Cookbook:Cuisine of Japan

Cookbook | Ingredients | Cuisines | East Asian cuisines



Rice (ご飯 gohan) Short-grain white rice.

  • Onigiri (お握り onigiri) also called omusubi (お結び)
  • Sushi (寿司 sushi)
  • Sashimi (刺身 sashimi)
  • Donburi (丼物 Donburimono) Rice bowl dishes.
    • Oyako Don
    • Katsu Don
    • Ten Don
    • Gyu Don

Noodles (麺 men)

  • Soba (蕎麦・そば soba) Japanese (buckwheat) noodles.
  • Udon (饂飩・うどん udon) Japanese (thick) noodles in soup.
    • Kitsune Udon - This is named after a Japanese fox deity. It contains fried tofu.
    • Tanuki Udon - This is named after the Japanese raccoon dog. It might be the same as Kitsune Udon, or alternately be topped with tenkasu (scraps of fried tempura batter).
    • Tsukimi Udon - Tsukimi means "moon-viewing". This is udon with soup, served hot with any number of toppings or no toppings, and either a raw or poached egg in the center of the bowl.
  • Ramen (拉麺・ラーメン ramen) Chinese-style (thin) noodles in soup.
  • Somen Thin white wheat noodles, served in a chilled broth, or with a chilled dipping sauce.
  • Yakisoba - Japanese style Stir-fried noodles.

Soup (汁物 shirumono)

Bento (お弁当 obentô) Box lunches.

Sweets & Dessert (お菓子 okashi)

Simmered dishes (煮物 nimono)

  • Niku Jaga (肉じゃが nikujaga, meaning 'meat and potatoes').
  • Furofuki Daikon (ふろふき大根 furofukidaikon) Simmered radish with miso sauce.

Grilled dishes (焼き物 yakimono)

  • Yakinasu (焼きなす yaknasu) Grilled eggplant.
  • Buri no Teriyaki (ぶりの照り焼き burinoteriyaki) Grilled amberjack (sometimes called yellowtail) with teriyaki sauce.
  • Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き okonomiyaki) A savory pancake made of eggy batter, shredded cabbage, and toppings of the diner's choice.
  • Dashimakitamago (だし巻き卵 dashimakitamago) Rolled Omelet.
  • Negima beef and scallion rolls
  • Buta-niku no Shouga-yaki Pork with a ginger sauce. May be cooked in a skillet or grilled.

Deep-fried dishes (揚げ物 agemono)

Steamed dishes (蒸し物 mushimono)

One-pot dishes (鍋物 nabemono)

Vegetable dishes (野菜 yasai)

New Year Special Dishes (おせち料理 osechiryori)

Japanized versions of other cuisines

About Japanese food


The word Gohan (御飯) means rice but because rice is the staple diet of the Japanese, it also means meal and applies to all food.



A typical Japanese meal consists of:

  • Rice
  • Main dish (fish or meat)
  • Side dish (cooked vegetables)
  • Soup (usually Miso soup)
  • Pickled vegetables



Before eating, Japanese put their hands together as if in prayer and say Itadakimasu (頂きます). This is a polite phrase meaning "I receive (this food with thanks)".

After eating, both hands are put together as before and Gochisousama deshita (御馳走様でした) is said. This is another polite phrase meaning "That was a feast".



When eating a traditional Japanese meal, the usual order is as follows:

  • Take a bite from the main dish or side dish.
  • Eat a bit of rice.
  • Drink some soup straight from your soup bowl (no spoons are used).

This order is then repeated.

  • Leave some rice remaining in your bowl.
  • Eat the pickled vegetables.
  • Don't leave any rice in your bowl; this is considered wasteful and impolite.

Vegetarians and Japanese Food


On the surface, Japanese food might seem very friendly for vegetarians. Indeed, its extensive use of vegetables clearly makes it quite healthy. However, fish is an important ingredient in almost all Japanese dishes, even when it's not immediately apparent. Japanese cooking employs dried fish products shaved on the top of many foods, but most problematic for vegetarians is dashi, a broth made of dried bonito fish that is used extensively through the cuisine. This stock appears in many foods that would otherwise appear vegetarian, such as miso soup. Although miso is made of a fermented soybean paste, it is traditionally added to a dashi base, and it's almost impossible to find miso soup at a restaurant in Japan that does not contain dashi. Similarly, other foods such as tamago-zushi (egg custard sushi), which many ovo-vegetarians would enjoy, also generally contains dashi broth.

History of Japanese Cuisine and Cookbooks


Ancient times

  • Asuka period
  • Shotoku Taishi

Nara cooking


Heian cooking

  • Kojiki (God of Iwakamutsukari no Mikoto in Takabe Shrine)[1]

Kamakura cooking


Muromachi cooking


Edo cooking


Meiji cooking


Localized foreign meals



  • Ishige, Naomichi, "The History and Culture of Japanese Food," Columbia University Press, 2001