All the most incredible food to try in Japan

Sandra Oberg

General, Travel, Travel News, Work & Play Guide

Is Japan on your travel itinerary? Unsurprisingly, Japan is one of the most popular travel destinations. Whether you are visiting for business or pleasure, you will have an incredible time in this brilliant fast-paced country. It’s full of interesting traditions, history and culture, and most importantly, you will never go hungry! It’s no exaggeration when people say that the food alone is a great reason to visit. You will certainly find amazing food to try in Japan, below are just a few of the many dishes you are going to love.

Street in Japan with independent local restaurants and shops.
Courtesy of

1. Tempura 天ぷら

Deep-fried food – yes, please! What’s not to love about deep-fried shrimp or vegetables in the lightest and crispiest batter?

Tempura to try in Japan
Deep-fried Tempura – Courtesy of

2. Takoyaki たこ焼き

The first time I tried Takoyaki was in the UK, I never actually thought I’d like octopus due to past unsettling experiences. However, these blew my mind! Takoyaki is served deep-fried with a creamy filling with octopus inside them. They are basically found everywhere, definitely give it a go if you want to try some really tasty food in Japan, it’s also quite fun to watch them being made if you ever come across a Takoyaki stand.

Food to try in Japan - Takoyaki 
Takoyaki – Courtesy of

3. Yakitori 焼き鳥

Can’t wait to try Japanese grilled chicken? Then Yakitori is one of the top choices for you on your trip to Tokyo! It’s a simple but tasty dish of bite-sized pieces of chicken on wooden skewers, grilled over charcoal, and brushed with a beautiful sweet soy glaze.

Food to try in Tokyo - Yakitori,
Yakitori – Courtesy of

4. Sushi 寿司

Can’t beat a bit of Sushi! Probably the most well-known cuisine from Japan that pretty much everyone has tried these days. However, Sushi is beyond the next level to try in Japan.

Typically, people tend to go for seafood Sushi, but you can also get vegan, duck, and chicken Sushi. They can be found everywhere in Japan and can also be enjoyed on a tight budget as well as at an expensive restaurant.

Sushi in Tokyo.
Sushi – Courtesy of

5. Ramen ラーメン

Firstly, make sure you’re hungry before you go for your Ramen! It may not look very filling, but you would be surprised how full up you get. But by all means, if you still have room for another portion do it like the Japanese locals – have a refill and just slurp away! Secondly, be prepared to be overwhelmed by the perfect chewy noodles, egg, juicy char siu pork, bamboo shoots, and nori sheets in a bowl of fantastic soup broth.

Ramen to try in Tokyo.
Ramen – Courtesy of

Ramen shops are easy to find and are often dotted around train stations, office buildings, and on the streets. There are loads of different options such as Shio ramen, spicy shoyu, tsukemen, miso, and even cold ramen for those wanting something a bit different.

6. Soba そば & Udon うどん

Soba was first eaten in noodle form in Japan around 400 years ago. These noodles are made of buckwheat flour: they are easy to eat and wonderful to add to ramen or in the dish Yaki Soba, as well as many other dishes.

The best soba is hands-down made in-house from scratch, and it won’t be hard to find on the menu in restaurants. Here are a few sensational dishes for you to try:

  • Nameko Soba
  • Tsukimi Soba
  • Tempura Soba
  • Cold Soba with dipping sauce
  • Toshikoshi Soba

You should certainly not miss trying Udon noodles, this is another type of noodle that deserves your attention. Udon is made of wheat flour and has a chewy and smooth texture that melts in the mouth. Personally, it’s my favourite of the two noodle types. Why not give these dishes a go?

  • Cold Udon with Umami Mentsuyu dipping sauce
  • Carborana (creative fusion dish)
  • Yaki Udon (love this dish!)
  • Kitsune Udon
  • Beef Udon
Udon noodles in a bowl.
Udon noodles in Ramen – Courtesy of

7. Japanese Curry カレー

Curry was actually first introduced to Japan in the late 1800s by the British, but Japanese chefs made improvements to the dish so that it paired better with Japanese short-grain rice. Many of the spices used in Indian- and British-style curries were too expensive and sometimes impossible to find, so Japanese restaurants would substitute these spices with what they could find locally, this could be anything from fruits or chocolate to coffee and even ketchup and soy sauce. Experimenting with these ingredients is what makes traditional Japanese curry so delicious!

The ingredients for Japanese curry are a variety of meats (chicken, pork, or beef), vegetables (onions, carrots, and sweet potatoes), and mild spices. The katsu curry (deep-fried breaded cutlet with curry) with rice as per the picture below is also very popular in Japan.

Japanese curry in a bowl.
Katsu Chicken Curry – Courtesy of

8. Sukiyaki すき焼き

Sukiyaki is a classic Japanese one-pot dish of thinly sliced beef, vegetables, tofu, and shirataki yam noodles simmered in a sweet and savoury sukiyaki sauce, or ‘warishita’, in Japanese. It’s great for those colder days when you need to warm up after a day out exploring Japan, but it’s served all year round.

Sukiyaki cooking in a restaurant.
Sukiyaki – Courtesy of

9. Yakiniku 焼肉

Yakiniku (Japanese BBQ) is a unique dining experience where people grill their meats on their own tables. You will find a great selection of meat, vegetables, and savoury dipping sauce laid out in front of the table. It’s a must-try food in Japan!

Yakiniku Japanese BBQ
Yakiniku – courtesy of

10. Taiyaki 鯛焼き

Taiyaki is a fish-shaped cake/snack filled with azuki sweet red bean paste. At the Japanese street festivals you’ll be guaranteed to see these snacks around, make sure you try them at least once on your trip!

Taiyaki – courtesy of

You’ll need a convenient starting point to set off from and explore Japan and somewhere to return to after an evening out. Be sure to check out our serviced apartments in Tokyo (and other locations in Japan) and pick somewhere to stay that’s perfect for you!