|Eat & Drink
Akita - Hokkaido & Northern Honshu
Hakodate - Hokkaido & Northern Honshu
Hirosaki - Hokkaido & Northern Honshu
Kanazawa - Hokkaido & Northern Honshu
Otaru - Hokkaido & Northern Honshu
Sapporo - Hokkaido & Northern Honshu
Sendai - Hokkaido & Northern Honshu
Matsumoto - Central Honshu
Nagano - Central Honshu
Nagoya - Central Honshu
Takayama - Central Honshu
Tokyo - Central Honshu
Yokohama - Central Honshu
Hagi - Western Honshu & Shikoku
Hiroshima - Western Honshu & Shikoku
Kobe - Western Honshu & Shikoku
Kyoto - Western Honshu & Shikoku
Matsue - Western Honshu & Shikoku
Matsuyama - Western Honshu & Shikoku
Nara - Western Honshu & Shikoku
Osaka - Western Honshu & Shikoku
Beppu - Kyushu & the Southern Islands
Fukuoka - Kyushu & the Southern Islands
Kagoshima - Kyushu & the Southern Islands
Kumamoto - Kyushu & the Southern Islands
Miyazaki - Kyushu & the Southern Islands
Naha (Okinawa) - Kyushu & the Southern Islands
Nagasaki - Kyushu & the Southern Islands
Prices are approximate and are exclusive of drinks but inclusive of service. You may occasionally find that you will be refused
entry to certain restaurants. Such cases are rarely examples of discrimination, more a fear of not being able to cope with
Best Guest If invited to a meal in Japan, it is the host's job to order on your behalf, and in a restaurant it's easier and more respectful to allow the host to choose what you will eat. When the meal arrives, diners usually murmur the Japanese equivalent of bon appetit, which is itadakimasu. It means 'I will receive'.
Follow the Sign Types of restaurant can be distinguished by various signs. A shabu-shabu or sukiyaki restaurant will display a drawing of a cow, a fugu restaurant a dangling blowfish, and a yakitori , oden (a dish of tofu, seaweed, fish cakes and similar ingredients boiled in fish stock) or izakaya (similar to a Western pub) establishments a red lantern. Others will have curtains with the type of restaurant indicated in Japanese.
Tofu Tofu (soya bean curd) is not only nutritious but infinitely versatile - it can be boiled, fried, baked or eaten fresh. Tofu is made by soaking soya beans, extracting the 'milk' and then curdling it; it is sold on the day of production. The best tofu is said to come from Kyoto.
Cheers! The Japanese word for drinking each other's health is kanpai, the literal meaning of which is 'to an empty cup' or 'bottoms up'. An empty cup or glass signals to the host that you want more to drink. If you have had a surfeit, leave your glass full.
Foreign Options Korean (yakinuku-ya) restaurants are also popular throughout Japan. They feature marinated meat and vegetables which are grilled at the table and then dipped into a spicy sauce. The meat served is usually beef, which is either rousu (lean cut) or karubi (ribs).
Chopsticks Chopsticks are easier to manipulate than you might think. Hold the thick end of the sticks like a pen, with the lower stick resting in the cleft between thumb and finger and against the fourth finger. Hold the upper stick with the thumb and first two fingers. When picking up food, keep the lower stick still and manipulate the upper one.
Seasonings and Condiments Japanese cuisine uses surprisingly few seasonings, relying instead on the natural flavour, freshness and appearance of the ingredients. Apart from soy sauce (shoyu), the most common flavourings are: miso (fermented soy-bean paste), goma (toasted and crushed sesame seeds mixed with salt), mirin (sweet, fortified wine, similar to sherry); ginger root; toga-rashi (a blend of several spices, including pepper); and wasabi (hot horse-radish mustard).