Ramen and sushi are the most iconic foods of Japan. They are the face of Japanese cuisine, so to speak, and the first food that visitors of Japan try once they land. But did you know there are lots of alternate restaurants that you can visit other than Sushi-ya and Ramen-ya (restaurants specializing in sushi and ramen)? If you want to taste all that Japan has to offer while gaining a well-rounded experience, you should definitely try some of the other types of specialized cuisine restaurants in Japan. Here are six alternate styles of restaurants to try.
Okonomiyaki is a dish that, if you mention Osaka, the Japanese person that you are talking to will ask “Have you tried okonomiyaki?” This is a dish of Osaka (but there is also a Hiroshima version featuring pan-fried noodles). Okonomi means “as you like,” so it’s literally a savory pancake made however you like it. Many of the okonomiyaki-ya are styled so that the customers cook the savory pancake at their own convenience. It’s topped with cabbage, okonomiyaki sauce, mayo, seaweed (aonori), and bonito flakes. It’s like takoyaki, but with some fried noodles for those who try it Hiroshima style.
2.Soba-ya an Udon-ya
If you can’t get enough of the noodles, the Soba-ya and Udon-ya are good alternatives to Ramen-ya. As you can guess by the name. Soba-ya and Udon-ya specialize in soba noodle dishes and udon noodle dishes. Soba is a thin noodle typically made from buckwheat flour. These noodles are usually served hot and in a broth but can also be served chilled and with dipping sauce. This style of soba is called zaru soba and it’s popular during summer months. Udon is a thick noodle which is great with カレー (kare) or curry. That brings us to the next option.
Kare-ya specializes in delicious curry rice and tends to be a popular style of restaurant among children and adults alike. Curry is usually made by mixing curry powder, flour, and oil along with other ingredients. Then it is added to stewed meat and/or vegetables and poured on top of rice. A popular kare-ya is Coco’s Curry. It can be found pretty much everywhere in Japan. Curry first appeared on Japanese menus as early as 1877 and has grown to be a dish that many people love almost as much as what Japanese people describe as the “soul food” of Japan–gyuudon.
Gyuudon one of many kinds of 丼ぶり (donburi) or rice bowls that exist in Japan. Gyuu (牛) simply means cow or beef, so gyuudon, as you may have guessed, is a beef bowl and it is absolutely delicious. There are three major gyuudon-ya that reign supreme over the gyuudon-ya market and those are Yoshinoya, Matsuya (松屋), and Sukiya (すき家). Foreigners aren’t sure if it’s the deliciousness of the cheese gyuudon or if it’s actually just the jingle brainwashing you, but Sukiya is very easy to miss once you’ve left the restaurant. You’ll surely be back for another bowl…or two.
For those who’d rather not eat meat and are more of a pescatarian but also want something other than sushi or sashimi, unagidon-ya is a great option. If you guessed that it is another donburi, then you guessed right, but before you go googling what kind of fish unagi is, let’s first establish that even though the face (and thought) of this fish isn’t appetizing at all, it is actually quite delicious. Unagi is freshwater eel. It’s regarded as luxury food or is otherwise a bit on the expensive side but, it’s definitely something you should try at least once.
The most expensive of the restaurants is the teppanyaki-style restaurant. That is because in the teppanyaki-ya category, falls the expensive but incredibly delicious Kobe Beef (which actually does melt in your mouth, by the way). Typically, customers will sit at a bar-style table surrounding a grill where the chef prepares the meat according to customer preference. The really cool ones will do fancy tricks to entertain guests. Premium beef known as wagyu is expensive, likely because there aren’t many cows in Japan. The really good stuff is rare to come by, but when you do, it’s an experience to remember.
There are plenty of other types of restaurants in Japan, some of them including sukiyaki-ya, shabu shabu-ya, and tempura-ya. It’s encouraged to look around and explore everything including the various types of restaurants in Japan and the food that they offer. Perhaps you will find a new favorite go-to food or something to switch up the pace for a little while. You’ll never know until you try. But one thing’s for sure, it starts with branching out to something totally new. So take the time to explore some of the different types of Japanese restaurants and see what pleases your palette.
Authentic Kaiseki Japanese Restaurant in Shibuya - Kappou Sa...
For true lovers of the exquisite elegance that is Japanese culture, a traditional kaiseki meal is an experience that should not be passed up. Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese course meal, wherein each dish is an art piece made with the finest ingredients. Each dish is to be experienced with all five of your senses—the exquisite taste, the delectable aroma, the elegant appearance, the texture of the ingredients, and even the sounds of the preparation. While many may think that traditional Japanese culture can only be found in Kyoto, there are still traces to be found even in modern day...
Japanese Ice Cream: The Top 5 to Try!
Do you like ice cream? Many people love it, especially in the hot days of summer. It cools us down and cheers us up. In Japan, the total sales of ice creams for 2017 year was more than five hundred billion yen. There are various kinds of ice creams in Japan as well, and this article will introduce five must-try ice creams you should try in summer if you come to Japan. 1. Yukimi-Daifuku This is at the top of the recommendations list because it is one of the most unique ice creams in Japan. `Yukimi` means to enjoy a snow scenery, and...
Some Unusual Japanese Foods That Are Actually Good for You
Japan has the lowest obesity in the world and I believe the secret for that is in the food. A traditional Japanese diet is well balanced; they eat more fish than red meat, also plenty of fermented foods and vegetables. The Japanese diet is low in calories but also extremely nutritious. Even though all of these foods below are often called “weird” by most internationals and expats in Japan, they are super healthy and worth a try. 1. Natto Natto has been known by Japanese as a healthy food for more than 1000 years. Natto is fermented steamed soybeans mixed...
Best Bars for Foreigners in Sendai
Introduction It’s Friday night. You’re walking through the streets of Sendai, Japan. You‘ve just finished up another long day of sightseeing (or working, if you live there… or studying if you’re a student…) You could really use a break to unwind from the day so you call up your friends for a night out. Then they ask the obvious question: “Where should we go?” Before you start to fret trying to remember the names of your boss’s favorite bars and izakayas, and importantly, wondering which have the best service towards foreigners, read this! Here is a quick list of all...
Best Bars for Foreigners in Osaka
After having spent a day touring and sightseeing around various cities in Japan, there is no better way of ending the day than laying on your back as you sip a cold beer or two. If you happen to be a foreigner who is traveling around Osaka, one of the popular cities of Japan, you would surely be visiting a lot of sightseeing attractions. From the famed Osaka castle to the Dotonbori district, the city of Osaka would surely have you tired at the end of the day. For foreigners who want to spend the rest of the evening relaxing...
Izakaya Hopping in Kichijoji Harmonica Alley
Kichijoji has long been a famous tourist destination in Tokyo. Up until recently, Kichijoji has been ranked as the #1 most desirable place to live by Japanese and foreigners alike, and has a reputation for being a lovely and enjoyable place to live as well as visit. In the heart of Kichijoji, located less then minutes away from Kichijoji station’s bustling north exit, is the Harmonica Alley. Harmonica Alley (also known as “Harmonica Yokocho”), was originally a post-war black market; it now boosts over one-hundred bars, shops, and izakayas which are packed into it’s narrow streets. It continues to be...