Search by Area
Japanese Dining Etiquette
Polish your Japanese table manners with tutoring from experts.
Impress your friends with your knowledge and skills.
Kaiseki (course menu)
Okonomiyaki Kiji Shinagawa
Finding an excellent chef with tastes that match your own is essential to fully enjoying your dining experience in Japan. Why not compare the backgrounds and philosophies of many of Japan's finest chefs in interviews presented by Savor Japan.
On the menu
Dojo for summertime stamina.
Dojo (loaches) are small but highly nutritious fish eaten in Japan since the Edo era. While not commonly seen on family dinner tables any more, they can be found at restaurants specializing in dojo. Like eel, dojo are eaten as stamina food in the summer. But they have a lighter, more bitter flavor and are served whole, rather than cut open. We especially recommend trying them in Yanagawa-nabe (hot pot), but they are also delicious when deep fried or served as Namban-zuke (fried and marinated with sweet vinegar and peppers) for refreshment. Eaten with a cup of sake, they will make your day!
MADE IN JAPAN hamburgers.
Japanese love hamburgers just like everyone else. There are fast food chains and independent restaurants serving hamburgers throughout the country. And many offer original variations of hamburger found only in Japan. You can find expensive hamburgers made from Kobe or Hida brand beef, burgers topped with teriyaki (sweetened soy) sauce, burgers sandwiched between patties of rice and more. It's another great reason to visit Japan.
Ayu. Japan's sweet river fish.
When summer arrives, many Japanese go river fishing for ayu (sweetfish), which has a sweet, distinctive flavor and a refreshing, prized scent that earns the fish its kougyo (aromatic fish) nickname. Catching ayu is prohibited from November to May, as a measure to protect the species, but becomes legal from June when the skin and bones of waka-ayu (young ayu) are especially soft. Ayu breed in late autumn and their larvae are carried to sea to grow before returning to rivers in warmer weather. Why not follow Japanese tradition and kick off your summer with sweet and tasty ayu!
Aji. The popular Japanese fish whose name says it all.
Japanese horse mackerel (aji) is extremely popular year-round in Japan, but tastes best in spring and summer. Its name was derived from the Japanese word for taste (aji), reflecting its flavorful nature. Harvested in abundance along the coastlines of Japan, aji is nutritious, full of vitamin B1 and quite affordable except when purchased from prestigious fishing grounds and served as sushi. It can also be simmered in soy sauce, marinated in vinegar, grilled with salt (shio-yaki), dried (himono), or minced and mixed with miso paste in "fishermen's soul food" (namerou).
Japan's refreshing alternative to ginger. Myoga.
Myoga is a perennial herb native to Japan, China and South Korea. Refreshingly spicy and highly nutritious, it is closely related to ginger. But people eat the flavorful flower buds and stems, rather than the fibrous root. Seasonal in summer, myoga is typically pickled or thinly sliced and added to miso soup, noodles and salads. It can also be battered, fried and served as tempura. Myoga additionally offers anti-bacterial properties, improves blood circulation and aids hormone balance in women.
Japanese food glossary
Japanese enjoy foods in season.
Learn about the seasonality of Japanese ingredients.
More to Savor
- Try Premium Foreign & Wagyu Steak in Tokyo at These 13 Restaurants
- 11 Okinawa Restaurants to Taste The Region’s Unique Cuisine
- 12 Nagoya Restaurants Offering a Medley of Tasty Choices
- Tokyo Fireworks and Restaurants: A Sumptuous Summer Guide
- 7 of the Best Kanazawa Sushi Restaurants
- Japanese Currency/Credit cards
- Time difference/National Holidays
- Telephone/Internet access