Five Movies Japanese Food Fans Should Watch

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In Japan, where food and culinary expertise make great entertainment both in reality and non-reality arenas, film makers produce one food-themed movie after another. Unfortunately few of them become available in overseas markets and there are even fewer Hollywood movies that focus on Japanese food. We are desperately longing for more comedy and romantic pieces to be produced in Hollywood, like a Japanese food version of “Eat Pray Love” (Julia Robers) or “No Reservations” (Catherine Zeta-Jones) 🙂

Despite the small selection, we picked the following five movies to recommend for Japanese food fans. These movies are all available to watch in the United States.

1. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

Jiro Dreams of Sushi Jiro Dreams of Sushi is the story of 85-year-old Jiro Ono, the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. The epic culinary documentary has certainly captured international attention to the craftsmanship and philosophy of being the best of the best sushi chef in Japan.Now every Japanese food fan dreams of Jiro’s sushi!
Available on Amazon

2. Wa-shoku: Beyond Sushi (2015)

Fairly new piece, this documentary focuses on the people in Japan and the US who devoted their lives to culinary art of Japanese food as well as capturing its history and tradition. Director Junichi Suzuki and most of the production team are Japanese but the film was produced in US. It contains loads of interviews with chefs and experts in two counties including some familiar faces such as Nobu Matsuhisa and David Bouley.

Available on Amazon

3. The Ramen Girl (2008)

Is this pretty much the only major fiction on Japanese food in Hollywood? Brittany Murphy plays a girl stranded in Tokyo after breaking up with her boyfriend and aspired to become a ramen chef. Toshiyuki Nishida, a veteran actor in numerous Japanese films, plays a tyrannical ramen master. Sadly Murphy passed away a year after the movie was released.

Available on Amazon

4. East Side Sushi (2014)

We came across this movie while doing research on Japanese food flicks. We anticipated the plot is pretty similar to that of The Ramen Girl without seeing it. Well, the story takes place in New York so maybe worth a try!

Available on Amazon

5. Tampopo (1985)

Wow this film is over 30 years old! Look how young Ken Watanabe (“Last Samurai”) is! The main story evolves around a fledgling ramen restaurant run by a widow Tampopo and helped by a truck driver Goro, with a number of side stories on food woven into it. Often described as “Ramen Western” (a play on Spaghetti Western), the movie literally changed the way Japanese people treat ramen. Food, sex and gangsta…it is a highly entertaining comedy piece but viewer discretion is advised.

As of April 2017, this movie is #1 Best Seller in foreign film category on Amazon!!!

Available on Amazon

[Extra] Lost in Translation (2003)

All right all right it’s not a movie about food but you’ve got to have yourself “Suntory Time”!!! Cheers!
Available on Amazon