The History of Japanese Cuisine

The History of Japanese Cuisine 28 Feb 2024

The world of Japanese cuisine has a long history, which is changing over the
centuries.  It is rich in unique traditions and steady customs. Japanese cuisine,
known for its emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients and delicate flavours,
has a rich and diverse history that has been shaped by various cultural, social,
and geographical influences over centuries. If someone wants to get a better
taste of Japanese food, it is necessary to refer to its history, which dates to
many centuries ago.

Japan is a country with rich flora and fauna. Food plays a crucial role in shaping
Japanese culture. Japanese cuisine is closely related to nature, taking
inspiration from the four seasons as well as from the rich selection of edible
ingredients the land and the sea have to offer. Through food, one will be able
to learn cuisineabout many facets of Japan including its climate and landscape,
technologies, and even the life values and religious beliefs of Japanese people.

It is known that Chinese people showed Japanese how to cultivate rice in 300
B.C. No wonder that Chinese showed how to use chopsticks, as well as
introduced the usage of soy sauce and tofu in everyday life.

Later in 700 A.D., meat consumption was prohibited by
Buddhists. Buddhism introduced dishes made from raw fish and rice to
Japanese people. Itremains one of the main religions in Japan.

In 1200-s, trade between the different countries has become popular.
Japanese cuisine mixed with Dutch and Portuguese. It incorporated potatoes,
corn, and sweet potatoes. Then, a frying technique tempura became

During the 20th century, Japanese cuisine involved bread, ice cream, coffee,
and other western foods. Nevertheless, Japanese still cherish their traditions of
classic cooking recipes.

Traditional Japanese Cuisine

Traditional Japanese cuisine, or “washoku”, revolves around the concept of
seasonality. Japan has four distinct seasons—spring, summer, autumn and
winter—each with its own unique offerings of fruits, vegetables, seafoods and
more. Washoku is about appreciating those seasonal foods and connecting
with mother nature in the process. Traditional Japanese cuisine uses locally
sourced fresh ingredients and utilizes special cooking techniques and utensils
to bring out the natural flavours. Presentation is also key. Different dishes are
served on or in complimentary types of tableware, varying in shape, size,
colour and pattern. Washoku is more than just a type of cuisine, it’s an art

Food is an integral part of Japanese culture. Most Japanese households have
their own set of traditions and rituals when it comes to dining, both for special
occasions and for everyday meals. One such example is “miso shiru”, or miso
soup, an iconic Japanese dish. Although miso soup is basically made from only
three simple ingredients—kombu (a type of seaweed), bonito (a kind of fish)
flakes, and miso paste—the flavour of the finished product will vary depending
on the cooking method, cooking time, and the ingredients used (e.g. red,
white, or yellow miso), and every household has their own family recipe.

To celebrate food and nature, many regions hold festivals and other events
centred around local delicacies for which they are famous. At the beginning of
each new planting season, many shrines hold “Otauematsuri” festivals to
honour the rice fields and to pray for a bountiful harvest. Otauematsuri usually
includes a religious ceremony where food is served to the gods and a rice-
planting ritual. Aside from observing the rituals, one can also enjoy traditional
Japanese performances while eating local delicacies.

Japanese cuisine is centred around fresh, seasonal food. Rigorous food safety
management helps food stay fresh even after being delivered to local markets
or restaurants, making sure almost nothing goes to waste. Highly advanced
food preservation methods can let consumers enjoy delicious food later and a
number of different food preservation methods (e.g. pickling, sugaring,
canning, etc) add flavour to Japanese cuisine. The Japanese food industry
strives to constantly refine and improve its food processing and preservation
techniques to provide an even wider selection of food to more people.

Japan's distinctive seasons and varied terrain are perfect for growing a diverse
range of fruits. Thanks to the dedication of Japanese farmers and researchers,
Japan is known for producing premium quality fruits that not only taste great
but also look amazing. There are many varieties available for every kind of

Japan is one of the top 3 fishing countries in the world. Being an island nation,
various cold and warm currents pass by Japan, bringing bountiful yields to
Japanese fishing fleets and helping build a rich seafood culture that is unique
to Japan. For instance, the consumption of fresh raw fish ("sashimi") or raw
fish with seasoned rice ("sushi") is a major part of Japanese cuisine. Through
partaking in fishing experiences or visiting fish markets, students will be able to
learn about how Japan's seafood culture was formed.

Many regions in Japan offer fruit picking experiences. Orchardsand farms offer
the chance to be a farmer for a day, picking and eating fruits while observing
how orchards operate in Japan.

Many fishing villages in Japan offer fishing experiences. One will have the
chance to work alongside experienced fishermen and try different types of
fishing, including set net, offshore fishing, and fish farming. Visitors may enjoy
the fish they have caught in many delicious ways. Fishing experience
opportunities can be found in Aichi, Fukui, and Nagasaki and a few other

Japan’s climate and terrain vary from region to region, giving rise to many
different forms of farming. One can visit or stay at local farms and experience
how local farmers grow delicious foods that have shaped Japan’s washoku
culture, thereby abandon the loud buzzing about of large urban communities
and partake in the quietness and straightforwardness of the field for a little
while.Stay at a local farm in Japan and learn from farmers with decades of
experience. Enjoy local cuisine prepared with freshly harvested food.
Reconnect with nature. Farm stay experiences are offered in Wakayama,
Fukuoka, and other regions.

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