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Eating Sushi
General
Restaurants
The Food
Japan 


The Japanese have developed a cooking tradition that is quite different from any other on the planet. It is very subtle - raw fish and vegetables play a pivotal role, as does soya and soya products.

There is a wide range of foods available and we only provide a taster of what’s available on these pages.

Sushi and Sashimi
With a 400 year history, to outsiders Sushi is maybe the most Japanese of Japanese food. The name Sushi refers to anything served with vinegared rice -  not just raw fish as is often thought. Even for vegetarians sushi can be a good option.

Sushi-ya and kaizen-zushi serve both Sushi and Sashimi - traditionally seen as an accompaniment to beer and sake.

Sashimi is plain slices of raw fish, Sushi is fish served on top of a rice patty (nigiri-sushi) or rolled in rice and seaweed (maki-sushi) and is eaten with slices of pink pickled ginger and dipped in soy sauce (murasaki) and wasabi (hot green horseradish) as accompaniment.

Ramen, Soba and Udon
All types of noodles - they are just as much a staple in Japan as rice. Ramen noodles are probably the most ubiquitous and served with a variety of toppings in a thin or thick soup. Soba noodles are thin brown buckwheat noodles while udon are thick, white and made of wheat. All can be served hot in a broth, or cold as in zaru-soba where seaweed is placed on top.

 

 

Yakitori
Yakitori literally means grilled chicken. Mostly served with beer and a staple in Izakaya it is generally a cheap way to eat and seen as an accompaniment to alcohol rather than a meal in its own right. 

Meat is grilled over a charcoal fire and then dipped in a glaze of soy and sake and served with a complimentary chicken broth.

 

                                           Tonkatsu and Kushi-age
Tonkatsu is pork breaded and deep fried and served in a special sauce, usually as part of a set meal (tonkatso teishoku). Popular for lunch and served with cabbage and rice look for a red lantern near stations. Refills of the rice & cabbage are usually free. Kushi-age is deep-fried skewers of meat, vegetables, prawns etc.

 


 

Tempura    Fish or vegetables dipped in batter and flash fried for a crisp, hot coating. Served with a small bowl of ten-tsuyu sauce and grated daikon (radish) each portion should be briefly dipped into this mix before being eaten. It is an interesting fact that the Japanese learned the cooking technique from the Portuguese in the 16-th century. Order teishoku (full set) which includes rice, miso soup and pickes.

                                             

                                         Teppanyaki
Food cooked on a steel grill. In more upmarket restaurants this will be cooked by a skilled chef at your table.. If you are on a budget and like the taste of Teppanyaki, head for okonokiyaki (cheap) restaurants where you can do the hard work yourself.

 

 

Nabemono
This is a hot-pot dish particularly popular in the winter months, cooked at the table in a large earthenware pot. Everyone eats from this pot, selecting raw ingredients from a separate plate and adding them to the broth.
Every part of Japan has its own distinctive version which can contain anything from salmon to tofu, carrot to fugu (blowfish) to shungiku (chrysanthemum). Look for oden-nabe in cities which can be bought from mini-marts and department stores as a quick and easy meal. Nimono is a version of this where food is simmered in liquid and the whole dish served to the diner. The morsels of food are then picked out and eaten individually before the soup is drunk at the end.

                                       

                                   Bento
Popular as lunch dishes throughout Japan, bento means boxed meals. There are many types of these; the bowl types (beef bowl and chicken bowl), sushi types (rolled sushi), and Makunouchi (assortment) type that contains rice, baked, fish, fried shrimp,croquette, simmered vegetables, egg, etc. These are usually purchased at Japanese supermarkets and convenience stores

Wagashi                                                                           Wagashi are traditional Japanese confections that evolved into an art form in the ancient Imperial capital, Kyoto. The character pronounced 'wa' denotes things Japanese, while the characters for 'gashi', an alliteration of kashi, have come to mean confections.  There are many kind of wagashi, some of them have fruit taste and some of them are rice crackers. More important than a taste, is the visual beauty of this Japanese confection.

The different themes of wagashi can be animals, plants and the very essence of nature; many represent a particular season. One famous wagashi represents the first snow on the Mount Fuji in early winter, meanwhile there are even some wagashi are inspired by famous haiku poems.

Wagashi are often served in tea ceremony with the maccha, thick green tea - it's stunning visual aesthetics serve an important part of the ceremony.

 

 

 
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