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Japanese Restaurants Serving a Broader Range of Dishes

Washoku or Japanese cuisine, offers an abundance of culinary delights, highlighting a rich variety of regional specialties that evolve with the seasons. Dining options in Japan span a wide range. While some Japanese restaurants focus on particular dishes, others feature diverse menus to cater to a range of tastes.

Here are various types of restaurants that offer a wide range of dishes:

Kyoto, Japan street scene at night.

Izakaya: Similar to pubs, izakayas are casual drinking spots that serve an array of small dishes like yakitori, grilled food, salads, and finger foods. They’re highly popular in Japan, often located near train stations and shopping areas. Dining at izakayas is relaxed, with dishes typically shared among diners.

Family Restaurants (Famiresu): Chains like Gusto, Royal Host, Saizeria, and Joyful offer casual dining with a mix of Western, Chinese, and Japanese dishes. They’re more prevalent in rural areas than big cities.

Shokudo: These are casual, independently owned eateries specializing in Japanese fare like soba, udon, donburi, and curry. They’re commonly found near tourist attractions.

Teishoku-ya: These restaurants serve set meals (teishoku) consisting of a main dish (meat or fish), rice, pickles, and miso soup. Teishoku-ya are abundant in business districts and are popular during lunch hours.

High class Japanese kaiseki cuisineKaiseki Ryori: Known as Japanese haute cuisine, kaiseki ryori emphasizes seasonality, simplicity, and elegance in a multi-course meal. It’s available at specialized kaiseki restaurants or ryotei, upscale Japanese eateries. Many high-quality ryokan (traditional inns) also serve kaiseki ryori.

Kissaten: Coffee shops that also offer sweets, sandwiches, and sometimes hot dishes like pasta. They’re often located in museums, shopping areas, and department stores. Popular chains include Starbucks, Doutor, Komeda, and Tully’s.

Yatai: These are movable food stalls, often with seating inside tents. While their numbers are decreasing, Fukuoka is renowned for its yatai culture. They typically offer items like ramen, oden, and yakitori.


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Read all about Japanese immersion learning and studying abroad. Check out our eZasshi archives for more articles!