Food & Travel

Sample Japan's hottest culinary and travel delights - tradisional foods and dishes including sushi, places to visit, activities, accomodations, and more.

Japanese Local Food Onigiri is in a Popularity Boom

Onigiri is a convenient, easily portable food enjoyed by the Japanese since long ago. The combination of rice, a staple of Japanese cuisine, with a variety of fillings not only enhances their deliciousness, but also makes for a visually appealing dish. Their popularity on social media has made onigiri popular not only among young people, but among people of all ages. Today we’ll be introducing onigiri, arguably the most well-known portable Japanese food, and one that has attracted significant attention outside of Japan in recent years too.

The Unique Appeal of Temples and Shrines

There are many ways to enjoy Japanese temples and shrines — you can stay there overnight instead of a hotel, enjoy the works of art on display, or even collect special goshuin stamps with a different design for each temple or shrine. Since the start of the 2010s, more and more temples and shrines have started capitalizing on the unique experiences that only they can offer and actively catering to tourists. This has helped people rediscover their appeal and turned them into popular travel destinations for young Japanese people. Let's take a look at some of the special experiences on offer at temples and shrines in Japan, and various ways you can enjoy their unique appeal.

Shaved Ice: A Treat Worth Waiting in Line For!

If there's one food you can't go without during the hot and steamy Japanese summer, it's kakigori — Japanese shaved ice. Blocks of ice are shaved into fine flakes using special machines, then topped with flavorings like strawberry or melon syrup, sweet matcha (strong green tea) sauce, sweetened beans, or condensed milk. A bowl of shaved ice in the sweltering summer sun is a treat loved by everyone, from kids to adults, so it's no wonder there are long lines for shaved ice stands at summer events like fireworks displays, and more and more eateries are adding it to their menu during summertime. Meanwhile, some people prefer to make shaved ice at home with their own ice shavers and syrups.

Japanese People Love Cherry Blossoms

Japanese people have always been very aware of seasonal changes in nature, and attach great importance to the changing of the seasons. Cherry trees grown specifically for their blossoms, called sakura in Japanese, herald the arrival of spring and have been a favorite for many years. Japan is an island country that stretches a long way from north to south, and so every year sakura blossoms begin to bloom in the warm south of the country first before working their way north. The progress of their blooming is reported on the news, and many visitors take trips to famous sakura viewing sites throughout the country during this time. People enjoy seeing the differences between the various types of sakura blossoms, but it's not just the flowers that are appreciated — people use the bark, leaves and petals in various ways throughout their daily lives as well.

Seaweed: The Edible Forests of the Ocean

With Japan being surrounded by ocean, it is hardly surprising that its food culture incorporates many different types of seaweed. For instance, Japanese sushi rolls (maki-zushi), which are famous the world over, are wrapped in sheets of dried laver seaweed called nori. Other types of seaweed that feature prominently in Japanese cooking are kombu, which is used to make a stock known as dashi; hijiki, which is usually cooked in soy sauce and mirin sweet rice wine; and wakame, which is a popular garnish for miso soup.

The Thousand-Year Legacy and Evolution of the “Six Ancient Kilns”

Japan is a pottery powerhouse, boasting an abundance of ceramic production sites all over the country. Among these, the six regions of Echizen, Seto, Tokoname, Shigaraki, Tamba, and Bizen—known as the "Six Ancient Kilns"—are said to have been active for more than 1000 years, and were registered as Japan Heritage sites in 2017. This spawned the Six Ancient Kilns Japan Heritage Promotion Council, which holds summits and works to strengthen ties between the six regions.

Shokupan Bread: Japan's Unique, High-End Take on a Staple Food

Bread first made its way to Japan in 1543. It's said that it was first brought over by the Portuguese, who also introduced guns to Japan around the same time. However, it was only quite a while later that Japanese people began to eat it on a daily basis. At the end of the 19th century, craftspeople who had come over from Britain (which was a supporter of Japan's Meiji government) began to bake loaves of bread in baking tins. In Japan, this type of bread is called shokupan.

Japanese Dishes Made from Soybeans

Soybeans are so rich in nutritional value, they are known as the “meat of the field” in Japan. Soybeans have been cultivated in Japan since ancient times. The many dishes made using soybeans as one of their ingredients have supported Japanese people’s diets since long ago. Soybean dishes are a familiar part of daily life in Japan, and are drawing attention recently among people with a strong awareness regarding health. For example, miso and soy sauce are particularly iconic seasonings from Japan, and tofu is another Japanese food that is used in a variety of dishes. Soybean dishes let you get good-quality protein at low calories, making them popular with people who want to lose weight, and with vegans who do not eat meat, fish, eggs, or other animal products. This article looks at some examples of soybean dishes in Japan.

Fugu Are Poisonous, But You Can Enjoy Their Great Taste Safely in Japan

Fugu, or puffer fish, are luxury fish that are used as ingredients in food eaten all year round in Japan. These fish are actually poisonous, and they can only be served at restaurants in Japan where a qualified fugu handler works. Because of this system managed in general by the Japanese government, you can rest assured as you eat fugu. This article describes the delicious taste, the safety measures, and the appeal of fugu, a type of fish that Japanese people love.

Japan’s Citrus Fruits Are Loved by Many for Their Refreshing Fragrance

Citrus fruits are one category of fruits that Japanese people love. Apart from eating the flesh of these fruits as they are, people use the refreshing flavor of their peels to give an accent to Japanese food. These fruits are used in a variety of areas in life apart from meals. For example, people put citrus fruits in their bath tubs instead of bath salts. This article looks at how Japanese people enjoy bringing citrus fruits into their lifestyles.

Fruit Sandwiches: A Form of Sandwich that Evolved in a Unique Way in Japan

Sandwiches are prepared by putting vegetables, meat, and many other ingredients in between two slices of bread. Sandwiches are well-known around the world, but did you know that they have evolved in a unique way in Japan? Among the varieties of sandwiches that originated in Japan, fruit sandwiches are very popular with young people because they are filled with juicy fruits and they look beautiful too. This article showcases some examples of fruit sandwiches, a type of sandwich that took a unique course of evolution in Japan.

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