Traveling to Japan is no small feat, but the good news is this: Many of the delicacies travelers would try overseas can be found right at home or made with a little time and patience. Regardless of how you get your Japanese food fix on, there are definitely some dishes that deserve a spot at the dinner table.

No true love for Japan is complete without trying the foods that this cuisine is known for and while Japanese food has a vast array of flavors and meals to choose from, no one should be without these staples. So whether you're planning a trip for the future or just looking to celebrate Japan's award-winning cuisine, here are some good places to start.



Going into Asian food with an open mind is the best possible thing to do because it is quite unlike anything else in the world. The seafood is unbelievably fresh and prepared in ways that make it shine and even the cooking methods are a work of art.

Unagi, for example, is grilled eel - a type of seafood that's rather common throughout Japan. This dish can be found often in high-end restaurants and is considered a delicacy, but it's so, so delicious. It's popular during the summer months because it's believed to aid in digestion as well.


Many who are familiar with Japanese anime and video games will have likely heard of this one. Onigiri is basically a rice ball, similar to how Italy has arancini.

However, Japan has quite a different take on these rice balls, as they're usually flavored with a savory filling salmon, pickled plum, and even kelp. These foods are eaten as snacks and can be found just about everywhere, from convenience stores to supermarkets, all in a wide assortment of flavors.


For a heartier meal, sukiyaki is to Japan what beef stew would be to the US. This dish also dates back to the 19th century, giving it some historical significance as well as cultural.

Commonly, various slices of beef, mushrooms, tofu, tomatoes, and green onions are found in this flavorful sukiyaki sauce. Since it's usually the job of the diners to grill their own meat and veggies, another option is to dip the freshly-grilled ingredients into a beaten egg.

Related: Can You Imagine Wearing These Crazy Outfits From Japan's Harajuku District?


Oden basically means ingredients simmered in some type of broth. Perhaps one of the oldest meals on this list, Oden has been eaten for centuries, with the earliest known date being around 1336.

There's a long list of things that can be dipped in this delicious broth with flavors of dashi, including mild veggies, tofu, and even fish. This can also be found in convenience stores but is widely popular during the winter months, as its another dish that will warm foodies from the inside out.

Related: You'll Want To Travel For These Delicious Japanese Desserts

Miso Soup

Most have heard of miso soup, but not many realize the health benefits behind the soup that's so popular at Japanese restaurants around the world. In Japan, travelers will find that this soup is sipped daily with breakfast and is a key part of starting the morning.

It's almost like a Japanese version of chicken noodle soup, in the sense that the latter is also believed to have beneficial health properties. Miso soup also ranges in style and flavor and will be seen in low-key, casual restaurants, as well as in high-end dining establishments.

Next: These Japanese Foods Look Nothing Like What They Serve In America