Amazing Dishes To Try When Visiting Japan

I absolutely love the thought of visiting Japan – the bright, flashing lights of Tokyo, the quirky ambience of it all, and of course, the mouth-watering food. I can’t get enough of sushi, so I can definitely say that Japanese food would be a huge factor for me visiting this one-of-a-kind country, if I ever do. (Which, I’m sure I will someday). However, Japanese food isn’t actually all about sushi at all. In fact, Japanese cuisine offers a wide range of amazing dishes that are sure to tantalise even the fussiest of tastebuds. So whether you’re familiar with Japanese food, or if you’re just curious to learn about it, I’m going to list the primary dishes you absolutely must try Japanese dishes, when you are taking a holiday, coming for work or visiting Japan.

Must Try Japanese Dishes in Japan


Pronounced ‘su-kee-yah-kee’, Sukiyaki is essentially meat and vegetables stewed together in an iron pot. It’s then mixed with a delicious sauce made from soy sauce and sugar, known as warishita. Top-quality beef is always used in this delicious dish, and in some regions of Japan, a beaten egg is mixed into the sauce to create a milder flavour.

must try Japanese dishes: Sukiyaki
Sukiyaki: Photo saeru / CC BY-SA 2.0


Popular all over the world, ramen is a traditional Japanese dish which is basically just noodle soup. The dish is available in a range of flavours, with pork, beef and seafood often being mixed into the noodles. It’s cheap, cheerful and filling, and it’s always readily available in Japan.

must try Japanese dishes: Ramen
Ramen: Photo by JamiePark_kr / CC BY 2.0


Okay, so my mouth is watering just looking at this dish, and is definitely one of the must try Japanese dishes. Tonkatsu is based on Western pork cutlets, which are dipped in beaten egg batter and flour, coated in breadcrumbs, and then fried in oil. You can choose from either sirloin or fillet tonkatsu, but the fillet tends to be more pricey.

must try Japanese dishes: Tonkatsu
Tonkatsu: Photo Chris Chen / CC BY-ND 2.0


There are many specialist yakitori restaurants in every Japanese city, and this is one dish definitely worth trying out. Yakitori is essentially chicken on a skewer that’s been seasoned with soy sauce and barbecued. Skewered pork is also available which is known as ‘yakiton‘, and looks equally as delicious.

must try Japanese dishes: Yakitori
Yakitori: Photo by Michael Stout / CC BY-SA 2.0


It’s a bit difficult to pronounce, but just to make it a tad easier, it’s important to remember that pork is ‘buta’ in Japanese and ginger is ‘shoga’. In this dish, the pork is sliced very thinly and seasoned with soy sauce and Japanese rice wine (sake), giving the pork a unique flavour. This is a typical Japanese dish that’s found in almost every restaurant.

must try Japanese dishes: Buta-no-shogayaki
Buta-no-shogayaki: Photo by Charles Haynes / CC BY-SA 2.0

About Lauren Davidson

Since 2013, Lauren has been writing for various travel and lifestyle websites. Her first piece of writing was a travel guide on the Algarve region of Portugal, where she lived for over a year. Currently residing in Sheffield, England, she is studying Journalism and has a blog at You can follow her on Twitter at @Lozikinz.

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    Love Sukiyaki! Like the Aussie BBQ, this is the go-to-dish that the men readily cook – my homestay dad was the Sukiyaki master!


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