There is so much more to Japanese cuisine than sushi and ramen.
From Japanese-style barbecue to hibachi, Japanese cuisine has a huge diversity of regional and seasonal dishes. Plus, the Japanese diet — generally healthy and light — is sometimes credited with longevity.
Here are the 42 best dishes to try in Japan.
Tonkatsu is a thick, deep-fried pork cutlet that is eaten with sweet brown sauce. Because it is heavy and rich, oftentimes a pile of shredded cabbage will come alongside the tonkatsu.
Oyakodon translates to “parent-and-child donburi.” Chicken, sliced onion, and eggs are simmered in a soy-based sauce to create an omelette-like dish that’s draped over a bed of rice.
Takoyaki is a popular Japanese snack. A piece of octopus is fried inside a wheat flour batter, then topped with bonito flakes, seaweed, mayonnaise, and tare (a thick, salty sauce).
Sukiyaki is served hot pot style. In a shallow iron pot, thinly sliced beef, vegetables, and noodles simmer in a sweet broth.
Shabu shabu is more of a savory hot pot than sukiyaki. Assorted meats and vegetables are cooked in a boiling broth.
Tamago kake gohan is a simple, yet comforting breakfast meal. Like many Japanese dishes, it uses raw egg, in this case mixed into a fresh, steaming bowl of rice and mixed with soy sauce.
Tatsuta-age is Japanese-style fried chicken. Coarsely chopped chicken thigh is brined in a soy sauce and ginger marinade, then dredged in potato starch and deep-fried.
Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup that consists of softened miso paste, diced tofu, seaweed, and scallions.
Omurice is a fluffy omelette that envelopes a bed of tangy fried rice. It is usually topped with ketchup, although some Western-style diners serve it with demi-glace or white sauce.
Yakitori is a Japanese cooking style that involves grilling skewers of meats and vegetables over a charcoal flame.
Udon is a thick wheat flour noodle that is served chilled in the summer and hot in the winter. The simplest form is called kake udon, which is mildly flavored with a dashi, soy sauce, and mirin broth.
Mochi is Japanese rice cake that is made of a short-grain glutinous rice. The rice is pounded into a sticky, chewy paste and shaped into spheres.
Ramen is one of Japan’s most well-known dishes — thin, curly noodles served in fatty chicken or pork broth. Sliced scallions, chashu (pork), and a soft boiled egg are common toppings.
Korokke are Japanese-style croquettes that are rolled in panko breadcrumbs and topped with a Worcestershire-based sauce. Common stuffings include kani (crab meat), and mashed potato.
Ikayaki is baked or grilled squid that is commonly found in izakayas (gastropubs), or at festivals in Japan. The body squid is brushed with a soy sauce glaze and sliced into rings.