19 Interesting Japanese Food Facts

Japan is known for its unique and delicious cuisine, combining traditional and modern elements. Here are some interesting Japanese food facts that highlight the diversity and cultural significance of Japanese food. 

Facts About Japanese Food 

1. Food Preservation Was the Original Purpose of Sushi 

The original sushi of Japan, narezushi, originated in China. It was made of fermented rice and salted fish when it was first brought to Japan in the eighth century. To inhibit the development of germs and other microbes and to keep it fresher for longer, it was combined with rice vinegar and sake and placed beneath a huge stone. 

2. Geographical and Regional Influences on Japanese Cuisine 

The island country of Japan has a diverse terrain, climate, and historical influences. Unique cooking methods and styles come from this. For instance, northern islands like Hokkaido have chilly seas and hard winters. The Kansai area is known for its variety of tofu dishes, takoyaki, and funazushi (pickled carp). 

3. Meat Consumption Was Prohibited 

Buddhist customs have a significant impact on Japanese dishes and food. Eating meat other than shellfish was almost unknown in Japan since Buddhism forbade slaughtering animals for nourishment. When Japan began interacting with Western nations, they adopted Western customs, including eating meat. 

4. The Nation of Japan Invented Fortune Cookies 

The majority of us connect Chinese culture with fortune cookies. Contrary to common assumption, this cracker wasn’t made in China. Tsujiura senbei, also known as “fortune crackers,” were produced and sold in select Kyoto confectionery stores as early as the 1870s. Instead of going into the hollow part of the cookie, the slip of paper got jammed into the curve. 

5. Chopstick Use 

You should not stick your chopsticks into your food while eating a meal. Instead of vertically, you may leave them on a bowl or use the chopstick rest. Avoid licking them or putting your chopstick in your mouth if food is sticking to it. Instead, use a napkin to wipe it down. 

6. Ramen Was Invented in China 

Ramen is a famous Japanese noodle soup. However, it has Chinese origins, just as most noodle meals do. 

The first ramen store was established in Asukasa in 1910. It used Japanese-style soup and Cantonese chefs from Yokohama’s Chinatown to create ramen that complimented the tastes of the Japanese people. 

7. Japanese Cuisine Recognised by the UN for Its Cultural Value  

The preservation of this manner of eating is essential to the survival of the traditional culture, according to UNESCO, the cultural arm of the United Nations. It inscribed conventional Japanese food, or washoku, to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list. 

8. Sushi Was Often Eaten with Yakumi 

The Japanese word for condiments is yakumi. This translates to “medicinal flavour.” Wasabi, pickled ginger, shiso, and myoga are typical yakumi served with sushi and sashimi. Before refrigeration was established, these condiments were used to improve the taste of the meal and clean it. 

9. Bento Boxes Served as Portable Lunch Containers 

Japanese farmers, hunters, and warriors reportedly packed their lunches in bags or boxes in the fifth century to make them portable while working outdoors. Typically, the boxes include separate sections for various foods like rice, fish, and veggies. 

Over time, bento boxes’ components and designs changed. In the 1980s, along with microwaves and convenience shops, these lunch boxes had a resurgence in popularity. 

10. Unique Method of Pouring Sake 

As a thank-you for coming, restaurants often pour sake into a saucer till it overflows. The brimming glass represents plenty and appreciation. 

11. Pillars of Japanese Cuisine 

Traditional Japanese food is known as washoku in Japanese. It exhibits balance, harmony, and naturalness, much like Korean food. In Japan, eating is as much about enjoyment as sustaining oneself. 

Most Japanese dishes appear like works of art because the Japanese like to eat with their eyes first. This states that meals should have all five primary colours: red, green, yellow, black, and white. Additionally, they should also satisfy all five senses. 

Japanese cuisine is also renowned for its simplicity, foregoing complicated ingredient combinations in favour of straightforward cooking methods that bring out the tastes of the products’ inherent components. 

12. Sashimi Is Not Sushi 

Sushi and sashimi are not the same, despite the fact that both are common Japanese cuisine and are sometimes mentioned together on menus. Sashimi isn’t really regarded as a kind of sushi. 

Sashimi is thinly cut, fresh, raw fish or meat often consumed with soy sauce. It is offered without rice. 

13. Perfect Fruits 

Fruits are often given as gifts in Japan. But not just any fruit, just perfect fruits. Tokyo’s Sembikiya is a high-end shop that offers flawless fruits. The labour-intensive procedure used to cultivate them ensures that these fruits are of the highest quality. Additionally, they cost a fortune and are incomparably perfect in size and form. 

14. The Seafood Sector Is Enormous 

The fishing and import of seafood is a massive sector in Japan since it makes up a significant portion of the national diet. The biggest wholesale seafood marketplace in the world is Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. It sells more than 700,000 tonnes of fish annually.  

15. Eating Poisonous Fish 

Tetrodotoxin is one of the most potent poisons in the world. It is found in fugu, a Japanese pufferfish. To remove the potentially lethal organs, fugu chefs need a license. Despite the dangers, Japan consumes over 10,000 tonnes of fugu each year. The fish is a winter delicacy. 

16. Limitless Noodles 

In the Iwate prefecture, a particular kind of soba known as “wanko soba” is consumed. Your host will keep refilling your bowl until you put a lid on top. The limitless bowl of ramen noodles demonstrates a welcoming attitude.  

17. Paying at a Japanese Restaurant 

Instead of handing the waiter your payment when dinner is over, put it on a tiny tray. When giving or receiving money from Japanese people, use both hands if there isn’t a tray available. 

18. In the late 1920s, food models were popular in Japan 

The Japanese people developed a fantastic method to assist customers in choosing their meals in advance at crowded restaurants before food photography became popular. Japanese craftsmen and candle manufacturers created food models from paraffin wax in the late 1920s. They were known as shokuhin sampuru. The samples resembled genuine Japanese dishes and were produced specifically for each restaurant. 

19. Tokyo is home to some of the world’s top restaurants 

Tokyo boasts more three-star restaurants than any other city, even more than Paris. 


Japanese food culture is also known for its emphasis on presentation and aesthetics. The dishes are carefully arranged and garnished to make them look as beautiful as they taste. This reflects the Japanese culture, which values harmony and balance in all aspects of life, including food.  

We are sure that after reading all these Japanese food facts and Japanese food culture facts, you may be interested in trying out some authentic Japanese cuisine. Enjoy unique Japanese dishes and food in Melbourne by visiting Caroline Springs’ own Izakaya Rin Japanese Restaurant & Bar. Save the expensive trip and enjoy delicious cuisine here!