Popular Japanese Dishes You Should Try 

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Popular Japanese Dishes You Should Try 

Japanese food is a hit around the globe and quite similar to Chinese food dishes, but a lot more fish and seafood is involved.  Many of the favorites revolve around fresh slices of fish or sashimi, sushi rolls, nigiri and others that you will find on a Japanese sushi menu. 

However, some of the best Japanese foods are hot bowls of ramen or udon noodles, tempura dishes, or seaweed and warm, savory miso soup. Desserts are also quite tasty, from tiny little cakes to coconuts and creamy concoctions.

Most of the Japanese food list contains dishes that are very pleasing to the eye—most sushi and sashimi and desserts are very ornate and the chefs preparing them have dedication and artistic talent.

If you’re looking for Japanese food for dinner tonight, try something new or a common Japanese dinner dish; no matter what you’ll be pleased!

Common Japanese dishes are typically eaten on a large plate, and small bowls for rice and soups with a small ladle.  It is common to eat miso soups with a variety of lunch and dinner dishes, especially with sushi or sashimi.  Japanese dishes also contain lots of vegetables, whether you’re eating a meat or a noodle dish.

Common Japanese Foods List:

  • Sushi
  • Ramen
  • Soba
  • Udon
  • Mochi  
  • Miso 
  • Yakitori
  • Tempura
  • Okonomiyaki
  • Sashimi
  • Takoyaki
  • Dango
  • Tonkatsu
  • Kaiseki Ryori
  • Chanko nabe
  • Shabu shabu
  • Fugu
  • Unagi No Kabayaki
  • Yakisoba
  • Gyoza
  • Matcha

Common Japanese Foods are Incredibly Healthy

Most popular Japanese dishes are rich in omega-3s, iodine and other minerals.  Japanese foods are great to help fight heart disease and diabetes type 2, which is why those rates are very low in Japan and the life expectancy is much higher. 

Also, when your diet is composed of grains and lots of vegetables with a smaller amount of dairy, soy and fruit, your risk factors from having a stroke or a heart issue is significantly lowered.

The common Japanese dishes contain seaweed, fruits, vegetables, and fish is eaten often.  The cuisine also steers clear of processed foods as well as refined sugar—except for awesome, ornate Japanese dessert dishes! 

The traditional Japanese diet is low in calories, nutrient rich, high in saturated fats, antioxidants, flavonoids (quercetin), found in different colored vegetables.  These plant based nutrients help protect people from cancers also.

So, if you need to stick with a better diet, per your doctor’s orders—start ordering traditional Japanese foods for lunch or dinner today! 

Traditional Japanese Diet:

  • White sticky rice
  • Cooked and pickled vegetables
  • Fish
  • Meats 
  • Raw fish (Sushi and sashimi)
  • Pickled, fermented foods
  • Smoked foods
  • Soya beans (form of tofu; fresh edamame) 
  • Beans (Adzuki)
  • Natto

The Japanese fermented foods are incredible and have some very healthy choices if you have digestive problems.  Another soybean based product called Natto, is great for irritable bowel problems and contains a higher level of good bacteria or probiotics. 

This powerful food can also help thin the blood.  So, if you suffer from bowel conditions or are at risk of blood clots, Natto might be a great option for you in addition to your main meal.

Seaweed is something we should all consume!  In Japanese cuisine it is found in broths with noodles, miso soups, and sushi.  Kelp, most commonly referred to as seaweed is rich in a variety of minerals that are basically a super-food like avocados. 

Seaweed is very important to help balance the thyroid and is great for maintaining a healthy pulse and blood pressure level.

  • Seaweed
  • Fermented soybean product – Natto
  • Tangerines 
  • Persimmons
  • Fuji apples
  • Matcha (green tea powder)

The Benefits of Japanese Green Tea

Japanese dishes usually come with some kind of tea, typically green tea or matcha tea.  It contains a high antioxidant and is great to help combat viruses, and has also been linked to fighting cancer and heart conditions such as heart disease.

Speaking of Healthy Foods, you can’t get much healthier than sushi or sashimi or other raw fish and seaweed geared foods.

Cold Japanese Foods: Sashimi and Sushi and others

Here are some of the most delicious Japanese dishes you should try on your next visit.

  • Sushi – some raw fish, different vegetables, wrapped in seaweed and sticky rice
  • Sashimi – only pieces of sliced raw fish selections
  • Temaki – cone made of seaweed, raw fish and sticky rice inside
  • Gunkan – sushi made with dried seaweed inside; topped with roe, or sea urchin
  • Nigiri – raw fish selections sliced, placed onto stick rice ball

Sashimi can be in a variety of kinds. There is salmon, tuna, eel, octopus, jellyfish, cod, squid and a host more of creatures from the ocean.  They can be served with miso soup, rice, or ginger salads.  They usually come on a platter; slices of raw fish or sea creatures.

You can get sushi rolls, all rolls are based on what you want to eat and these are wrapped in seaweed, sometimes with roe (fish eggs), with rice and vegetables.  Usually the rolls are stuffed with cucumbers, avocados, zucchini, and sometimes carrots.

Grab a slice of sashimi or a sushi roll tonight for dinner with a pair of chopsticks!

Sauces for Cold Japanese Cuisine:

  • Soy sauce
  • Wasabi
  • Ginger
  • Yum Yum
  • And more…

Japanese Noodle Dishes are awesome!

  • Ramen Noodles (Wheat noodles served in a soy sauce or miso soup mix; other items in dish are: seaweed, pork, seafood, green onions, seaweed and egg) 
  • Udon Noodles (Wheat flour firm noodles; vegetables are also usually added)
  • Soba Noodles (Made from buckwheat flour; dishes filled with many fresh vegetables, fish or other meats, eggs, and can be expensive)
  • Mochi Noodles (Chewy and sticky and are filled with jam or red bean paste)
  • Yakisoba (Noodles that are fried; dish contains pork, cabbage and bean sprouts; topped up with soy, fish or Worcester sauce, pickled ginger, shredded nori, dried fish flakes)
  • Gyoza (Pan-fried Japanese dumplings) 
  • Japanese Soups:
  • Miso Soup (Authentic Japanese soup; can be for breakfast, or a side at lunch or dinner; a light distinct flavor made from a miso paste (fermented soybeans); dashi (fish stock); the bowls typically have pieces of tofu, onion, wakame seaweed, and sometimes vegetables: sweet potatoes, carrots, or radishes) 

If you don’t want raw fish, noodles, or miso soup (but you probably will) try out one of the other main types of Japanese cuisine for lunch or dinner. 

If you like fried foods, there are several options, if you want to stick with a pork or cabbage dish, many foods are stuffed with these.  Or, you can feast on rice balls or something completely off the wall— grilled octopus, or TakoYaki!

Best types of Japanese Main Dishes:

  • Tempura (Fried dish of seafood and vegetables; seasoned with a sauce made with soy sauce, ginger, sugar; served with Tetsuyu sauce: consommé, sweet sake, soy sauce, ginger, radish and spices)
  • Okonomiyaki (Savory pancake, traditionally prepared with leftovers. It contains several layers of ingredients, including batter, cabbage, noodles, eggs, onion, beef, shrimp, squid, vegetables, mocha, cheese) 
  • Yakitori (A grilled chicken skewer (pork, beef or fish also used) and served along with other meats and deliciously fresh tofu) 
  • TakoYaki (Grilled octopus; sticky sweet sauce on it; smells sweet and fishy)
  • Tonkatsu (Breaded pork in Japanese breadcrumbs, served with rice, miso soup and shredded cabbage)
  • Kaiseki Ryori (Several small dishes or vegetables, meats, rice, noodles; items served are based on the season) 
  • Shabushabu (Meat and vegetable meal boiled in a special Japanese stock) 
  • Unagi No Kabayaki (Eel which is coated in a special sauce and broiled over the charcoal; usually comes with rice, miso soup) 
  • Kare-Raisu (Curry sauced rice dish, mixed in with basic vegetables are onions, carrots and sweet potatoes; meats used: chicken, pork, beef, duck)
  • Shabu Shabu (Japanese hot pot dish; meats and seafood, mostly the softer kinds, and sides of vegetables, tofu and noodles)
  • Onigiri (Rice balls seasoned in a variety of ways; filled with chicken, vegetables, fish, pork, egg, and can be covered with a piece of seaweed)
  • Gyudon (Rice bowl with beef, several Japanese seasonings; inexpensive dish, great for lunch or dinner) 

End a Popular Japanese Dish with a Sweet treat!

Japanese food culture doesn’t usually involve many desserts.  Nonetheless it does involve some awesome, unique sugary creations!  And most are simply, delectable!  Sweet food items are usually made from fruit, nuts, anko (a sweet paste made from beans) and mocha, a sticky rice cake.  Most Japanese menus have sweets that are similar to Chinese foods like green tea or mochi ice cream.  

There are several dessert options that will be a great addition to your savory Japanese main course!   

  • Dorayaki (An anko paste in the middle of two pancakes; these are sponge-like) 
  • Sakura Mochi (Pink colored rice balls filled with anko paste and wrapped in a pickled cherry blossom or sakura leaf) 
  • Taiyaki (Pancake batter poured into a fish mold, filled with custard, chocolate, sweet potato; also can be filled with sausage, cheese; sometimes filled with ice cream or fruit) 
  • Anmitsu (Parfait made from agar-agar jelly; served with anko peas, fruits like peaches, pineapples, cherries) 
  • Daifuku (Made from mocha balls and stuffed with anko, covered in corn or potato starch; also filled strawberries, sweet cream, apricot jam, and other items) 
  • Dango (Rice balls covered in a sweet, sticky syrup)

Are you in the Mood for some Japanese Cuisine?

Try out a health and tasty noodle, veggies, or seafood dish with a traditional Japanese meal. Japanese cuisine has not only some of the healthiest foods, but these foods will make you a Japanese food fan for life!  There is something for everyone, even when you aren’t a raw fish fanatic!  

Common Japanese dinner dishes are loaded with sweet, salty and savory tasting sauces, filled with vegetables, and a variety of noodle choices—that will make you forget about the regular old spaghetti and meatballs!


  • Varga, Cory. “21 Delicious Japanese Foods you must try.” https://www.youcouldtravel.com/travel-blog/popular-japanese-food.
  • Ro. “15 Most Popular Foods You Have To Eat In Japan.”  https://triplelights.com/blog/most-popular-foods-have-e-1549.
  • Bagarino, Christine. “The 10 Best Traditional Japanese Foods and Dishes.” https://theculturetrip.com/asia/japan/articles/the-10-best-traditional-japanese-dishes/.
  • Joy, Alicia. “The Top Non Sushi Foods In Japan.” https://theculturetrip.com/asia/japan/articles/top-9-foods-in-japan-that-are-not-sushi/.
  • Cook, Kate. “6 Traditional Japanese Desserts You Need to Try in Japan.” https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/6-traditional-japanese-desserts.

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