Food is an important part of a country’s culture. The types of food and how they are cooked and eaten tells us a lot about people. Traditional food is also passed down to future generations. It gives people a sense of identity and pride to have this symbol of their ethnicity.
One can’t truly understand a country and its people without learning about their food. When visiting Japan, for instance, you can learn about the country’s history, values, beliefs, and lifestyle by studying what the Japanese eat and how they prepare their food. If you want to understand their amazing cuisine, then you need to try these unique food experiences when you visit Japan.
Before food is cooked, one needs to prepare the ingredients first and these can be sourced fresh at the market. There are numerous morning and night market tours in Japan and one of the most popular ones is the Tsukiji Fish Market Tour.
Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest fish market in the world, features not only food vendors but restaurants and cookware stores as well. Touring the seafood stalls with a local expert will let you discover marine creatures you’ve never seen before and help you learn how to choose the freshest ingredients too.
The best sushi in the world can only be found in Japan. But don’t just stop at eating them. Learn sushi making as well! There are a lot of sushi making classes in the country taught by no less than authentic sushi masters. Aside from teaching you recipes, they can also teach you the entire process from choosing the proper ingredients to making that perfect roll.
Japanese Tea Ceremony
Tea is a popular beverage in a lot of Asian countries. In Japan, however, preparing and drinking tea is a beautiful and carefully practiced ritual in the spirit of omotenashi (hospitality). You can experience the Japanese Tea Ceremony at a workshop in Ju-an in Kyoto, a place built specifically for performing this ancient tradition for visitors.
If you’re not in the mood for tea and prefer something alcoholic instead, then try sake tasting in Osaka. Sake, a rice-based alcoholic beverage, has been a part of Japanese culture for a long time and is often served during various occasions, such as weddings, other religious ceremonies and even for nights out with friends. Sake tasting will enable you to try and appreciate different brands and flavors.
Izakaya and Tachinomiya
One of the best ways to understand a culture is to rub elbows with the locals and you can do that by visiting an izakaya or a tachinomiya. An izakaya is like a pub wherein people go for both the food and the drinks. Here, you will be able to try a variety of different Japanese dishes. If drinking is more of your thing though, then a tachinomiya or stand bar would be the best place to go for reasonably priced drinks and bar food.
Bento Box Making
A bento is a take-out or home packed meal that is popular in Japan. They are packed in compartmentalized lunch boxes and traditionally contain rice or noodles, vegetables and fruit. You can learn not only which types of food to include in a bento box but also the different tools and techniques to make it look fun, beautiful, and appetizing.
Private Dining with a Geisha
You’ll know a geisha when you see one with their elaborate hairstyles, painted white faces and red lips. Geishas, also known as geiko or geigi, are Japanese female entertainers who serve as hostesses during banquets, meals, and other events. They are trained in various arts, such as dances, classical music, games, and conversation to make guests feel welcome and at ease.
Your trip to Kyoto, the birthplace of geisha culture, will not be complete without immersing yourself in a private dining experience with the geishas. You can dine in either a Japanese restaurant or tea house and choose to be accompanied by either an apprentice geisha, called a maiko, or a fully-trained geisha, known as a geiko.
Food does not just nourish one’s body. It can also be considered food for the soul. Feed your soul by immersing yourself in any of these unique Japanese food adventures and have a one-of-a-kind experience you will never forget.