From mine and others’ personal experiences, I’ve learned that everybody’s #1 excitement when traveling to Japan is eating the food. According to news outlet CNN, TheTopTens, and several other worldwide ratings, Japan is highly favorited as one of the countries with the best cuisines.
Service, atmosphere, quality, and presentation are strictly evident in every restaurant you go to in Japan. Here are a few reasons why Japan does food better than the U.S.
1. Grease is not a necessity for food to taste or look good
When you think of American food, you might think of burgers, deep fried anything, grilled cheese, fries covered in chocolate/cheese/ice cream/bacon, grease on grease…basically anything you can imagine for a cheat day.
For Japan, there is only a few dishes that counts as “greasy” and even then, they make it out of organic, pure ingredients. For example, tempura and katsu. They are fried foods, but the ingredients the Japanese use are high quality flour, meats and vegetables.
2. Japanese cuisines make people live longer and healthier
The longest-living people in the world are from Okinawa, Japan. Even though it’s claimed to be in such a specific area, the foods that they eat don’t differ much from the mainland of Japan. According to Livestrong.com, the United States is the second fattest nation in the world. Japan, on the other hand, has one of the lowest obesity rates.
With the typical American diet, Americans have higher cases of obesity, cancer, heart disease, and the list goes on. A typical Japanese meal contains simmered vegetables, a small bowl of miso soup, green tea, rice, and fish. With this diet, the Japanese can expect many benefits, as their diet reduces aging, boosts metabolism, encourages brain activity, and reduces heart problems.
3. Everything you order is exactly what you get in the pictures on the menu
The greatest thing I appreciate about Japanese restaurants is that every time I order something off the menu (because the picture looks delicious), I get exactly what I’d imagine. It also helps that at most restaurants, there are fake food displays in front so you know before hand what kind of food is being served.
4. Themed and character restaurants
Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, Hello Kitty, Pokemon, Snoopy, My Little Pony, I shit you not; it’s all there. Usually geared towards American and Italian lunches and pastries, you can enjoy your food while dining in the atmosphere of your favorite characters.
5. Animal cafés
No, we don’t eat the animals.
Animal cafés are a great way to escape the stressful adult world and enjoy petting different kinds of creatures with a café next door to enjoy after. You can find a verity of animal cafés that have cats, dogs, birds, rabbits, goats, owls, and new to the list, hedgehogs!
6. Dinner with the city view
In Japan, is it very common to have shopping buildings and train stations to have a designated floor for just restaurants and cafés. That designated floor is usually the very top floor of the building.
So every time that you head up the building with your empty stomach, you have yourself a nice view while experiencing the mouthwatering scents from different restaurants you pass as you decide which fake food display looks the best.
7. You can wash your hands at your table
For those who go to the bathroom to wash their hands or those that don’t at all, there is an easier and quicker way to wash your hands clean before a meal. Oshibori is a warm moist hand-towel that most restaurants will give you before the start of your meal.
8. There’s a conveyor belt
The conveyor belt is a fun way to pick and choose small dishes that pass by on the belt, all while enjoying the company of family members and friends at the table.
9. Teppanyaki exists
Originating from Japan, teppanyaki is the most exciting way to watch your food being cooked in front of you by your very own personal chef. You can order anything from steak and seafood, to rice and eggs and watch them skillfully multitask cooking, throwing knives, and performing cool fire tricks right before your eyes.
10. Chefs dedicate their life to being a sushi chef
In Japan, being a sushi chef is a serious deal. Chefs take up to 10+ years of training, starting from the bottom as a cleaner, to making rice, to holding a knife and cleaning the fish, to actually making the art that is sushi.
If you haven’t watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi on Netflix, you have yet to know the struggle, ’cause it’s real. There’s an actual sushi etiquette when going to a legit sushi restaurant. Check this website for the guide to become a master of eating sushi.
11. There’s meaning behind the food
Tradition is my favorite thing about Japan. For example, during the New Year’s, thousands of Japanese people make or order a traditional box full of different foods called Osechi.
With each dish, it serves as a symbol or wish for the coming year. They even use special chopsticks when eating this important dish of the year. Check out this website to look through the different meaning to every dish.
12. There are service buttons
The best thing about going out to a restaurant in Japan is that most places have service buttons at your table to call the waiter. Unlike in America, where the waiter will come to check up on you every so often, you have privacy at your table and service is just a click of a button away.
13. Their famed, world-class beef
Kobe beef is one of the highest quality types of beef in the world. It is known for its superior flavor, marbled appearance, and tenderness. Only served at expensive restaurants, it is highly recommended if you have the chance to try it.
14. Two words: Japanese. Bread.
Imagine a loaf of bread that is cut into thick slices, flakes when you pull it apart, and feels like pillows in your mouth with the slightest hint of sweetness. That’s Japanese bread for you.
15. You’re the chef
Many Japanese dishes involve group-cooking right at your table. It’s fun to bring out your inner chef when you want to try and impress your friends. Some things you can cook at your table are different styles of Japanese soups, grilled beef and vegetables, and Okonomiyaki (Japanese dinner pancake).