Japanese Food Festivals

The Japanese enjoy coming together as family, friends or a community.  They place aJapanese-festival certain kind of importance on social gatherings and because of this are known for their many different festivals they have throughout the year.  There in generally a different festival taking place in Japan at least once a month and they often center around food, because food is also a very important part of Japanese culture.  Should you ever have the opportunity to visit Japan be sure to check out one of their many festivals. We have listed a few of our favorite you should be on the lookout for.

Japanese Food Festivals

  • japan-oyster-festivalOyster Festival- This oyster festival is held in February on the small island of Miyajima off the cost of Hiroshima.  Oysters are one of Japan’s most popular foods with oyster season being January thru March. At this festival you will find dishes such as oyster udon, raw oysters and oyster nabe. There are also live performances and old folk tales that are being told.  Definitely an oyster lovers delight.
  • Hokkaido Food Festival- You can find this high quality seafood festival in Yoyogi Park.  It is a free entry event and showcases such seafood as octopus, shimp, scallops, herring and other types of fish.  There are beer booths set up that offer beer flights and feature Japan’s most popular beer Sapporo. If you are not a seafood lover they also offer up dishes made with chicken or pork and soft serve dessert made with fresh milk.  Take a stroll around enjoy the delicious food and beer and have a great time.
  • Takao Nabe-  This festival is based around nabe  traditional Japanese stew. The stew usually includes a type of meat, tofu, bamboo shoots as well as other vegetablestraditional-japan-stew and ingredients. The festival takes place in January and is found in Toyama Prefecture.
  • Mochitsuki Festival- This Japanese festival is devoted to mochi, a sweet, sticky dessert made from red bean paste.  Mochitsuki festivals can be found all around Japan throughout different neighborhoods and communities.  It is a traditional festival that is held to help celebrate the beginning of the new year.

These are just some of the many festivals that can be found throughout Japan all year round.  With the cultures appreciation of togetherness and delicious food there is sure to be a festival for everyone to enjoy.  Being that festivals happen throughout the entire year there is always one for you to visit and be part of should you ever visit Japan.  These different festivals also give you the chance to try your hand and taste buds at an abundance of different tasty Japanese dishes!

 

 

 

 

Getting To Know Japanese Culture

As with all cultures, Japanese cuisine is heavily influenced by its culture, traditionsjapanese-culture and ingredients that are indigenous to the land. In previous articles we have talked about the different ingredients that are staples to the Japanese diet, how to make sushi at home and also some of their quirky fun, like their first ever hot tub amusement park. Before we dive more into Japanese cuisine we thought we would share a little bit more on the Japanese culture.

Getting To Know The Japanese Culture

  • The country of Japan is made up of 6,900 islands
  • 73% of the country is actually made up of mountains, although the majority of people reside along the coastlines
  • It is deemed one of the most densely populated countries in its region
  • The Japanese language is comprised of 3 different alphabets: Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana
  • japan-religion-buddhismThe earlier culture of Japan was heavily influenced by China, however over the years Western culture has began to influence lifestyle, food and art
  • There are 2 main religions in Japan that are followed: Buddhism and Shinto
  • The biggest holiday celebrated is New Years, although during summer & spring months celebrations of the god Matsuri take place
  • Sports are huge in Japan and mainly center around Sumo, Judo and Karate, although baseball, rugby and soccer have shown influence over the years as well
  • Japanese are primarily fish eaters although they do enjoy other meats as well
  • Japan is the #1 fish importer in the world!
  • Japanese don’t believe tipping is customary when dining out, riding in cabs etc.
  • Japanese believe in taking their shoes off before they their home or others homes.  If there is a tatami mat or other type of mat near the door that generally means that shoes should be removed before entering.
  • Slurping your noodles is considered part of the Japanese custom andchopsticks-etiquette shows that you are enjoying your food
  • It’s important that you use chopsticks the RIGHT way and with proper etiquette

Often times we are so used to the culture we ourselves live in that we don’t necessarily recognize the importance different things or ways play in another culture.  Taking time to understand a culture that is different than are own can not only be fascinating and exciting it can also teach us a lot about different parts of the world.  Just like we enjoy the cuisine of other cultures we should open our minds and hearts to enjoying the vulture as a whole.

1st Ever Japanese Hot Tub Amuesment Park!!!

Although our blog mainly focuses on Japanese cuisine and the art of cooking, using Japanese traditional ingredients, I wanted to share this story about the first ever Japanese Hot Tub amusement park that opened in Bappu city on the island of Kyushu in Japan. I thought not only was it a fun and interesting story but also that it shed a little light on how amazing the Japanese culture is and how stepping outside the box can be quite an experience!  While swapping a few new Japanese cooking recipes to try out with my friend Linda, she began telling me about this hot tub amusement park. I didn’t quite believe her at first, however her husband who owns a hot tub business came into the room and indeed told me it was true! In fact to all you readers you may want to check out this video of the actual park to fully believe me as well!

The amusement park is located in the city of Beppu which is known for being home to Japan’s largest active volcano Mount Aso at 5,200ft!  Because of this active volcano the city is forever engulfed in steam thanks to the 3,000 some steam vents that can be found throughout the land.  How did such an idea for such a unique amusement park come about?? Yasuhiro Nagano, the mayor of Beppu, released a video with the idea of the amusement park sometime last year.  He pledged that if they received over a million views of the video they would indeed build the amusement park. And that it did! The video quickly gained views and popularity even having over 75,000,000 yen’s donated as contribution to the building of the park!  

What Can You Expect At This Hot Tub Amusement Park???

Many do not know what is in store for them should they visit this incredible park.  The video sheds a bit of what to expect but for those of you still wondering think, a roller coaster ride with carriages filled with hot soapy water, workers dressed as zombies who wander around the park, and a merry-go-round.  In a sense I guess you could say that this is a Japanese version of a water park here in United States. Afterall, bathing is taken seriously in Japan and there are actually bath houses and outdoor tubs that one can visit. They even have standards and rules when using a public bath house.

While my love for Japanese cuisine is quite real, I also am intrigued and interested in the entire Japanese culture all together.  Just like each culture has different food ingredients that are significant to them, their ways of life and practices are unique as well.  Exploring another country and culture is so amazing and there is so much knowledge to be gained! Enjoy the video and stay tuned for some of the great Japanese recipes I swapped with Linda!

 

 

Japanese Cuisine Basics

recipes-of-JapanGetting ready to prepare and enjoy your first Japanese meal can be exciting and a bit intimidating, especially if you aren’t completely familiar with the ingredients that go into making it.  While a lot of people associate raw fish and sushi with Japanese cuisine, and both are definitely staples of Japan, there is also many many other incredible dishes to enjoy. To get things started and all of our readers a bit more familiar with Japanese cuisine we thought we would go over the different Japanese ingredients to become acquainted with.

Japanese Cuisine Ingredients

  • Medium Grain Rice (a.k.a. Sushi rice)
  • White Miso (Shiro Miso)japanese-cuisine-staple
  • Konbu/Nori Seaweed
  • Sake (drinking & cooking!)
  • Mirin (sweet liquor made from rice)
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Sesame Seeds & Oil
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Bonito Flakes (Katsu Bushi)
  • Japanese Soy Sauce
  • Wasabi

While there are definitely more ingredients that are used in Japanese cooking these are the basic and most often used.  The great thing about Japanese cuisine is that it can be altered a bit to compliment pretty much all eating preferences.  For example, Japanese use tofu in many of their dishes. This is perfect for those that are vegan or vegetarian. If a recipe should call for chicken, beef or fish tofu can be substituted and the dish will still be delicious.

Another factor I like about Japanese cuisine is that is relatively healthy fair.  There are not a lot of oils or additives when it comes to Japanese recipes, which is great for our health.

A few other important components of Japanese recipes include:

 

  • Dashi- japanese soup stock used in MANY japanese recipes
  • Miso Soup- Great beginning to a meal & also Japan’s traditional soup
  • japanese-cookingTeriyaki Sauce- you can even make your own! Great for a fish/meat/tofu marinade

Simply exploring Japanese cooking and different recipes is always great for those first trying Japanese cuisine, so that you may ease your way into the different flavors that are brought forth in japanese dishes.  You never know you just might find your new favorite meal and become one heck of a Japanese Chef!

 

Welcome Food Lovers!

Japanese-cuisineHello and welcome to our blog focused on Japanese cuisine.  We wanted to bring this blog to life to share all of the cooking techniques, cuisine, and main ingredients of Japenese recipes.  We hope to ignite your love for Japanese cooking while exploring Japans delicious food staples that go far beyond the boundries of just sushi! Tell your friends, co-workers, neighbors etc. about our blog and help us spread our love and passion for Japanese cuisine!