8 Must Try Foods in Japan – A Travel Comic

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must try food Japan travel comic


I LOVE Japanese Food. If I had to eat only one food for the rest of my life, it would be sushi. On my latest trip to Japan, I made it a point to try every single type of food that I came into contact with. I literally ate everything! From sashimi to sushi, ramen and gyoza, I ate until I was about to explode, and then I ate some more!

These are my 8 Must Try Foods in Japan

(P.S. My bunny Cornelius didn’t actually go with us to Japan, but I like to draw him in my comics so he feels like he was part of the fun!)

Decisions, decisions….what to eat first !?? ^_^

1. Sushi & Sashimi (すし, 寿司, 鮨)

Tokyo has the best sushi and sashimi restaurants, and every sushi is treated like a little piece of art. Made with raw seafood, vinegared rice and rolled up in toasted nori seaweed, good sushi depends on basically two things – how fresh the ingredients are and the knife skills of the chef making it.

You can find the tastiest sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. Follow the crowd if you get lost, and try to get there early so you can see the action! Watch as fisherman bring in fresh fish as you wander through the market stalls, then pop into one of the many sushi and sashimi restaurants around the corner. In some restaurants they even prepare it right there in front of you!  There is a wide variety of sushi to try in Japan, so make sure you try out as many restaurants as possible and get eating!

P.S. Don’t be afraid of the crowds, it is totally worth the wait.

must try foods japan

food to try in Japan

2. Yakiniku (焼き肉 or 焼肉)

Yakiniku or “grilled meat” is Japan’s version of a barbecue. Bite sized slices of meat(mainly beef) and vegetables are cooked right in the middle of the table on a charcoal or electric grill. Drawing influences from Korean dishes, Yakiniku became widespread after the Second World War and can be found everywhere in Japan. The price of yakiniku depends on the quality of the meat, but you can get really great discounts at the All-You-Can-Eat buffet hour at the more high-class yakiniku restaurants and stuff yourself silly!

3. Tempura (天ぷら or 天麩羅)

Tempura is seafood, fresh vegetables or other ingredients dipped in flour and egg batter and then fried into yummy goodness! My favourite type of tempura is fresh brought to the table, something you can find at any specialist Tempura restaurant in Japan.

Originating from Portugal, the Japanese have perfected the art of deep frying and mastered this dish of deep-fried tastiness!


4. Ramen (ラーメン, らーめん, 拉麺)

It’s no wonder books, blogs and even movies are dedicated to this delicious dish of noodles! Ramen is a staple food in Japan and can literally be found anywhere and everywhere, from high class restaurants to fast food joints. Shoyu Ramen is the most common type of Ramen and is clear, brown broth flavoured noodle soup with soy sauce (shoyu).Originally made with chicken bones, now pork, beef and seafood are being used in creating a diverse range of ramen flavours.

Make sure you head to Yoroiya Ramen in Asakusa, Tokyo where ramen was invented. While we were there a little old Japanese man shared his gyoza and slurping tips with me, a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life! Get directions here.

5. Udon (うどん)

Udon noodles are thick white noodles made of wheat flour and best served fresh.  They are thicker than both Soba and Ramen noodles, and also heaps chewier. There are so many different types of udon noodles and variations, you can eat them hot, cold, topped with fried tempura and more!

You can enjoy udon noodles at one of the many standing udon noodle restaurants, but remember, slurping while eating noodles in Japan is mandatory!


6. Gyoza (餃子)

Orginally from China, gyoza or Japanese potstickers, have become extremely popular in Japan and can be found everywhere! Gyoza are typically deep fried in a pan and dipped in a sauce made of soy sauce, chilli oil or other ingredients. Gyoza is super cheap and great as a snack if you need something to tide you over before dinner. Nom nom nom, gyoza!

7. Taiyaki (鯛焼き)

These delicious Taiyaki aka fish cakes might be in the shape of a fish, but they certainly don’t taste like one! Made from using pancake batter and filled with a sweet red bean paste made from azuki beans, these little cakes are absolutely to die for. Other common fillings are chocolate, cheese, custard and sweet potato. YUM.


8. Japanese treats

 Japan has heaps of different yummy snacks and treats that you simply cannot find anywhere else! When planning your trip to Japan, make sure you try some of its famous confectionaries that are cheap and delicious. We had quite a few nights where we bought all sorts of fun treats like fish crisps, pocky sticks, grilled eel and seaweed snacks for dinner.

One of the best things about being in Japan is all of the amazing foods to try that you won’t be able to find anywhere else but Japan, so make sure and try them all!


Let’s Eat!

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There are heaps more dishes in Japan that you can eat!

Check out the rest of my trip in Japan in my post an Illustrated Journey through Japan.

Ready to book your flight to Japan? Click here for cheap flight info! 

8 must try foods in Japan - a travel comic

What were your favourite foods to eat in Japan? Am I missing one that you think should be included in this list?

Feel free to comment and share below! 



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