7 Japanese Dishes You Have To Try On Your First Visit To Japan

If you’re a first-time visitor in Japan, prepare for a gastronomic journey. Japanese food is renowned worldwide and found everywhere across the globe, but nothing beats the real thing. Make sure you try the most famous, mouthwatering Japanese fare, starting with these several dishes.



Sushi and Sashimi

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Sushi and sashimi are two of Japan’s most iconic dishes, so both are definitely a must-try for any first-time visitor to the country. Many mix the two up, but basically sashimi is sliced raw meat, while sushi actually refers to vinegared rice sometimes mixed with various ingredients, usually including raw fish and nori. When they’re prepared correctly and the meat is fresh, there are few dishes more bursting with flavor than sashimi and sushi.

Most of the best Japanese restaurants serve sushi and sashimi, but specialty restaurants are recommended for your first mouthwatering taste of authentic Japanese food. best Japanese restaurants for sushi and sashimi are the following: Sushi Yoshitake (Tokyo), Nishiazabu Sushi Shin (Tokyo), among others.  




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Ramen is a soup broth of different varieties served with wheat noodles, commonly combined with thin pork slices, green onions, and egg. Each restaurant typically has their own take on ramen, but the dish is known for being tasty, filling, and relatively inexpensive.

Other famous types of noodles that are famous in Japan are udon and soba. One of the recommended Japanese restaurants for ramen includes Ippudo (Tokyo), Rokurinsha (Tokyo), among others. 

Go on a ramen tasting tour with KKday.




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Okonomiyaki is basically a savory pancake that’s also likened to pizza due to the endless variety of ingredients that can be added to the mix, such as egg, octopus, squid, and more. It’s usually topped by sweet okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, and a generous sprinkling of dried seaweed flakes. This dish is said to have originated in the Kansai region, particularly in Osaka. You could visit Mizuno (Osaka) and Asakusa Somerato (Tokyo) to get a taste of the okonomiyaki. 




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Grilled meat or yakiniku is always a pleasure to eat and the Japanese does it really well. In most yakiniku restaurants, guests order from a huge selection of meats and vegetables, then grill their orders on a hot plate or grill in the middle of the table. The result isn’t just mouthwatering meat that’s fresh off the grill, but also a fun experience, especially to first-time travelers to Japan. 

Try premium and authentic yakiniku at Ittogai Yakiniku Gen Restaurant in Asakusa, Tokyo with this KKday offer. Other Japanese restaurants for yakiniku are Yamano (Tokyo) and Kushiyaki Bistro Fukumimi (Tokyo).




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Also known as nigiri or omusubi, onigiri is a popular Japanese snack that’s a triangle-shaped flavored rice ball wrapped in nori. There are various types of filling, like tuna, salmon, and bonito flakes. It’s a quick meal-on-the-go that’s very inexpensive and often found in many convenience stores. Japanese restaurants (or shops) serving onigiri are Bongo (Tokyo), Onigiri Asakusa (Tokyo), among others.    




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Omurice is an omelet, rice, and chicken combination that’s slathered with ketchup. It’s an extremely satisfying dish that’s ideal at any time of the day. While most versions feature a spiced chicken filling, more and more chefs are experimenting with other ingredients, including beef and vegetables. Japanese restaurants for omurice: Kichi Kichi (Kyoto) and Rengatei (Tokyo).




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If you’re visiting Japan in the wintertime, there’s no warmer or more comforting Japanese food to indulge in than nabe or hotpot. It consists of a pot of hot broth with various ingredients added to it, such as noodles, vegetables, and meat. Two popular forms of nabe that many foreigners know are shabu shabu and sukiyaki. Japanese restaurants for nabe: Le Monde Fukushima (Osaka) and Nabe-zo (Tokyo, Kanagawa, and Saitama)



Get a crash course on Japanese cuisine with a KKday half-day walking tour of Tsukiji Market and Asakusa



*Featured image sourced from Pixabay