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There are a great number of different types of Japanese restaurant available throughout the islands. Here are some of the most popular.

This is the most common type of restaurant, found all over Japan and in large numbers. Here you can obtain both Japanese (washoku) and Western (yoshuko) dishes at very reasonable prices. Ask for the teishoku (set menu) for lunch which comprises a set menu of meat or fish, soup, shredded cabbage and pickles - not forgetting the ubiquitous rice.

Here you sit around a teppan (hotplate) and either cook your own meal or watch as the chef cooks for you. Generally meat, seafood and vegetables are available to cook in batter.

Sukiyaki and Shabu-shabu
Both styles of cooking using beef, you will be provided with a small pot of broth at your table from which you slowly add the beef, vegetables and tofu as required. (Help is usually close at hand so don’t panic) Not especially cheap, Shabu shabu is best translated as ’splish splash’.


Izaka-ya and Taishu-sakaba
For a genuine, affordable Japanese culinary experience either of the above are highly recommended. Some of the best bargains are available here. These are basically pubs - distinguished by the string of red lanterns (akachochin) hanging outside. Tofu, yakitori and sashimi are prevalent here. Drink sake and beer.

Soba and Ramen shops

Some of the best bargains are available here. Effectively these are noodle restaurants which offer either with a selection of meat, vegetables or fish in either a soup or fried.

                              Typical Ramen dish


Kayseki ryori
This centuries-old tradition of preparing and serving food is almost an art-form. Very much the haut-cuisine of Japan,  this largely vegetarian affair is most often eaten privately in a private restaurant room (ryotei) or ryokan room.

The food is seasonal, served in a sequence of several courses and the settings and presentation is given as much importance as the food itself. Rice is eaten last and sake or Japanese beer usually accompany the meal. This is an extremely expensive (and for a foreigner often quite daunting) way to eat (upwards of ¥10,000 per person) but for a quarter of that price a box lunch is on offer containing a selection of the evening menu.




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