Best Non-Sushi Dishes in Japan

Japanese cuisine has a lot more to offer than sliced raw fish to the rest of the globe. With its moderate temperature and plentiful rainfall, this island nation is able to raise most of its own food, resulting in delectable and distinct Japanese dishes. The following is a list of the best non-Sushi dishes in Japan.


Okonomiyaki are huge, savory pancakes baked on a flat grill or griddle. Traditionally, cabbage or other solid vegetables make up the bulk of the batter but you may alternatively request a thinner version and can add anything you like with it. At an okonomiyaki restaurant, clients prepare the dish to their preference immediately at the table, okonomi means ‘what you want’.


Izakaya Fare

Izakaya (Japanese bars) are a terrific spot to enjoy a real flavor of Japan. Here you may order a selection of classic Japanese cuisine including yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) and grilled salmon, to modern favorites like bacon-wrapped Enoki mushrooms and stew. Best of all, you may wash it down with a bottle of sake or beer from the local brewers. Dishes and quantities are modest, so come prepared to order enough, sit around for a long and take up the ambiance.

Warm welcome: Rump of beef steak served with Dijon mustard and dried fig at La Tepparnya, a friendly restaurant in Osaka’s Juso neighborhood. | JJ O’DONOGHUE


Takoyaki are battered and cooked octopus pieces, which are another grilled favorite (yaki meaning ‘grilled’). These are typical street foods that are frequently offered at festivals in big amounts designed to be shared and eaten with toothpicks rather than chopsticks. Osaka is well-known for having some of Japan’s greatest takoyaki.

Credit: Pixabay


Unagi is Japanese for ‘eel.’ Unagi is often grilled, drizzled with sauce, and served over a bed of rice (unagi-don), and is regarded as a delicacy. A full, sit-down dinner at an unagi restaurant might be pricey, but an unagi bento or boxed lunch set from the same restaurant is an equally tasty, less expensive choice.

Eel stone bowl rice, by Joy Yee’s Noodle of Naperville, IL.


Dango are skewered sticky rice dumplings, commonly known as mochi. They are incredibly labor-intensive when produced by hand and were originally only prepared on rare occasions such as New Year’s. However, you can now buy commercially manufactured dango at most convenience stores or from street sellers on festival days. Dango can be grilled with a savory or somewhat sweet flavor.

They are widely seen in Japanese pop culture, notably the eye-catching, tri-colored hanami dango, which is a spring icon in Japan. Dessert dango, as a classic Eastern food, are not as sweet as many people think.

Dango – Credit: Wikipedia

Rāmen (MY Best Non-Sushi Dishes)

Imported from China, rāmen is soft, fresh noodles cooked in a meat-based broth and topped with veggies and pork. Spring onions, narrow slices of pork and soft-boiled eggs are a typical addition. It’s frequently served with both chopsticks and a Chinese-styled soup spoon so that guests may drink the broth while they eat without raising the bowl. Udon is comparable to rāmen, only udon noodles are significantly thicker and the broth is much lighter.

Ramen – Credit: Wikipedia


Soba are skinny noodles produced from buckwheat, making them heartier, chewier and some would argue healthier than their wheat-based counterparts. In the summer, it’s popular to have your soba chilled with a dipping sauce, rather than in a steaming hot soup, this is called zaru soba. You’ll find fantastic soba eateries in the Asakusa neighborhood of Tokyo.

Soba – Credit: Wikipedia

Tonkatsu (MY Best Non-Sushi Dishes)

Tonkatsu are breaded and deep-fried pork cutlets, commonly served as part of a set meal with soup, pickles, rice and other sides. You’ll find tonkatsu everywhere, from restaurants specializing on the cuisine to grocery store bentos to shokudō. Shokudō are frequent and affordable eateries and they’re generally the ones displaying plastic representations of their meals out front. They’re located in and near malls, tourist locations and train stations.

Tonkatsu – Credit: Flickr


Kaiseki is Japanese gourmet cuisine. Kaiseki meals are a feast for the senses, served in private chambers of ryōtei, upmarket Japanese restaurants, and can cost over ¥10,000 per person. Before you decide to indulge, remember that many kaiseki restaurants give a sample of their food in the shape of a bento during lunch hours.

Kaiseki – Credit: Wikipedia

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