Updated: November 06, 2018
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Japanese Winter Foods: So Many Good Things To Eat in Winter in Japan!

As you might already know, Japan is a nation full of great cuisines. Especially winter, many great foods make their appearance. This post will be a great guide to all of you who would like to enjoy winter foods in Japan.We also have posted some links to our other posts so if you are interested, please visit them for further information.

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Nabe(鍋) Japanese Hot Pot Dishes

One of the most eaten winter food in Japan is "Nabe" without a doubt. Nabe is a Japanese name for a hot pot dish. Just to name a few types of nabe, shabushabu and sukiyaki are perhaps among the most well-known. In this section, 5 major kinds of Japanese hot pots will be introduced.


"Yosenabe" is one of the most basic kinds of nabe dishes. "Yose" means to gather up, so basically ingredients can be anything you want. It can be meat, seafood, vegetables...and so on. The soup is usually kelp based. And we finish the dish by making zosui.


"Shabushabu" is very popular not only among Japanese but also among foreigners. It might be the favorite Japanese dish for you reading this article too. The name "shabushabu" came from the way you eat the meat by bathing the meat into the kelp based dashi soup. It's a kind of Japanese onomatopoeia. Meats are usually beef or pork and sometimes chicken too. You eat them with ponzu-vinegar and sesame sauce.


"Sukiyaki" is the traditional nabe dish we enjoy in winter. The origin goes far back to late Edo Period, sukiyaki is also known as "Gyunabe", which means beef pot in Japanese. Of course, main ingredients are beef, and we put some vegetables such as white onion, shitake mushrooms, and Chinese cabbage. The caramelized taste is really worth a try.


"Yudofu" is a hot pot dish very famous in Kyoto. As you can see, the ingredients are very simple, only tofu. We eat it with ponzu vinegar. Try the ultimate taste of traditional Japan.


"Oden" is also a hot pot dish you can try. Specifically, oden is not exactly a nabe dish but made in a similar way. The popular ingredients are daikon radish, mochi kinchaku, and konnyaku. It really goes well with Japanese sake.

How to finish up your nabe dish: zosui(雑炊) or sime(シメ)

Lastly, we would introduce you how you can finish your nabe dish. After finished eating nabe, Japanese people normally put some rice into the soup. Boil the pot once and add some melted egg to make some "zosui", a Japanese risotto.

Sometimes Japanese people put in udon or any kind of noodles instead of rice to finish the meal. This is called "sime", which means to finish up in Japanese.

Mochi(餅) Japanese rice cakes

"Mochi", well known as Japanese rice cakes is also a winter gourmet food you can enjoy. You can simply bake them, put them into a nabe, or it can also be eaten sweet. The next sections will present many dishes that contain mochi.


"Ozoni" is a soup dish with mochi. We eat it on new year's day to celebrate the new year. The ingredients and taste vary depending on the area of Japan.


"Oshiruko" is another dish we eat around New Year. The soup is red bean based and very sweet. It is served hot, so it would be a perfect sweet dish to warm you up in the shivering cold winter.

Yakiimo(焼き芋) Roasted sweet potatoes

"Yakiimo" is a common winter snack loved by everyone in Japan. They are sold by mobile sales trucks with interesting announcements. Why not try it next time you hear the sales truck loud announcement?

Yukimidaifuku(雪見だいふく) Mochi Icecream

Yukimidaifuku is the most popular type of ice cream eaten in winter.(You can afford one throughout the year.) To enjoy your yukimidaifuku, don't eat them immediately. Let the ice cream and the mochi melt for few minutes so you can enjoy the great combination of mochi texture and the creamy taste of the ice cream inside. Seasonal flavors are often launched too.

Osechi(おせち) Big Meal for New Year's day

"Osechi" is the big meal we have to celebrate and to start off the new year. Traditionally, mothers used to make every single kind of osechi, but nowadays we buy them. Each kind of osechi has a meaning which is based on the idea to start the new year in great ways.

Japanese winter is full of cuisines!

Not just only the dishes listed above, but Japan has much more cuisines and delicious foods. To make your winter in Japan a wonderful one, don't miss a single one.
Quite sure I'm a Ramen freak. Almost up to 200ramens in 2017. Not only ramens but also love to eat around and drink around.

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