5 Famous Japanese Foods You Shouldn't Miss

Are you looking for a unique culinary experience? Look no further than Japan! Western Union (WU) has compiled a list of five traditional Japanese dishes that you should try for an unforgettable experience. From sushi to tempura, these dishes are sure to tantalize your taste buds and leave you wanting more.


Sushi is one of the most popular and renowned Japanese dishes around the world. It comes in a variety of forms and prices, from the entertaining kaiten-zushi (sushi on a conveyor belt) to the traditional and high-end Edomae sushi (Edo-style sushi).

Sushi is typically a plate of vinegar-pressed rice with a piece of raw fish or seafood, called netto, on top. It is usually eaten with soy sauce and wasabi, but those who don't like wasabi too much can order sabi-nuki (i.e., without wasabi). Sushi can be eaten with chopsticks or directly with your hand. However, when you dip the sushi in soy sauce, it is best to turn it over and apply the soy sauce to the net, instead of the rice itself.

This is to prevent the rice from absorbing too much soy sauce and erasing the original flavor of the net itself.


Similar to sushi but without rice, sashimi is raw fish cut into easy-to-eat pieces. The high quality of fish caught in all regions of Japan makes it an excellent choice no matter if you visit Tokyo, Kyoto, or anywhere else. Some of the most common and popular varieties are maguro and other varieties of tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sea bream. You can also try clams, uni or sea urchins and salmon roe.

Sashimi is usually eaten with soy sauce for flavor. You can also add a wasabi dot to the top of the sashimi to give it more warmth, but it's not necessary. Certain varieties, such as horse mackerel, will be served with ginger instead of wasabi.


Soba is a noodle dish made with buckwheat flour with water and flour, thinly spread and cut into noodles with a width of 1 cm to 2 cm. After boiling the noodles in hot water, they are eaten dipped in cold soup or by pouring hot soup on top.

Soba broth (tsuyu) is usually made with kombu or dry bonito broth, seasoned with soy sauce and mirin, and is crucial for enjoying a delicious soba experience. Soba is enjoyed hot or cold, making it an ideal dish all year round.


Udon is a unique dish known for its thick noodles, and is a very popular and traditional Japanese dish. The dough is made from flour and salt water, which is thoroughly kneaded and cut into noodles. After boiling the udon noodles in hot water, the udon is enjoyed in a seafood broth soup or by pouring soup and dressings such as tempura on top.

Like soba, you can savor udon hot or cold. There is no designated way to eat udon.


Tempura is a Japanese fried dish made mainly of seafood and vegetables. It is seasoned with a sauce made with soy sauce, ginger and sugar. Tempura can be prepared with almost any vegetable.

The size of the piece must be able to be eaten in one bite and, despite being fried, the tempura does not have a greasy texture. Tempura is usually served with Tetsuyu sauce, which is a blend of consommé, sweet sake, soy sauce, ginger, radish, and spices. These five famous Japanese dishes are just some of the many delicious options available in Japan! Whether you're looking for something light like sushi or something more filling like tempura or udon noodles, Japan has something for everyone! So why not take a culinary adventure today?.

Cornelius Grines
Cornelius Grines

Wannabe sushi junkie. Incurable social media guru. Professional travel practitioner. Incurable problem solver. Subtly charming coffee fanatic.

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