Traditional Japanese Food

Fuel Your Fitness

For anybody who wishes to remain in optimum health, then both diet and exercise are of equal importance. It is well known that Japanese food is very healthy, and one area of Japan is known as a Blue Zone. The residents there are renowned for living to over 100 years old. However, creating your own Japanese dishes can be somewhat challenging, and it is worthwhile going to a restaurant instead to get the full nutritional benefits.

Find Time to Eat Out

If you lead a busy lifestyle, then finding time for exercise and eating out could be problematic. One solution is to wear gym clothing from aim’n for your workout. Their designs are so modern and stylish, they would not look out of place when eating out. The range of gym clothing at Aim’n includes pretty tights that would look great under a long, flowing top. Why not consider a shimmering snakeskin or a cute belted option?

Deciding what to eat at the Japanese restaurant may leave you on unfamiliar ground, but rest assured fresh fish is always a reliable option. The food is light and tasty, ideal for a post-workout snack to replenish your energy levels. Don’t be scared of trying something new such as sushi or edamame beans. Your comfortable gym clothing by aim’n will keep you both relaxed and looking stylish.

From Bento to Bench Press

Japanese food also includes Bento boxes which typically consist of a container divided into different sections. Lots of small snacks will keep you satisfied and ready to take on the world after your gruelling bench press session! Overall, there is no reason to stop you from combining your exercise regime with eating healthy Japanese food. Take time to explore all the delights of this new cuisine, it could be your new favourite!

External Influences on Traditional Japanese Cuisine

Japanese are among the few remaining nations that still cling to their traditional dietary traditions. However, as far as the names might be similar, it is also worth noting that things have been changing drastically in the kitchen. In its current form, even the celebrated sushi is different from what it used to be in the past.

It is always advisable to put out any preconceived notions about Japanese cuisine as long as traditional cousins go. Some nations or external influences have left a mark on Japanese dietary traditions over the years.


Many of Japan’s culinary traditions borrow heavily from China. Key among these is rice, which was introduced in Japan by the Chinese about the 8th century. It is also believed that the Chinese also introduced soybeans, which were served to Buddhist monks in the 11th century. Soy sauce, in particular, is one of those Chinese inventions that the Japanese have perfected.


The Portuguese had left an indelible mark on Japanese cuisine. For instance, tempura, one of the most popular Japanese foods, has its origins in the Portuguese world. It was only after the Portuguese arrived when Japanese started taking this food. Other foods introduced to Japan by the Portuguese include: castilla, a yellowish cake, konpeito, candies; karumera, simply caramels. Of all the foods left, Tempura is regarded as the “greatest Portuguese legacy on Japanese cuisine.”

Besides national influences, it is hard to ignore the impact of religion on Japanese food. The Japanese mostly susbscribe to two beliefs: Buddhism and Shinto. These two religions hold purity, simplicity, and naturalness in high regard. And undoubtedly, these values are also manifested in Japanese dietary choices.

The History Behind Popular Japanese Foods

It is not a surprise that Japanese foods are popular all over the world. Japanese foods are produced from nutritious and mouth-watering ingredients, not to mention its remarkable presentation also makes Japanese cuisine highly prized. Did you know that Japanese food features in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list? Indeed, it does.

Tokyo has the most restaurants of any other city in the world, for all the good reasons. Tourists fill Tokyo’s eateries to experience some of Japan’s dishes. Here are some fascinating facts about the history of Japan’s popular dishes.


Sushi is believed to have been first prepared somewhere between the fifth and third centuries BC. The original form of sushi was known as the narezsushi, created out of necessity when farmers working along the rivers sought ways of preserving the fish they caught. Part of the preservation meant that the fish could ferment in the process, making it tastier. While sushi remains a staple in Japan, there have been significant variations of the sushi concept.


This mainstream Japanese food is believed to have been introduced in Japan in the 16th century. Originally from Portugal, this dish is considered classic Japanese food of vegetables, seafood, and vegetables. The Japanese quickly adopted the cooking style and later changed it to suit Japanese tastes, creating something unique in the process.


Ramen is almost like a religion in Japan and is seen as an international icon of Japanese culture. Chinese immigrants introduced this food to Japan in the late 19th century, and how it became a favourite in Japan remains a mystery. With tourists flocking Japanese eateries to enjoy the Ramen, some museums have dedicated themselves to covering this yummy dish’s history.

Miso Soup

It is believed that more than 75% of Japanese take miso soup at least once every day. This food was first introduced to Japan by Chinese monks over a century ago in the form of a dish known as the hishio. This food was particularly popular in the 12th century when the Samurai warrior embraced it for its energy-giving properties. Its nutritional properties and the simplicity of preparation explain why it has consistently featured in Japanese tables ever since. For starters, once you try it, you might not be able to live without it.

Key Components of Traditional Japanese Food

The Japanese have remained fairly consistent in their approach towards life. Besides respect and diligence, the Japanese are known to be very mindful of what they eat. It comes as no surprise that they still observe their traditional dietary habits to date.

Notably, the traditional Japanese meal slightly differs from most meals served in the west and some parts of Europe. For instance, a typical American four-course meal could have an appetizer, salad, main course, and a dessert served separately. In a typical Japanese home, all the food is presented at once. That said, here are some food items that constantly feature in Japanese food.


Rice is probably the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they hear about Japanese food. Japanese prefer having rice steamed. Steamed white rice is locally known as hakumai, whereas genmai is the Japanese name for its brown counterpart. With rice being a staple to many, it is not a surprise that there are numerous seasoned rice dishes.

Nori or Furikake

Steamed rice is always enjoyed with some seasoned seaweed (nori). Some people prefer having a special rice seasoning known as furikake, specially made from dried vegetables, seaweeds, sesame seeds, bonito flakes, or sesame seeds.


Besides rice and the special seasoning, every Japanese meal is usually accompanied by a bowl of soup. There are different types of Japanese soup, the most common ones being the miso shiru and sumashi jiru. Miso Shiru is a miso-based soup, whereas sumashi jiru is made from seafood, vegetables, and proteins.


When it comes to proteins, any Japanese meal is highly likely to have an assortment of seafood. Japan’s proximity to the sea largely informs their centuries-old tradition of having seafood. Over the years, protein-based dishes like the kamaboko (fish cake) and the sakana no netsuke (simmered fish) have been a common feature in any Japanese meal.


Besides proteins, vegetables have always dominated Japanese cuisine. In most instances, Japanese vegetables are served simmered in dashi broth, sauteed, or steamed. The traditional favourite yaki nasu made from the Japanese eggplant garnished with ginger, green onion, bonito flakes, and some soy sauce remains a natural favourite.


Japanese will always serve pickles alongside any meal, locally known as tsukemono. Pickle’s popularity in Japan is believed to have been inspired by the spread of Buddhism, which saw many people turn to vegetarian diets. Pickles are also a decent vegetable option in the dry season where there is insufficient fresh produce.

Most tourists visiting Japan are often left in awe after sampling Japanese food. Whether at a restaurant or a typical Japanese home, the authenticity of traditional Japanese food is impossible to ignore.