5 Best Things to Do in Japan for Foodies
Foodie Bucket List in Japan: Best Japanese Food and Drink Experiences
Love eating?? Do you proudly call yourself a foodie?? If yes, Japan is one of the best countries to be. From traditional national dishes such as Sushi and Tempura to international cuisines like French cuisine fine dining and Italian pizza, all kinds of worldwide cuisines can be found in Japan today. Not only great dining experiences, but the country offers fun and unique food experiences such as cooking classes, and local food and drink spots.
Today, I have listed 5 best things to do in Japan which all foodies shouldn’t miss out! Let’s check the best food and drink experiences in Japan 🙂
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1. Bar Hopping
Bar hopping has become one of the most popular activities among tourists in Japan now, and many kinds of night bar hopping tours can be found. Normally, the tours take you to authentic Japanese style bar “Izakaya” and show you what the real drink culture is like in Japan. Some tours take you to hidden bars which only local would know.
Besides drinking, Izakaya is actually a great place to eat out as they usually serve authentic home-made style Japanese dishes which are very unique to foreigners for sure.
Here are some of recommended bar hopping/Izakaya tours in Tokyo (Shinjuku, Shibuya and Asakusa areas), Kyoto and Osaka.
2. Cooking Classes
Now that you know where to get best ingredients to create delicious Japanese food, how about making it by yourself rather than eating at restaurants?? You may think it’s quite a challenge to make Japanese dishes, but it’s actually so much easier than you think.
A wide variety of Japanese cooking classes are available today, not only the authentic dishes like Sushi and Tempura but also home-cooking dishes with vegan and halal options. Many Japanese dishes can be cooked with simple methods and common ingredients. Moreover, learning from local teachers are quite fun, as they may learn you more than just cooking but Japanese culture, travel tips and even becoming your friends sometimes.
You can check the recommended cooking classes available in Japan, today!
3. Visit Fine Dining/Michelin Starred Restaurants
If you are keen on tasting the world’s greatest food, Tokyo is the right place.
Did you know that Japan is home to the most Michelin starred restaurants in the world?? The capital city, Tokyo owns over 200 Michelin starred restaurants which is twice the number in Paris, France.
There are over 10 3-Michelin-starred restaurants and dozens of renowned fine dining restaurants in Tokyo including Sukiyabashi Jiro which is a Sushi restaurant owned by the famous Sushi master, Jiro Ono. His restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo is extremely hard to book, but some travel agencies arrange exclusive tours for tourists.
Sukiyabashi Jiro is pretty exclusive, and in case you think it’s too much to afford for a single dinner experience, I’d recommend you to go to the branch store of Sukiyabashi Jiro instead,which is run by his son.
If you are not a Sushi fan, you maybe wanna go for Tempura or Teppanyaki (Wagyu) restaurants which are also significant Japanese dishes.
If you wanna try something very authentic, try Kaiseki which is traditional multi-course Japanese meal.
4. Visit Local Markets
Don’t you wonder where the great food ingredients come from? Exploring local food markets are the best way to know the food cultures especially in different regions. There are several greatest fish markets in Japan including in Tokyo (Tsukiji Outer Market) , Kanazawa (Omicho Market) and quite a few food markets in Hokkaido where you can also enjoy eating dishes with freshly caught seafood products.
Also at large local markets such as Kuromon Market in Osaka and Nishiki Market in Kyoto, you are likely to find special and traditional local products that are only sold within the regions. Food cultures in Japan are very different in each regions, and it’s one of the most fascinating things when you visit countrysides.
For more info about regional food cultures, here is a recommended article to read!
▶ 5 Best Food Cities in Japan
5. Try Street food
From traditional sweets to instagram-worthy snacks, you can find a wide variety to street food in Japan. People generally enjoy snacking street food while sightseeing, and there is even a word for that. Tabearuki is a Japanese word made of a combination of two verbs: Taberu (eat) and Aruku (walk) and it means “eating while walking”.
Some areas are known for their tabearuki culture and street snacks that are totally handy to carry around. Harajuku is one of them, and it’s a paradise for colourful, photo-worthy and trendy street food such as crepes and rainbow cotton candy. Meanwhile, Tokyo’s historical capital, Asakusa is filled with traditional Japanese sweets and snacks sold around Sensoji Temple. In Western Japan, Osaka is definitely the king of street food with the streets lined with many stalls and shops selling handy snacks that are perfect for filling your appetite while enjoying the bustling streetscape.
Check out Tokyo’s best streets for foodies
▶ 5 Best Streets in Tokyo for Foodies
If you are a real foodie, I’d definitely recommend you to have all these experiences while travelling in Japan!