5 Must-Try Japanese Food for Japan First-Timer

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Japan offers a broad variety of traditional and seasonal dishes. Each region has its own unique and wonderful cuisine. But too many choices of great foods can overwhelm you, so we have listed affordable Japanese deliciousness you can find everywhere. Here are 5 Japanese foods you can’t miss on your first trip to Japan.

1. Onigiri


Photograph: Photo AC

Onigiri is a combination of a ball of rice with different kind of fillings. There is a great variation of Onigiri filling such as Umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum), Okaka (Bonito flakes with soy sauce), Tuna Mayonnaise, Sha-ke (salted Salmon) and many other fillings. Most Onigiri first-timers choose Tuna Mayonnaise for their first Onigiri experience. Onigiri is great for budget travelers, it cost around 100 to 300 yen and available at convenience stores or supermarkets.

2. Karaage


Karaage is Japanese style of crispy fried chicken made from boneless chicken seasoned with salt, garlic, and a few different spices. Depending on the regions it comes from, Karaage has many names and served in different styles. This Japanese fried chicken can be eaten as a snack or as a side dish with rice. Grab a cup of hot Karaage at the street stall for around 300 yen, this portion enough to temporarily fill your empty stomach.

3. Taiyaki


Taiyaki is a fish-shaped cake where the cake dough tastes a bit salty mixed with sweet red beans filling. The texture of Taiyaki is crispy outside and soft inside. Now Taiyaki is served in many kinds of fillings like pumpkin, sweet potato, cheese, chocolate or even ice cream. The classic or the new one, any kind of Taiyaki is our favorite.


4. Takoyaki

Osaka’s most popular street food, it’s a combination of flour, egg and octopus slices served with sauce, and sprinkled with Aonori (green laver) and Katsuobushi (Bonito flakes). You can find Takoyaki stands in every corner of the city. A portion of Takoyaki (6-10 pieces) will cost about 500 yen. There are some restaurants where you can cook your own Takoyaki.

5. Bento Box

Bento Box

Bento or lunch box is a part of Japanese food culture, many Japanese students and workers bring Bento for their lunch. The lunch box is packed with rice and Japanese delicious seasonal dishes consists of vegetables, meat or fish and pickled vegetables. Available at every supermarket and convenience store, Bento will cost you around 500 yen to 1,000 yen. And if you’re in a tight budget for dinner, go to the supermarket before closing time, because you can get ready-made foods like Bento and side dishes for half price.

And for the traveler who’s going to take long train rides, make sure to grab Ekiben (literally means “Station Bento”) with you. Ekiben is popular among local and foreign travelers because of a wide variety of choices. At a major train station, there are more than a hundred Ekibens that you can choose. Ekiben price ranges from 700 to 1,500 yen or more. Take Ekiben as an essential part of your adventure.