When most people think of Japanese restaurants they think of Sushi restaurants. The fact is, there are 30 kinds of Japanese restaurant in Japan — all specializing in a different type of Japanese cuisine.
1. Ramen (ラーメン) RestaurantsChinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat or fish broth. You usually get a choice or soy sauce or miso flavoring for the soup. Ramen is often topped with chashu (thin cut pork), negi and nori. Practically every region of Japan has its own unique variety of ramen.
2. Yakitori (やきとり) RestaurantsGrilled chicken skewer restaurants — a popular drinking food.
3. Soba (そば) RestaurantsJapanese buckwheat noodles served hot or cold with a variety of toppings.
4. Izakaya (居酒屋)Izakaya are essentially Japanese pubs. They serve a variety of popular drinking foods such as Japanese fried chicken, edamame, yakitori and sashimi.
5. Tonkatsu (とんかつ) RestaurantsBreaded deep-fried pork served with shredded cabbage, rice, miso soup and Japanese pickles. It's served with Tonkatsu Sauce (a thick sweet sauce similar to Worcestershire sauce).
6. Sushi (すし) RestaurantsSushi is perhaps more popular in Western countries such as the US and Canada than it is in Japan. Japanese sushi is very different from Western varieties.
7. Tempura (天ぷら) RestaurantsIn Japan there is a great variety of Tempura restaurants ranging from street vendors to 5-star restaurants.
8. Shabu-shabu (しゃぶしゃぶ) RestaurantsJapanese hot pot restaurants. Patrons cook a variety of fresh ingredients in a hot pot at their table.
9. Takoyaki (たこ焼き) RestaurantsBall-shaped Japanese pancakes with octopus inside. It's usually topped with a sweet sauce, mayonnaise and pickled ginger.
10. Kare Raisu (カレーライス) RestaurantsJapanese style curry with rice. A national obsession.
11. Udon (うどん) RestaurantsThick Japanese wheat-flour noodles.
12. Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) RestaurantsOkonomiyaki evolved from the practice of cooking left-overs in a Japanese pancake batter. Okonomiyaki can be translated as "what ever you like grilled".
At many okonomiyaki restaurants you can pick and choose the ingredients for your pancake. Common ingredients include cheese, mochi, vegetables, noodles, pork and seafood. Often customers cook their own okonomiyaki on a grill in the table.
13. Monjayaki (もんじゃ焼き) RestaurantsMonjayaki is essentially the Tokyo version of Okonomiyaki. The batter is more liquid and the ingredients are chopped finely. The result is a crunchy, thin pancake. Like okonomiyaki, customers cook their own on a grill built into the table.
14. Gyuudon (牛丼) RestaurantsFried thin cut beef on a bowl of rice. Gyuudon chains are usually fast and cheap.
15. Kushiage RestaurantsSkewers of deep fried meat and vegetables.
16. Champon (ちゃんぽん) RestaurantsA Japanese-Chinese dish from Nagasaki. It's essentially ramen in a thick soup with pork, seafood and vegetables.
17. Teishoku (ていしょく) RestaurantsTeishoku means "set" in Japanese. Teishoku restaurants specialize in set menus and are usually economical.
18. Hambagu RestaurantsJapanese hamburger rice.
19. Kaiseki (懐石) RestaurantsTraditional Japanese cuisine in multiple courses. Each course is small and esthetically pleasing. It's not unusual for Kaiseki meals to have 8 courses or more.
20. Yakiniku (焼き肉) RestaurantsThe Japanese version of Korean BBQ (it has evolved to be very different). Customers cook their own meat at the table. A coal grill is provided.
21. Kaisendon RestaurantsRaw seafood on a bowl of rice.
22. Tendon RestaurantsTempura on a bowl of rice. Tempura restaurants can be very expensive in Japan. It's fine cuisine. Tendon is the cheaper version.
23. Motsunabe (もつ鍋) RestaurantsA hot pot of pork or beef organ meats. It's originally from Fukuoka but motsunabe restaurants can also be found in Tokyo.
24. Teppanyaki (鉄板焼き) RestaurantsTeppanyaki evolved after WWII as a way to entertain tourists to Japan. It's still mostly found in tourist areas today. It involves cooking Western (American) foods on a iron griddle in a theatrical show.
25. Shojin (精進) RestaurantsTraditional Japanese Buddhist cuisine. In most East Asian countries Buddhist cuisine is strictly vegetarian. In Japan, it occasionally has meat or fish.
26. Youshoku RestaurantsJapanese style Western food such as Hayashi Rice.
27. Tofu / YubaJapanese tofu and yuba (tofu skin) restaurants are a good option for vegetarians.
28. Okinawa Ryouri RestaurantsRestaurants specializing in Okinawan cuisine can be found throughout Japan. The Okinawan Islands are the far southern islands of Japan and have a unique and rich culture.
29. Houtou RestaurantHoutou is a regional cuisine from Yamanashi prefecture — large flat udon noodles and vegetables in miso soup.
30. Sukiyaki (すき焼き) RestaurantsA nabe (hot pot) of thinly sliced beef, vegetables and noodles cooked in a special soup. It's dipped in raw eggs before being eaten.
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