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Eating in Japan

Non Japanese style restaurants

Japan   has   some   of   the   best   food   on   the   planet.   Foreign   cuisine   is very   popular,   particularly   Korean,   Chinese   and   Italian,   and   foreign restaurants   abound   everywhere   and   are   much   the   same   as   the restaurants    you    would    get    home.    Often    the    menu    will    be    in Japanese   only,   so   you   may   need   to   get   help   from   the   waitress   as   to what   each   dish   on   the   menu   is.   There   are   also   plenty   value   for money   family   restaurants   such   as   the   Gusto's   and   Denny's   chains. With   these,   although   the   "home   cooking"   element   is   certainly   NOT there,   neverthless   they   are   cheap   and   you   can   usually   get   unlimited tea/coffee   for   a   few   hundred   yen.   Lastly,   there   are   the   fast   food restaurants   such   as   Macca's   and   KFC,   basically   the   same   as   what you get back home, albeit with somewhat smaller portions.

Japanese style restaurants

This   is   what   you   come   to   Japan   for,   not   to   eat   that   crappy   fast food.   So   break   out   of   that   comfort   zone   and   try   something   new! There   are   many   different   styles   to   the   ones   below,   but   this   will   give you an idea.

Izakaya

More   like   a   bar/restaurant   hybrid,   Izakaya   are   probably   the   most popular   type   of   restaurant   for   Japanese   people,   and   foreigners usually   can't   keep   away   once   they   have   discovered   them.   With   an izakaya,   all   of   the   dishes   are   small   and   are   designed   to   be   shared between   all   the   people   at   the   table,   so   rather   than   ordering   one dish   each,   you   order   lots   of   small,   dishes   and   try   as   many   as   you can.   You   usually   have   the   choice   of   normal   table/chair   seating,   or you   can   be   brave   and   eat   Japanese   style   where   you   sit   on   the   floor around a long, low table.

Sushi bars

In   Japan,   sushi   bars   are   often   much   cheaper   than   overseas   (often only   ¥100   per   dish),   and   the   sushi   is   fresher.   You   can   either   sit   at   a normal   table,   or   at   a   counter   where   you   order   as   you   go.   There   are also   many   "kaiten   zushi"   restaurants,   where   the   sushi   goes   around on a conveyer belt and you pick off the ones that you want.

Noodle restaurants

There    are    3    major    types    of    noodles    in    Japan;    udon,    soba    and ramen,   and   if   you   get   the   chance   you   should   try   them   all.   They   are usually   served   as   a   soup,   with   various   flavours   and   add   ons   in   the bowl. Many Japanese people have noodles for lunch.

Yakiniku

Actually   originally   a   Korean   dish   which   the   Japanese   have   modified and   some   would   some   improved,   Yakiniku   is   basically   Japanese style   BBQ.   You   sit   around   a   table   which   has   a   grill   built   into   it, order   your   meat   (thinly   sliced   so   cooks   quickly)   and   vegetables   and cook   them   yourself.   Needless   to   say   Yakiniku   goes   great   with   beer. It   can   work   out   expensive   as   you   will   find   yourself   ordering   more and more as you just cannot get enough of the exquisite taste.

Sukiyaki

A   “hot   pot”   dish   where   you   are   given   a   large   bowl   filled   with   a soupy   stew. As   in Yakiniku   it   is   placed   on   top   of   a   gas   burner   on   your table,   and   you   are   given   your   prepared   ingredients   such   as   thinly sliced   meat,   vegetables,   mushrooms,   tofu   and   noodles.   You   then put   these   yourself   into   the   put   and      you   take   them   out   and   share them around as they are cooked.
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