Japan is known for its exquisite architecture, fascinating history, and distinct culture. Around the world, it is especially known for its sophisticated and varied cuisine. To the first time traveler, some Japanese dishes may seem alien, but do yourself a favor and try as many of these dishes as you can.

You will be amazed by the range of flavors and options for both sweet and savory treats, at all points along the budget spectrum. Some of the tastiest items are even available on the street from the ubiquitous food truck!

If this is your first visit and you are wondering what to eat in Japan, here is a list of some of the most delicious items that you simply must try.

1. Ramen

Ramen is widely popular not only in Japan but all over the world! It is simple, delicious, filling, and inexpensive. It’s basically a noodle soup, with an infinite variety of available toppings including seaweed, meat, eggs, and vegetables.

You can find ramen all over Tokyo, from small crowded booths to the most expensive Michelin restaurants.

2. Sushi

Sushi is another popular export, but you haven’t tried sushi if you haven’t tried it in Japan. While you can certainly spend a huge amount of money at some of the country’s top restaurants for rare – and sometimes dangerous– sushi, you can also find the yummiest cuts of raw fish at local fish markets.

If you go to a conveyor belt restaurant, you can simply choose with dishes look appealing as they go by.

3. Tempura

You can get anything fried in the tempura style, from all kinds of meat and fish to every vegetable under the sun. The chefs dip all kinds of items into a batter and then deep fry it in a way that makes everything light, crunchy, and delicious.

You can even find such exotic examples as sea urchin or maple leaf tempura!

4. Mochi

There are so many things to do in Japan, but dessert is one that you absolutely must not miss. There are as many sweet selections to finish off your meal as there are salty and spicy ones to begin it with.

Mochi is a chewy Japanese rice cake that is traditionally made by pounding rice. It comes in a wide range of flavors, from cherry blossom (made with red bean paste) to chocolate and black sesame to green tea.

Mochi ice cream is also a special delight.

5. Onigiri

A great snack or meal on the go, onigiri are flavored rice balls wrapped in seaweed. They come filled with everything from tuna fish to pickled plum.

6. Kakigori

This is the classic Japanese shaved ice treat, made with just ice, syrup and, often, condensed milk. It has a long history, as it was first consumed in the 11th century by Japanese nobles.

It may remind you of cotton candy! It comes in a rainbow of colors and flavors like matcha, melon, and mango.

7. Kobe Beef

If you want to splurge on the quintessential Japanese luxury, try this form of steak from the Osaka region of Japan. Kobe beef will cost you a pretty penny,  but its high quality and perfect marbling make it worth it.

What to Eat in Japan? Everything! 

If you are worried about what to eat in Japan,  don’t worry. There is something in this beautiful country for everyone, from vegans to carnivores and from rare fish connoisseurs to those with a sweet tooth.

Enjoy, and don’t forget to say “Itadakimasu!” 

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