The beauty of Japanese cuisine is in its wide variety of ingredients and cooking methods. The various ways of preparing the many different categories of ingredients combine to create healthy, nutritionally well-balanced meals. Here is an introduction to some of the principal categories of Japanese cuisine. Once the characteristics of each category are understood, Japanese cooking can be more fun and healthier.


Yoshoku / Seiyo Ryori

Western cuisine modified in Japan for Japanese

Western dishes adapted to Japanese tastes are called "yoshoku" or "seiyo ryori." Yoshoku has become one of the categories of Japanese cuisine.

During the Meiji era (1868–1912), after a long period of isolation, Western culture was introduced and, throughout Japan, the number of restaurants serving Western dishes increased. Many of the local restaurants, known as "yoshoku-ya," customized the Western dishes to their own liking and these dishes have become regulars in Japanese family-style cooking.

Some examples of yoshoku dishes are "omuretsu" (omelet), "omu-rice"(omelet filled with rice), "hayashi-rice" (hashed beef stew with rice), "curry-rice" (curried rice), "korokke" (croquettes), "ebi-fry" (deep-fried breaded shrimp), "hamburg" (hamburger patties), "spaghetti," and "gratin." Basically, yoshoku dishes are savory, use lots of butter, milk and meat, and are often seasoned with Worcester sauce and/or tomato ketchup.

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Pork Fillet Cutlet

204kcal / per person

It is said that this dish originated in a western restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo, during the Meiji era (1868–1912). Based on a western dish, it was uniquely developed in Japan and is well known as a Japanese food.

Beef Curry

567kcal / per person

Curry originates from India and was introduced to Japan via Britain. It has developed independently and is served with rice in Japan. It is one of Japan's most popular dishes.

Spaghetti Napolitan

337kcal / per person

Spaghetti Napolitan is a Japanese invention. It is a pasta dish with onion, small green bell pepper, ham, wiener or bacon, seasoned with tomato ketchup. Sprinkle with grated cheese or Tabasco to serve. It is one of the popular snacks in coffee shops.

Macaroni Gratin

442kcal / per person

Béchamel sauce is called white sauce in Japan. The typical gratin is prepared with this white sauce. Vegetables such as onion and potato, as well as macaroni and chicken, are broiled in the sauce topped with cheese. It is one of the popular family dishes.


531kcal / per person

Omu-rice is stir fried rice and other ingredients seasoned with ketchup and wrapped with an omelet. Serve with ketchup over the top. It is a dish served at coffee shops, restaurants and home. Omu-rice can be in a lunch box for small children.

Ebi Fry

231kcal / per person

Ebi fry is a breaded and deep-fried prawn. It is served with tartar sauce or Worcestershire sauce. It is a familiar dish at home as well in restaurants.

Chicken Cream Stew

272kcal / per person

Cream stew is prepared by cooking meat and vegetables in béchamel sauce. It is also called white stew.


100kcal / per person

Yakitori is usually bite-sized chicken skewered, dipped in sauce and broiled.


254kcal / per person

Add onion and ground meat to boiled potato, form into oval shapes, dredge with batter and deep fry. It is a family-meal dish as well as a must-have item at meat shops and delicatessens.

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