Famous foods in Japan, and best places to eat them

Japan connects both the traditional and ultra-modern with bustling cities alongside beautiful natural landscapes. Japan has a gigantic variety of food – each prefecture is proud of its own cuisine, desserts and produce. When you are here, you will see appetizing food everywhere but you can’t be sure if it is actually good or not.

It might not be difficult to find delectable sushi in Tokyo, but where would you go for the best okonomiyaki pancakes, takoyaki, or udon noodles? Therefore, we have listed five famous foods of Japan and the best places where you can try these mouthwatering dishes.

Takoyaki in Nishiki Market, Kyoto

Takoyaki is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made from a wheat flour-based batter and filled with various ingredients, such as octopus green onion, pickled ginger, and pieces of tempura. These are smeared with takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise, then sprinkled with drink skipjack tuna flakes. These were invented in Osaka but you can find them pretty much everywhere in Japan, though the best ones are probably served in Kyoto’s Nishiki Market – cheap and absolutely delicious.

Okonomiyaki Pancakes, Hiroshima

Sure, we all love pancakes, but have you ever tasted savory pancakes? Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake of Japan, particularly popular in Kansai region and Hiroshima. Hiroshima has more okonomiyaki restaurants per capita than any other region in the country. Okonomimura (literally Okonomi Village), in the center of downtown Hiroshima, is a four-floor labyrinth of over 25 okonomiyaki restaurants, each with its own variation of the food. The snack is very graphical, with a pizza-size lattice of mayonnaise and tangy sauce blending.

Sushi at Hamacho Zushi in Nozawa Onsen

Sushi is pretty much available everywhere in Japan, but you must try it at Hamacho Zushi – a sushi restaurant in Nozawa Onsen, Nagano Prefecture. It is famous for its astonishingly delicious sushi, made with local rice grown in the clean water and fresh ingredients sourced from local fish market. Additionally, they also offer sashimi platters and grilled fish. The fresh, plump salmon and tuna are beautifully presented and of perfect quality, taste and texture.  

Kobe Beef, Kobe City

Kobe is probably the most famous beef in the world, and is a prized Japanese delicacy. It is always tender, flavorful and marbled with fat. It is definitely a must-have dish while visiting the city.  You can enjoy Kobe beef in shabu shabu – a soup filled with boiled meat, sukiyaki – Japanese hot pot, or teppanyaki – where the chef grills the meat in front of the guests.

Sushi Tokami in Ginza, Tokyo

Ginza has the best sushi places in Tokyo, Sushi Tokami is probably the best among all. It is located in a tiny basement with 10 seats in total, but offers three different delicious cuts of the prized fish: the shoyu-marinated red lean meat, the creamier medium-fatty flesh, and the rare tossaki from the base of the fish’s head. Moreover, the place has a delightful tamagoyaki (egg cake) that has a crackly caramelized top akin to crème brûlée.