Global Food and Culture

Food Structure

Japanese Food1

 The basic form of Japanese food is a combination of "gohan" (rice), "soup" (soup), "okazu" (side dish), and "tsukemono" (garnish). The "gohan" is the main dish, to which are added some "soup and soup ingredients" and "side dishes. For example, "ippiru ichiru" means rice is served with one soup ingredient, such as miso soup or sumashi soup. A large side dish (usually meat or fish, called the main dish) and one or two smaller side dishes (side dishes), such as a side dish of a Japanese-style stew or boiled vegetables, are called "nisai nisai" or "sanzai sanzai." (Tsukemono is not included in sanzai sanzai.) The combination of these dishes is called "Kondate," and has been handed down from the end of the Heian period (794-1185) to the present day (Genzai).

 Misoshiru soup or takikomi gohan, which contains many ingredients, also serves as a side dish, so rather than worrying about the number of side dishes, it is better to make the main dish mainly of fish or meat. A nutritionally well-balanced meal can be achieved naturally if you try to include a variety of seasonal vegetables, seafood, meat, and other ingredients that are close at hand, such as a combination of various vegetables for side dishes.


 Dishes such as curry and rice, rice bowls, sushi, and noodle dishes such as udon and soba are also considered Japanese food, although they are slightly different from the basic form.

Why Japanese Food is an Intangible Cultural Heritage

 Finally, Japan is an archipelago stretching long from north to south, with a variety of landforms including oceans, rivers, mountains, and plains. Each region has its unique climate and natural features and is blessed with seasonal delicacies from the sea and the mountains. We have been cooking dishes that make the most of these natural flavors and eating them with great care. We have taken special care in cooking and preserving ingredients to use them efficiently, and we have taken care of the dishes we use, the decorations we put on them, and the decorations in our rooms to appreciate the four seasons. In this way, a culture has been fostered by respecting the blessings of nature and skillfully incorporating foreign ingredients and cuisine on top of the customs handed down in daily life. This has been recognized as Japanese food culture and designated as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

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Japanese Annual Events
Months Events Dates Food Pictures
January New Years Day January 1st Osechi January
Febuary Setsubun Febuary 4th Kannhyomaki Febuary
March Hanamatsuri March 3rd Hinamatsuri March
April Hanami In April Hanami April
May Tanngonosekku May 5th Sakuramochi May
June Minaduki Not specific Dates Minaduki June
July Tanabata July 7th Somen July
August Natumaturi Not specfic dates Kakigori August
September Jyu Go Ya September 10th Rice cakes September
October Halloween October 31 st Panpkim October
November Shichi Go San (7・5・3) November 15th Candy November
December Soba December 31st Soba December