Japanese cuisine is world famous, and widely known for dishes such as sushi and udon. Japanese cuisine has much more to it, and there are incredible dishes for every season. Let’s take a look at what is best to eat when you’re visiting Japan in the winter.


Nabe is a typical Japanese dish that is very popular in the wintertime; you will see that several nabe dishes are on our list as well! Yosenabe (寄せ鍋) literally means “put-together pot”, this dish is cooked by all kinds of different ingredients cooked together in a miso or soy sauce based broth: meat, seafood, vegetables, tofu, and egg. It is a hearty meal that will keep you warm in the cold season.

A steamy pot of yosenabe

A steamy pot of yosenabe. From Flickr

2. Motsunabe

Another nabe dish, motsunabe is originally from Fukuoka. Cooked with variety meats of cow or pork along side cabbage and chives, this dish became popular nationwide for its wonderful taste and cheap price.

3. Kimchinabe

Famous Korean food, kimchi, is also extremely popular in Japan. When the spicy and sour pickles cabbage is added to the boiling broth along meat and vegetables it creates the perfect winter dish for those who like their food with a bit of a kick.

4. Daikonoroshi nabe

The last nabe dish on our list is a pot of boiling broth seasoned with grated daikon radish. Served with a variety of vegetables and meat, daikonoroshi nabe is very versatile so everyone can enjoy it without doubt. Also “Daikonoroshi art” has become a thing to for those creative cookers! Find cutest daikonoroshi art in Japan!

5. Mizutaki

Mizutaki is a Japanese dish similar to nabe. In this hot pot meal, vegetables, fish and meat is cooked in an unseasoned broth, instead of a soy or miso based one, like in a nabe. The pot is usually filled with veggies such as mushrooms, cabbage, and beansprouts. Mizutaki was also originally the local dish of Fukuoka, but became widely used across the country for its delicious flavor.

Mizutaki hot pot

Mizutaki hot pot. From Wikimedia

6. Zosui and Okayu

Zosui is a dish made with rice and water, similar to Okayu. The two are similar in that they are both made with cooked rice to a watery consistency and often eaten n the colder months, and when someone’s ill. However okayu is more like a rice-porridge, while zosui is more like a soup with rice in it. Often the left over of a nabe would be the base for zosui, simply by adding a bowl of rice to remaining broth.

Zosui is made with broth, vegetables and rice

Zosui is made with broth, vegetables and rice. From Wikimedia

7. Oden

Oden is a famous typical winter dish of Japan that is sold on the street in the colder months. In this dish a variety of ingredients, such as egg, tofu, konnyaku yam cake, daikon radish, and fishcake is cooked in a soy sauce based broth. A must eat if you wander around the streets of Japan in the winter. You can easily find them at convenience stores as well.

Oden is a popular street food in Japan

Oden is a popular street food in Japan. From Flickr

8. Ramen

While ramen is a food that can be enjoyed all year round, in the colder months it will definitely warm you up. The bowl of delicious noodles are served in miso, soy or salt based broth topped with different vegetables, meats, tofu or egg. Many regions in Japan has its signature ramen flavor, so don’t forget to discover them wherever you are in the country.

Hot soup of ramen warms you up!

Hot soup of ramen warms you up! From Flickr

9. Mochi

Mochi is one of the food items for a traditional New Years Celebration. The rice cake is made of short-grained Japanese rice that is made into a paste and then molded. With different flavors, mochi is served in sweets, as well as in savory dishes. During New Years a soup called Zoni is served with rice cakes, vegetables such as carrot, taro, and kamaboko, cured surimi.

Zoni soup with kamaboko and vegetables

Zoni soup with kamaboko and vegetables. From Wikimedia

10. Osechi

Osechi is the other meal Japanese traditionally have on New Years. These traditional lunch boxes are custom since the 8th century, and the foods included in the food boxes have symbolic references. For example, komaboko, crued surimi, symbolizes the rising sun of Japan, because of its shape and colors and carries a festive meaning. Konbu, a type of seaweed relates to the word yorokobu which means joy, while kuromame, black soybeans references health as mame not only mean bean but health as well, whishing you a healthy and joyful New Year.

The beautiful Osechi is New Year’s must-have.

The beautiful Osechi is New Year’s must-have.

11. Yakiimo

Yakiimo literally translates to “baked potato”, but it actually gets better: it is baked Japanese sweet potato. Both made out of purple and yellow sweet potato, the root is baked in its skin and served just like that, wrapped in a napkin. A delicious treat on a cold winter day.

12. Guratan

Guratan is the Japanese name of the French dish gratin, and it is very popular in Japan. It is a pasta oven dish, made with meat, eggs and vegetables, and buttery milk and popped into the oven topped with plenty of cheese! A great Japanese comfort food!

13. White stew

White stew or cream stew is one of the Japanese dishes that the Japanese think are very western but in reality it is a uniquely Japanese take on western ingredients. Made vegetables and meat or seafood with heavy white cream, white stew is a delicious Japanese comfort food that you will love!

14. Nikuman

Nikuman is the japanese take on the chinese food baozi.  This steamed flour dough filled with juicy meat is a popular street food dish. You can find easily at any convenience stores.

Warm Nikuman

Warm Nikuman


Thumbnail image is from Flickr