Most popular Japanese foods amongst tourists

Nov. 23 Thurs by Jennifer Things to Know

Popular Japanese Foods

Food is one of the best ways to learn about a culture, and is a great way to experience something new. We have a lot of different blogs featuring some amazing Japanese foods found all throughout Japan. We're not sure if all of the foods we've featured are as appealing to you as they are to us, but maybe these lists will inspire you to try some of them out! Here we've compiled a list of things that you, the traveler, tends to like, as well as some things that we think you should try. We've had a list of most popular foods, but this time its the ones that are also popular among travelers. If you're planning on travelling to Japan for the first time, these foods just might be something you enjoy! Whether it's due to certain foods being more well-known and popular than others, as a result, there tends to be trends upon some of the most popular Japanese food items among visitors and travelers.

1.) Sushi

One of the first Japanese foods that come to mind when Japan is mentioned is probably sushi. And why wouldn't it be? Sushi is widely available in many countries throughout the globe, and is commonly associated with Japan. Japan is surrounded by ocean and has so many amazing places to get fresh, delicious sushi. For those unfamilar, sushi refers to the rice that is paired with raw seafood. The rice is usually seasoned with vinegar and sugar, and then fish or other seafood, and seaweed are usually paired with it to make what is known as sushi. There are even places to get fresh sushi that aren't usually seen, such as at Japanese markets. Japan also has many places where they serve rotating sushi, where sushi rotates in the restaurant in front of all the customers, adding to the appeal of a very popular meal.

2.) Ramen

Ramen is another dish that is very popular in Japan. Although the origins of ramen are unclear, some say it has its roots in China. The Japanese ramen that is well-loved today has become an entity of its own and is much different in flavor. There are many types of ramen and flavors so as a higher chance to appeal to many different people as well. With so many flavors, styles, and toppings to choose from, there is never loss for choice, and in my opinion ramen can greatly differ in taste as well. Tonkotsu ramen, made with pork bone, is said to be the most popular type of ramen among tourists. Ramen is found in many countries in many variations, so it's easy to figure out why it would also be popular in Japan. Not to mention, it's just that good. There are many places all over Japan that serve ramen, and is usually relatively inexpensive. Enjoy ramen on a cold day, or after a workout, as the warm, heart meal is sure to fill anyone up!

3.) Tempura

Fried food may not always be the best for you, but no one can deny how delicious it can be. In Japan, one of the most famous types of fried food is tempura. In tempura, vegetables and fish such as pumpkin, sweet potato, seaweed, shrimp, and green beans are fried. The possibilities are truly endless, but shrimp tends to be the most well-known and popular type of tempura. Tempura is usually enjoyed with a savory dipping sauce or with salt, and sometimes over rice. Some people also enjoy tempura in noodles, but the classic way to enjoy it is simply by itself, with a side of rice and miso soup on the side. Tempura ranks one of the most popular and well-known foods among tourists, but it is also well-loved by the people of Japan. 

4.) Japanese curry

Japanese curry is similar to some curries found in other parts of east asia, but it greatly differs from curry found in places like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and even Thailand. The concept of Japanese curry is essentially stewed meats and vegetables inside of a thick sauce. In Japanese curry, the curry is usually served over hot rice. Although there are many variations of curry that can be ordered, the most popular type of curry among visitors tends the be katsu curry. 
Katsu curry has fried meat, usually either pork or chicken, over curry, all over rice. This is a filling meal that is sure to fill those appetites that have been worked up due to all the exploring of Japan.

5.) Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is a dish that we've covered in many other of our blogs. It is a savory pancake made from a flour and water batter, eggs, and of course the main ingredient chopped cabbage. There are many versions of okonomiyaki, including the Hiroshima version and the Osaka/Kansai version. The use of different ingredients makes it taste different, and one of the most popular variations is to add noodles into the mix. The Hiroshima version is known to layer their ingredients as opposed to mix, but either way makes for a delcious meal. Due to its popularity throughout Japan as well as its relative accessibility, this makes it a popular dish for tourists to try as well.

6.) Shabu-shabu/Hotpot

Shabu-shabu has been mentioned as something people have enjoyed while in Japan. Shabu-shabu is a hotpot dish, where various vegetables and thin cuts of meat are boiled and/or dipped into boiling water, and then are dipped into sauce. A surprsingly refreshing meal, it's also healthy due to all of the vegetables in it and doesn;t leave you feeling weighed down after eating it. Shabu-shabu is also popular due to it being a fun meal to enjoy with friends. Gathering around a hot pot and socializing while eating makes it a relatively low maintenance, laid back and fun meal.

7.) Yakitori

Yakitori is a Japanese skewered meat, mainly chicken, and is a favorite for many people due to the quickness in which it's served, and the ease of finding it at restaurants and izakayas. There are all sorts of meat cuts and parts that is available in yakitori and is often a popular food to pair with beer. It somehow tastes so much different, than home made skewered chicken, in the best possible way. People visiting from Japan may find it a fun and convenient meal to enjoy on a night out.

8.) Soba

Noodles in general tend to be a popular food that is loved by many. Soba is one of these noodle dishes, and it feels so traditionally Japanese. Soba noodles, namely zaru soba, usually consist of buckwheat noodles that are served separately from the sauce and are dipped into the sauce before eating. This is a simple dish that is usually served with some green onions and seaweed. Usually soba is found in soba and udon shops, and places that serve traditional Japanese dishes. 

9.) Yakiniku

Yakiniku is Japanese barbecue. Japanese barbecue is known for their high quality cuts of beef, including wagyu, arguably one of the most famous types of beef. Grilled meat has always been a favorite for many people, and something about the quality and taste of Japanese barbecue makes it such a treat and makes it so popular. The sauce used in yakiniku is different from ones traditionally found in other barbecue joints, and is just as delicious. When travelling to Japan, this is one nice meal that you should try.

10.) Onigiri

Onigiri or riceballs are a quick and easy food that is popular among people to grab n' go. Onigiris are balls of rice with a type of filling usually in the center. There are so many different possibilities for the filling, that there is a flavor for everybody. They can be found in many different palces including convenience stores, and is pretty consistent in their taste. Because it is a quick and easy lunch meal, it is one of the most popular Japanese foods among both locals and travelers. 


Most popular foods in Japan among tourists


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