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Agedashi –

Aji – horse mackerel

Akagai –

Amadai –

Ankake – a dish prepared with a starch-based sauce.

Ankou – monkfish

Amaebi – sweet shrimp

Amai – Japanese word for “sweet” (adjective)

Aonori – green seaweed usually used dry for sprinkling

Awabi – abalone

Azuki – red beans, frequently used in traditional Japanese sweets


Benishoga – red pickled ginger often garnished for Yakisoba

Benizake – red or sockeye salmon

Bento – meal in a box

Butabara – pork belly


Chashu – roast pork usually sliced thinly

Chanko Nabe – a hotpot traditionally eaten by sumo wrestlers

Choko – small cup for drinking sake


Dai Ginjo – the highest grade of sake, in which the rice has been polished to less than 50% of its original mass.

Daikon – long, white Japanese radish, served in a variety of ways year-round

Dango – small food balls that are often made from rice, flour or meat

Dashi (#dashi) – a stock made from dried fish, seaweed, vegetables or a combination of these, original to Japan

Daizu – soybeans

Debabocho – a type of cooking knife original to Japan

Dengaku – a dish with miso-sauce

Donburi – a bowl of rice topped with meat, seafood or vegetables. It is often shorten as “don” when combined with the ingredients. For example, Gyudon for beef bowl and Tendon for tempura bowl.


Ebi – Japanese name for shrimp or prawns

Edamame – immature soybeans often served as an appetizer

Ei – stingray

Ekiben – bento sold at train stations


Fu – dough made from wheat gluten

Fugu – blowfish or pufferfish most famous for being poisonous in liver

Fugusashi – fugu sashimi

Furikake – dried topping sprinkled on rice


Gari – sushi restaurant word for sliced ginger that has been soaked in sweetened vinegar

Gobo – burdock root

Gohan – rice or a meal

Gunkan maki – a type of sushi style made up of nori seaweed, rice and soft topping such as roe or sea urchin

Gyoza – fried or steamed dumplings, or potstickers.


Hakusai – napa cabbage

Hamo – pike eel commonly found on menus in Kyoto and Kansai Region

Harusame – clear noodles made from starch

Hirame – fluke or flounder

Hiyamugi – thin noodles made from wheat flour

Hocho – cooking knife

Hotate –


Ika – squid

Ikura – salmon roe

Imo – Japanese word for potato or root vegetables such as taro

Imo shochu – shochu made of Imo

Izakaya – Japanese pub


Jagaimo – Japanese word for potato

Jako – dried baby fish

Junmai – pure rice

Junmai ginjo – high grade, pure rice sake, made only of rice polished to less than 60% of its original mass, koji and water.


Kabocha – type of Japanese pumpkin with a dark green outside and a slightly sweet orange inside.

Kaiseki – traditional multi-course Japanese dinner.

Kaitenzushi – revolving sushi

Kai – Japanese word for shellfish

Kaki 1 – Japanese word for oyster

Kaki 2 – Japanese persimmon

Kakiage – mixed vegetable tempura

Kamaboko – Japanese style fish cake

Kani – Japanese word for crab

Kanpyo – dried gourd strips

Kappou Ryori – high-end Japanese cuisine

Karai – Japanese word for hot or spicy

Katsuo – bonito

Katsuobushi – dried bonito flakes, a key ingredient in the preparation of dashi

Katsuramuki – technique of cutting thin, continuous sheets of daikon

Kewpie – Japan’s national mayonnaise brand

Kimchi – Korean style pickles fermented with spices, often red pepper

Kimo – liver

Kinoko – generic word for mushrooms.

Koji (#koji) – mold (Aspergillus oryzae) used in the brewing of sake, miso and other fermented food in Japan.

Kome – rice

Konbu – seaweed

Konnyaku –

Komatsuna –

Korokke – Japanese croquettes typically containing mashed potato, minced meat, or crab and white sauce.

Koromo – batter

Koshihikari – a variety of Japanese rice

Kura – a sake brewery

Kuri – chestnuts

Kushiage – skewers of crumbed meat, fish or fresh vegetables deep-fried and dipped in sauce.

Kushikatsu – skewered, deep-fried pork.

Kuzu –

Kyo ryori – Kyoto-style cuisine

Kyo yasai – vegetables originating from Kyoto

Kyo kaiseki – Kyoto-style kaiseki

Kyuri – Japanese cucumber


Maguro – tuna

Makisu – a sheet of bamboo used for rolling sushi

Mame – Japanese word for bean

Masu – trout

Matcha (#matcha) – ground green tea powder

Matsutake – type of mushroom popular for its fragrance

Men – Japanese word for noodles

Mioga –

Mirin – a rice wine used in cooking


Miso (#miso) – salty soy bean paste seasoning

Misoshiru – miso soup

Mochi – sticky rice cakes made of steamed rice

Momoniku – a cut of chicken thigh or beef round


Moyashi – bean sprouts

Mugi – Japanese word for barley

Mugi shochu – barley shochu


Namazu – cat fish

Nabe –

Nabeyaki udon – udon served with various ingredients and soup in a Japanese hot pot

Nashi – Japanese pear, often referred to as Asian pear

Nasu – egg plant or aubergine

Natto – fermented soy beans

Negi – Japanese green onion or leek

Nigari – magnesium chloride, used for making tofu.

Nigiri – A type of sushi where a topping is placed on the top of rice

Nigai – Japanese word for bitter

Niboshi – dried baby sardines

Niku – Japanese word for “meat”

Nijujaga (#nikujaga) – Japanese style meat and potato stew seasoned with soy sauce

Nikuman – steamed meat bun

Nishin – herring

Noren –

Nori – seaweed dried and formed in thin paper shape. Used for sushi

Nuka – rice bran

Nukamiso – salted rice bran paste

Nukazuke – Japanese vegetables pickled in rice bran paste


Obanzai – traditional Kyoto style cuisine

Ochazuke – rice in tea, usually topped with tiny fish or vegetables

Oden –

Okazu – accompaniment or side dish. In Kyoto, it is referred to as obanzai.

Okonomiyaki – Japanese non-sweet pancake made of flour, water, and cabbage and usually including seafood and other vegetables

Omurice – derived from “omelet” and “rice”, usually a plain omelet over rice seasoned with ketchup

Oomori – large serving of food

Osechi – traditional meal eaten on New Years Day

Otoro – fatty tuna


Panko – Japanese breadcrumbs

Piiman – bell/sweet pepper

Ponzu – a mix of soy sauce and citrus juice


Rayu – spice-infused oil

Ramen (#ramen) – Chinese-style noodles in soup

Robata – type of Japanese grill.

Ryori – Japanese for a type of food, cooking style or cuisine

Ryotei – a high class Japanese restaurant providing private dining areas


Saba – mackerel

Sakana – Japanese word for fish

Sake (#sake) – Japanese word for alcohol

Sake or shake – salmon

Samsai – general word for edible wild plants

Sansho – Japanese pepper

Sashimi – raw meat (most often fish)

Satoimo – taro root

Shabu shabu


Shiitake – Japanese variety of mushroom known for its dark brown color

Shirako – fish milt

Shirataki –

Shio – Japanese word for salt

Shio koji – seasoning

Shishito – Japanese green pepper

Shiso – Japanese mint or perilla

Shoga – Japanese word for ginger

Shochu – distilled spirit, usually made of sweet potato, wheat, brown sugar, or rice, but also made of a wide variety of other ingredients

Shojin ryori

Shokudou – cafeteria inside an office or university.

Shoppai – Japanese word for salty

Shoyu – soy sauce

Soba – buckwheat noodles

Somen – thin, cold noodles, often served in summer.

Souzai – Similar in meaning to okazu.

Su – Japanese word for vinegar

Suppai – Japanese word for “sour” (adjective)

Sushi (#sushi) – Originally standing for “rice flavored with vinegar,” the term sushi embraces many kinds of dishes using vinegar rice.

Sudachi – small, round, dark green citrus fruit that is almost unique to Japan

Sukiyaki – a type of hotpot with a sweet, soy-based soup

Sumeshi – vinegard rice


Tai – sea bream

Takikomi gohan – Japanese rice dish seasoned with dashi and cooked with vegetables, meat, or fish.

Takoyaki –

Tamago – egg

Tempura – deep fried fish or vegetables

Tenkasu – small, crunchy bits of deep-fried batter used as a topping for udon or okonomiyaki

Teppanyaki – meat, vegetables or noodles cooked on a large hotplate

Tofu –


Tonkatsu – breaded pork cutlet

Toshi – small dish provided as a starter in Japanese izakaya

Tsukemono – Japanese word for pickles

Tsumami – small dish served with drinks

Tsumire – ball of ground sardine, usually served with soup or in oden

Tsukiji –

Tsukudani – a sweet and salty preserve.


Udon – thick, white noodles made from wheat flour

Umami – one of the five basic tastes, sometimes described as “savoriness”

Ume – Japanese plum, which is actually a relative of the apricot

Umeboshi – ume that has been dried and salt-pickled. Red shiso leaves are often used to make it turn red.

Unagi – freshwater eel

Uni – sea urchin


Wagyu – Japanese beef

Washoku – Japanese cuisine

Wakame – seaweed often used in miso soup

Waribashi – wooden chopsticks

Wasabi (#wasabi) – Green relative of horseradish that is primarily used with sushi and sashimi.


Yaki – Japanese word for something grilled

Yakiniku – marinated grilled meat, often in barbeque style

Yakionigiri – a toasted rice ball often seasoned with soy sauce or miso

Yakisoba (#yakisoba) – fried Chinese noodles or Japanese version of chow mein

Yakitori – barbecued chicken cooked and served on a bamboo skewer

Yakumi – a condiment

Yatai – kiosk serving street food

Yuba – tofu skin

Yukke – raw ground beef dish similar to steak tartare

Yuzu – Japanese citrus fruit with a yellow rind


Zouni – mochi in soup