Washoku, traditional food in Japanese, is super fun to learn. Japanese cuisine is one of the most diverse and widely loved cuisines in the world. This cuisine has developed over centuries and you need to learn them before visiting Japan.

Food is an essential part of life. Learning Japanese food names will not only help you improve your food vocabulary but will also be beneficial for you to place your order at the restaurant effortlessly.

There are several Japanese learning websites that can help you to explore Japanese food names but we have collected some of the major food names in this guide. So let’s get started!

50 traditional Japanese food names

Here is the list of Japanese food names that you must try once you visit Japan:

  • Sushi
  • Okonomiyaki
  • Miso Soup
  • Yakitori
  • Udon
  • Soba
  • Takoyaki
  • Sukiyaki
  • Sashimi
  • Unagi
  • Tofu
  • Onigiri
  • Wagashi
  • Natto
  • Oden
  • Shabu Shabu
  • Tempura
  • Ramen
  • Tonkatsu
  • Kaiseki
  • Kappo Ryori
  • Shojin Ryori
  • Osechi Ryori
  • Zenzai / Oshiruko
  • Wagyu
  • Bento
  • Omurice
  • Kiritanpo
  • Mochi
  • Gyoza
  • Shogayaki
  • Fugu
  • Gyudon
  • Karaage
  • Oyakodon
  • Robatayaki
  • Shirasu / Shirasudon
  • Somen
  • Imagawayaki
  • Melonpan
  • Warabimochi
  • Tamagoyaki
  • Tsukemono
  • Yokan
  • Gyutan
  • Chankonabe
  • Anmitsu
  • Hiyashi chuka
  • Kushiage
  • Yatsuhashi

Now we will discuss some of the major ones on this list. If you want to learn Japanese fluently before planning your visit to Japan, you can learn Japanese on italki. You will learn several Japanese greetings ranging from casual to formal ones from highly experienced Japanese teachers. These teachers are mostly Japanese native speakers and you can make a choice from a long list of instructors based on your preferences.

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Now, let’s start with sushi, a mouth-watering Japanese cuisine.



Sushi is the national dish of Japan, and in that country, master chefs spend years honing their craft and going to lengths to produce the ideal (and typically very expensive) bite. It wasn’t always a craft for the elite.



The term “Japanese savory pancake,” or something similar, is frequently used by the Japanese to refer to this griddle-fried dish, but that doesn’t really describe it. An egg-and-flour batter is combined with cabbage and fried to make okonomiyaki.

In accordance with regional recipes and your personal preferences, additional ingredients can be added. Pork belly, kimchi, different vegetables, and typically a topping of dried bonito fish flakes, mayonnaise, and unique okonomiyaki sauce are some of these.

Miso Soup

Miso soup

This thin soup is offered for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Miso is a salty paste made from fermented soybeans and rice koji that is added to dashi stock to make miso soup. Miso comes in dozens of regional varieties and four main categories: white miso, red miso, blended, and barley. Each of these categories makes a unique soup.


It is believed that China brought these substantial wheat-flour noodles to Japan around 800 years ago. Today, udon is a filling and affordable lunch option that is typically boiled before being served with a basic broth.

These are the only two ingredients in Kake udon, and while it may seem simple, it can be a filling meal on its own. Udon shops typically offer a wide variety of toppings, including raw eggs, tempura bits, and spring onions, if you want something with a little more bite.


This dish is without a doubt among the oldest on the list; it is believed to have originated in China more than 6000 years ago. However, it was only during the Edo era that buckwheat noodles became widely accepted in Japan. It was discovered that eating soba could prevent nutritional deficiencies because it is significantly more wholesome and nutrient-dense than many other noodle varieties.


With raw beef, noodles, and vegetables cooked at your table in a boiling broth made of soy sauce, sugar, and a type of rice wine for cooking called mirin, this Japanese hot pot dish is ideal for social dining. After cooking, the thin beef strips are typically dipped in a raw, beaten egg.


If you fall into the misconception that sushi and sashimi are the same things know that sashimi is essentially sushi with no rice. In upscale set-course meals or as an appetizer at izakaya gastropubs, you can typically find it as a dish.


Due to the abundance of eels in the rivers and streams, unagi became a cheap and popular dish among the people of Japan starting in the early 17th century. Japan’s insatiable appetite for this delicious fish, which is typically eaten grilled and covered with sweet and salty tare sauce, can be blamed for its current status as a delicacy.

Unagi has long been consumed on the Day of the Ox as a cure for midsummer fatigue and as an aphrodisiac for men because it is said to give energy and vitality.


These rice balls, which are the Japanese equivalent of a sandwich and are available on the shelves of every convenience store, have saved many a starving salaryman. They are by far the most practical option for a quick meal.

When laborers and fishermen carried pressed rice balls around in their packs 2000 years ago, this was the case. Onigiri originated in its current form during the Edo era when edible seaweed wrapping was first used. Typically, you’ll find pickled plums, pickled fish fillings, or more contemporary ingredients like teriyaki chicken inside.


The crowning achievements of Japanese food culture are these traditional sweets. The term “wagashi” encompasses a huge variety of regional, seasonal, and everyday traditional Japanese sweets.

These sweets developed into elaborate confections made to accompany the traditional matcha green tea ceremonies of the Edo period after beginning as very simple creations of mochi rice cakes (a sticky dough made from steamed and crushed rice) that were filled with nuts in antiquity.


This well-known winter comfort food had its beginnings as a stewed tofu dish during the Muromachi era. These days, fish cakes, potatoes, boiled eggs, daikon radish, and other assorted vegetables are added to the bone-warming oden broth.

Several hours of simmering are typically required to fully flavor the ingredients. Typically, dried bonito (skipjack tuna) flakes and dried kombu make up the rich-yet-mild broth.

Shabu Shabu

This dish, created in 1952 at an Osaka restaurant, is by far the most contemporary on the list. You’d be excused if you thought it was sukiyaki. After all, both recipes call for cooking vegetables and thinly sliced beef in a hot pot.

However, there are a few significant variations. Shabu-shabu is prepared in a larger, deeper pot with a tastier, milder broth. In a shabu-shabu hot pot, the meat is frequently only partially cooked, and raw egg isn’t used as a dipping sauce.


One of the staples of Japanese cuisine, tempura is made up of fish and vegetable pieces that are deep-fried after being covered in a thin egg and flour batter. Portuguese traders who were allowed to trade with Japan in the 1500s are actually the ones who brought the method there.

In fact, the word tempora, which is associated with the Christian fasting weeks of Lent, is even the source of the name. It gained popularity quickly in Japan, where Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of Edo, made it his favorite dish.


Ramen’s basic ingredients are soup stock, flavorings, seasonings, wheat noodles, and garnishes (usually fatty pork and vegetables such as bamboo shoots). However, there is a great deal of room for interpretation within this straightforward formula.

You can buy instant ramen packets in supermarkets all over the world, but if you’re serious about trying this dish, visit one of the more than 10,000 small restaurants in Japan that prepare it with fresh noodles, hearty broths (the most common types are miso, salt, soy, and tonkotsu), and copious amounts of toppings.

These were some of the traditional Japanese food names that you can learn before visiting Japan. If you are confused with any of the Japanese words or their pronunciation you can seek guidance from online resources. There are several apps to learn Japanese. You can assess any of your favorite apps online to improve your Japanese vocabulary or pronunciation.

You can also make flashcards of different Japanese food names that you can take with you whenever you went out to eat in Japan.

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