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Eating Sushi
General
Restaurants
The Food
Japan 


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

Sushi-ya and Kaiten-zushi

Sushi-ya are restaurants which specialize in sushi. In most sushi-ya, customers can sit either at a normal table or at a counter (sushi bar), behind which the sushi chef is working. 
Kaiten-zushi  (right) are sushi restaurants, where the sushi
dishes are presented to the customers on a conveyor belt. Customers can then freely pick the dishes that they like or order dishes which are not available on the belt. In the end, the number of plates is counted to determine the cost. There are usually a few kinds of plates (differing in color or pattern), each being associated with a certain price. Kaiten-zushi tend to be less expensive than usual sushi-ya.

 

Okonomiyaki & Monjayaki Restaurants
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 Restaurants
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’.

Yatai and Rotensho
Yatai are movable food stalls that can be found along busy streets. They sometimes include seating space inside a tent. Dishes commonly offered at yatai include oden and
ramen. Rotensho are food stands that are temporarily constructed for festivals and other large events. Okonomiyaki, takoyaki and yakisoba are just a few of the many dishes commonly sold at rotensho

Izakaya and  Teishoku-ya (or Shokudo) Restaurants
For a genuine, affordable Japanese culinary experience either of the above are highly recommended. Some of the best bargains are available here. Izakaya (right) are basically pubs - distinguished by the string of red lanterns (akachochin) hanging outside. Tofu, yakitori and sashimi are prevalent here.  You’ll be served straight away with an oshibori (hot towel) and an appetiser. Following this you may want to just ask for a recommendation (the word is o-susume) or point to the pictures if completely flummoxed. Drink sake and beer

Teishoku-ya are restaurants that sell teishoku (set menus). Here you can obtain both Japanese (washoku) and Western (yoshuko) dishes at very reasonable prices. A set menu usually consists of a main dish such as a fried fish, a bowl of cooked rice and small side dishes. This is the most common type of restaurant, found all over Japan and in large numbers - Teishoku-ya are especially numerous in business areas and popular during lunch time. 

Soba-ya and Ramen-ya 

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.

                              

 

 

Kayseki Ryori Restaurants and Ryotei
Kaiseki Ryori may be called "Japanese haute cuisine".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. It is a refined cooking style related to the tea ceremony, which emphasizes concepts such as simplicity and elegance.

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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