Food and Drink

Information about eating and drinking in Japan: Japan cuisine, regional specialities and mealtime customs...

Japanese food has a long history, and has changed its character over time. Modern Japanese food is renowned for using quality ingredients and for its seasonality. Staple foods such as rice and noodles feature heavily in the Japanese diet, and are usually accompanied by dishes made from meat, seafood, vegetables or tofu. A typical Japanese meal includes a bowl of rice (gohan), a bowl of miso soup (miso shiru), pickled vegetables and meat or fish. It is also now common to have different kinds of noodles instead of rice.

Places to Eat

The Japanese love eating out and an abundance of eating places can be found across Japan, from restaurants, sushi bars, and fast food to fine dining.

Nomiya and Izakaya are both terms for places to sit, eat and drink, traditionally identified by a red lantern hanging outside. These types of restaurants tend to offer an extensive menu offering traditional Japanese fare and in the big towns and cities, other types of cuisines as well. Many restaurants display plastic or wax replicas of their dishes, making it easier for foreigners to choose their menu.

Yakitoriya and Yatai are street stalls which are usually set up for festivals to serve drinks, but also serve noodle dishes.

Beer gardens and beer halls are open during the summer and are often situated on the roofs of department stores. They offer mainly drinks and a fun atmosphere. Western pubs have become increasingly common, and it is normal to find Irish and British-style pubs in big towns and cities.