The Japanese cuisine offers a great variety of dishes and regional specialties. Some of the most popular Japanese dishes are listed below. They are categorized below into rice dishes, seafood dishes, noodle dishes, nabe dishes, meat dishes, soybean dishes, yoshoku dishes and other dishes. Please note that some dishes may fit into multiple categories, but are listed only once.
For over 2000 years, rice has been the most important food in Japanese cuisine. Despite changes in eating patterns over the last few decades and slowly decreasing rice consumption in recent years, rice remains one of the most important ingredients in Japan today.
Hundreds of different fish, shellfish and other seafood from the oceans, seas, lakes and rivers are used in the Japanese cuisine. They are prepared and eaten in many different ways, such as raw, dried, boiled, grilled, deep fried or steamed.
There are various traditional Japanese noodle dishes as well as some dishes which were introduced to Japan and subsequently Japanized. Noodle dishes are very popular in Japan and are served both hot and cold depending on the season. Noodle restaurants and food stands are ubiquitous, and it is common to find noodle stands along train platforms.
Nabe, or hot pot dishes, are prepared in a hot pot, usually at the table. Typical ingredients are vegetables such as negi (Japanese leek) and hakusai (Chinese cabbage), various mushrooms, seafood and/or meat. There are many regional and personal varieties, and they are especially popular in the cold winter months. Some special nabe dishes are:
Meat has been eaten in Japan in larger amounts only since the second half of the 19th century. Nowadays there are a variety of popular Japanese meat dishes.
A large number of Western dishes have been introduced to Japan over the centuries. Many of them have become completely Japanized and are referred to as Yoshoku dishes. Some of the most popular ones are: