Japanese Cuisine, Tradition & Modernism
Talking about Japanese cuisine (和食, washoku) could be an endless story since it offers so many delicious dishes. Japanese food is both regional and seasonal. Like with the Japanese architecture, the Japanese cuisine is a perfect combination of tradition and modern styles. Restaurants in Japan range from street food stands to centuries old traditional ones. Many restaurants are specialized in a single type of dish, while others offer a variety of dishes.
At a Japanese ryokan, one of the highlights is dining on “kaiseki” (a traditional, multi-course dinner). Indeed, many Japanese think of a ryokan as a place to dine on “kaiseki” rather than as a type of accommodation. One Kyoto ryokan owner told me that over 70% of his income was from his diners while the rest came from overnight guests. What exactly is kaiseki? The term “kaiseki” means hot stone in a kimono fold, and it is believed that Zen priests would tuck hot stones wrapped in towels next to their stomach to cure their hunger pangs during their morning and afternoon prayers (the term “kai” means a fold in a kimono and “seki” means stone). In this way it was believed that only a small amount of kaiseki would be enough to take away your hunger. Originally, kaiseki was a simple, vegetarian meal served during the traditional tea ceremony. It was thought the tea would taste better if the guests were not so hungry. Today kaiseki is no longer a strictly vegetarian meal but may also include both meat and fish. One kaiseki dinner can consist of anywhere from 6 to 15 different kinds of food.
Japan will test all your senses, and its street food scene is no exception. Yatai are small food stalls that can be found at festivals or near train Stations. Yatai are a great way to deeply discover Japan. These vendors offer an accessible and tasty selection of on-the-go dishes that are cheap, high-quality and delicious. Yatai will offer you dishes such as Takoyaki, Yaki Soba, Yakitori,…
Our favorite destinations for Yatai are Osaka and Fukuoka.
Kobe Beef is a fancy Japanese delicacy and probably the most widely-known regional specialty food in Japan. It is one of several brands of Wagyu (Japanese beef), which are bred throughout the country and often associated with the area where they are raised. While Kobe Beef is probably the best known type of wagyu outside of Japan, there are many other breeds, such as Matsuzaka and Yonezawa Beef, that are equally or even more famous among Japanese gourmets.
When passing by Kobe, don’t miss to taste Kobe Beef!
Japan is one of this place where foodies will cross continents only for its renowned restaurants. Among Japanese cities, Tokyo is the best place to experience a Michelin starred restaurant without a doubt.
In 2020, 11 restaurants in Tokyo get 3 Michelin stars, and there are 226 Michelin-starred restaurants in Tokyo totally. And then, it is really difficult to make a decision about where to eat in Tokyo; your Japan Expert will guide you.
Shojin-Ryori consists of the traditional dining style for Japanese monks. Meals are composed of numerous small bowls and dishes on a red lacquer tray, set about six inches off the floor. You will usually have to sat cross-legged on thin cushions to eat it. The menu consists of vegetables, two kinds of tofu, miso soup, pickles and a savory custard. A generous container of rice provides additional sustenance. Dessert is a usually fruits (they tolerate tropical fruits such at pineapple,…). Unlike most other meals in Japan, there is no fish, and certainly no meat. Fortunately, the sect’s rigorously vegetarian diet permits beer which is greatly appreciated after a busy day sightseeing.
Meals requirements are not expressed in the same way all over the world. We want to make sure that we understand your needs, so we can communicate them clearly to the place reserved.
If you have any special meal requirements like Celiac, allergies, vegetarian with fish, vegan, or specific foods that you cannot eat, then you must tell us as soon as possible. Please keep in mind that special meal requirements will limit the number of restaurants or hotels/ryokans available to you and it may be impossible to find one for you. Of course we will do our best to find a place that can prepare meals for you.
Please find more details see our Special Meal Requirements page.
The tours featured throughout our website are intended to give you ideas for what's possible when you travel with us. Treat them simply as inspiration, because your trip will be created individually by one of our specialists to match your tastes and budget.
It was our first trip to Japan. Working with Jeff was a pleasure. His knowledge of the country and local contacts were very helpful. Choice...
Working with Jeff at Rediscover Tours was a wonderful experience. He helped me plan a 10 day trip of a lifetime to Japan with my mother...
I would like to take this opportunity to commend and thank you for the marvelous vacation we recently enjoyed in Japan. The entire experience exceeded...
Years after years we have selected the best specialists about Japan. They have at least lived a minimum of 10 years in the country. They are here to answer all your questions and to make your tour just the way you want it.
Jeff was born in a south suburb of Chicago named South Holland and lived in Japan for 14 years. He now lives in Commerce Township, Michigan with his wife Yoshimi, son Shota, and daughter Mina. He enjoys playing with his kids, volunteering with his daughter’s marching band, cycling and training & teaching Aikido.
Michiyo was born in Noboribetsu, Hokkaido Prefecture though currently lives in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. Her main passions in life is traveling all around the world and enjoying their cultures.
Noriko was born in Nagoya. During her childhood she moved around Japan following her father’s office transfer. She especially liked her time in Shizuoka, facing Mt Fuji. She now lives in Minoo (in the suburb of Osaka). Noriko graduated from Hiroshima university. She’s been to Malaysia, Thailand and Europe (Germany and Bulgaria). Her hobbies are hiking, reading and surfing.
Great trips don't just happen It takes a lot to create a truly memorable holiday. You can rely on us to make your trip a perfect Japanese Experience
This is your trip. Together we will design it just for you.
Your interests will be front and center.
We handle your specific requests. We will inform accommodations, guides and partners of any meal requirements, allergies or disabilities you may have.
Your Japan expert has lived in Japan for many years or is Japanese.
We know the hidden treasures of Japan.
Because most of our staff live in Japan we are always aware of what’s happening in Japan. Throughout our network of partners we get first-hand information that will benefit your trip.
They add a whole new depth to your Japanese tour.
Our local guides are extremely professional and knowledgeable.
Your guide will listen to you, give you suggestions and show you sights you want. They are also very flexible and can make on the fly changes to fit your style, mood, weather and crowds.
Our office in Japan is here to assist you.
Rediscover Tours has been organizing travel to Japan since 2000.
You will arrive in Japan feeling safe and comfortable knowing that all the details have been taken care of and that our Japan office is just a phone call away. Indulge yoursefl!