ways of eating seafood – tempura has something special about it.

5.Udon Noodles

Udon Noodles

Udon noodles are a staple of Japanese cuisine and a must-try dish for any food lover visiting Japan. These thick, chewy noodles are typically served in a hot broth made from soy sauce, dashi, and mirin, along with toppings like scallions, tempura shrimp, or sliced beef.

One of the best places to try udon noodles is in Kagawa Prefecture, where they are known for their Sanuki-style udon. Here you can find countless noodle shops selling fresh, handmade udon noodles that are soft and delicate yet firm enough to hold up in the soup. Whether you prefer your udon hot or cold, plain or adorned with toppings, this classic Japanese dish has no shortage of delicious options.

6.Yakitori BBQ Skewers

Yakitori BBQ Skewers

No trip to Japan is complete without trying their delicious Yakitori BBQ skewers. These mouth-watering treats are made from various cuts of chicken, including chicken breast, thigh, and liver, which are then grilled over charcoal until tender and juicy.

The skewers are typically served with various seasonings and sauces, such as soy sauce, salt, and tare sauce. To get the best Yakitori experience in Japan, head over to the bustling streets of Tokyo’s Yakitori Alley or visit one of the many speciality restaurants that offer this delectable dish. Trust us when we say that one bite of these savoury skewers will bring you back for more!

7.Takoyaki Balls

Takoyaki Balls

If you’re a foodie visiting Japan, there’s one dish you can’t miss: takoyaki balls. These delicious octopus-filled balls are a popular street food found all over Japan. They’re made by cooking batter and diced octopus in a special pan, then topped with savory sauce, mayonnaise, and bonito flakes.

The result is a crispy-on-the-outside, soft-and-fluffy-on-the-inside ball of umami goodness that will leave your taste buds begging for more. Some of the best places to try takoyaki balls include Osaka’s Dotonbori district and Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market. So don’t miss out on this quintessential Japanese snack – it’s sure to be an unforgettable culinary experience!

8.Umeboshi Plums

Umeboshi Plums

If you’re ever in Japan, try umeboshi plums – they are a pickled plum popular there. You can eat Umeboshi plums as a snack, salad, or dessert; they are affordable and easy to find. They make Umeboshi plums by soaking ume (apricot) in vinegar and salt for several weeks.

And use the resulting brine for pickling umeboshi plums, which are typically deep purple and have a slightly salty taste. They can be eaten fresh or used in dishes like sushi or sashimi. If you need to get familiar with them, now is the perfect time to learn more.

9.Yakisoba – Vegetable Ramen Soup

Yakisoba - Vegetable Ramen Soup

If you’re a foodie planning a trip to Japan, you won’t want to miss out on trying some of the country’s must-eat dishes. One such dish is yakisoba, a vegetable ramen soup that is both delicious and nutritious.

This hearty dish typically consists of egg noodles stir-fried with vegetables such as cabbage, onions, and carrots and topped with a savoury soup made from soy sauce, mirin, and dashi broth. You can find yakisoba in many restaurants throughout Japan, but some of the best places to try it include street vendors and local markets. So be sure to add this tasty dish to your list of must-try Japanese foods!

10.Tempura – Fried Seafood

Tempura - Fried Seafood

One of Japan’s most iconic dishes is tempura, a deep-fried seafood or vegetable dish that is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The batter used in tempura comes with flour, water, and sometimes egg or baking soda, creating a light and airy texture that perfectly complements the fresh seafood.

Some popular seafood options for tempura include shrimp, squid, and scallops. To truly experience the best tempura in Japan, head to Kyoto’s famed Nishiki Market, where numerous vendors serve freshly fried delights.



One of Japan’s must-eat foods is Okonomiyaki, a savoury pancake-like dish popular throughout the country. “Okonomiyaki” translates to “grilled as you like it,” this dish certainly lives up to its name. The base of the word is made from a batter of flour, grated yam, eggs, and dashi (a Japanese cooking stock), which is then cooked with various fillings such as cabbage, meat, seafood, or cheese.

Once the filling is cooked, the Okonomiyaki is topped with various toppings, such as mayonnaise, bonito flakes, and Worcestershire sauce. To experience the best Okonomiyaki in Japan, head to Osaka’s Dotonbori district or Hiroshima’s Okonomimura for a truly delicious culinary experience.

Get To Know Where To Find The 11 Must-Eat Foods In Japan.

Get To Know Where To Find The 11 Must-Eat Foods In Japan

Japan is popular for its sushi, ramen, tempura, udon noodles, and Okonomiyaki – so it’s no wonder, these are some of the country’s most popular food items. If you’re ever in Japan, be sure to try these dishes! Some of the best restaurants are in major Japanese cities like Tokyo and Osaka.

If you’re not keen on sushi, try ramen instead. Or, if you’re a tempura fan, head to Osaka for some of the best seafood tempura in the country. And if you’re a pancake lover, try Okonomiyaki – a pancake-based dish that originated in Japan. No matter what food you’re in the mood for, check out Japan’s 11 must-eat foods.

Preparation Before You Go To Japan

Regarding food, Japan is a land of mystery and enchantment. And nowhere is this more apparent than in the cuisine. From sushi to tempura to ramen, Japan has something that tastes fantastic for everyone. But to experience all Japan’s wonders, you first need to prepare.

That’s where the 11 must-eat foods come in. These food items are essential for Japanese cuisine and Western digestion. Plus, they’re found in most supermarkets around the world. So, there’s no excuse not to give Japanese cuisine a try. Pack some snacks and drinks to energize you to make the most of your trip so you don’t run out of steam. Bon appétit.


Japan is a food lover’s paradise, with many dishes sure to tantalize your taste buds. From savoury ramen and crispy tempura to sweet mochi and fluffy pancakes, there’s something for everyone in the land of the rising sun. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveller, exploring Japan’s culinary scene is necessary.

Japan’s food is something to experience. The flavours are delicious, and the food packs with nutrients that will help you stay healthy and energetic. We’ve outlined Japan’s 11 must-eat foods and where to find them. We also provided tips on preparing for your trip to Japan and advice on how to deal with food allergies in Japan. So whether you’re planning to visit Tokyo, Kyoto, or any other Japanese city, include at least one of Japan’s 11 must-eat foods on your food list.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Where Can I Find Authentic Japanese Food In The U.S.?

If you’re in the U.S. and want to enjoy some authentic Japanese cuisine, be sure to check out sushi bars, izakayas (Japanese pubs), Japanese supermarkets, and ramen shops. Additionally, Yelp and Zomato offer great resources for finding recommendations for Japanese food in your area.

Can You Enjoy Japanese Cuisine Without Spending A Lot Of Money?

By knowing Japan’s 11 must-eat foods, you can enjoy great-tasting cuisine without spending a lot of money. These dishes are affordable and easy to find in any Japanese grocery store. In addition, by reading this blog post, you’ll learn where to see each dish mentioned.

Which Japanese Food Is Best For Breakfast?

While there are many delicious Japanese dishes, one popular breakfast option is “tamago kake gohan.” This dish consists of a raw egg with soy sauce poured over hot rice. It may sound unusual to some, but it’s pretty delicious and provides a great start to the day with its protein-rich and filling ingredients. Other options include miso soup, grilled fish, and natto (fermented soybeans).

What Is Japan’s Number 1 Food?

Japan is known for its diverse cuisine, but if we had to pick just one dish as the country’s number one food, it would have to be sushi. Sushi consists of bite-sized vinegared rice topped with fresh seafood or vegetables. Its delicious taste, healthy ingredients, and beautiful presentation have gained immense popularity worldwide.

What Are The Top 5 Japanese Foods?

Ramen Noodle Soup: ramen noodles soaked in a piping hot soup broth with toppings like instant miso soup, green onion, soy sauce, and kamaboko (fish cake)
Tempura Batter Breaded Fish Fillets: battered and deep-fried fish served with dipping sauce and a side of tempura batter
Gyoza Dumplings: pan-fried dumplings stuffed with cabbage and minced pork, then simmered in soy sauce and ginger sauce
sushi: sushi rolls filled with seafood, vegetables, or tofu
yakitori style skewers: grilled skewers of chicken, beef, or seafood.

Michael C. Herrera

I’m a travel blogger with a focus on safety. I’ve been to all seven continents, and I love sharing my tips for staying safe while traveling. I also have a lot of experience with travel hacking and finding the best deals on airfare and hotels. My blog features reviews of restaurants, hotels, and attractions around the world.

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