What to Eat in Japan for a Memorable Food Cruise
One of the most popular things to do when traveling around Japan isn’t related to what you can see; it’s what you can taste. Japan is famous for its intricate and delicious food scene, and when you’re on a cruise vacation in Japan you’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy this this delectable cuisine.
When it comes to what to eat in Japan, expensive isn’t always better. Instead, it’s about freshness and the attention to detail in how it’s prepared. Cruises from Tokyo will give you ample opportunity to find these hidden gems if you arrive to explore the city a few days before your cruise embarks, followed by many foodie-approved activities to do during the ports of call. Here are some food dishes you won’t want to miss out on trying while in Japan.
What to Eat in Japan for Ramen
These aren’t the ramen noodles from your college days. Ramen bars in Japan are practically a national institution and you don’t want to miss trying this prized Japanese cuisine.
Traditional ramen in Japan is the Shoyu version of ramen, which is made with a chicken (and sometimes other meats) broth that is flavored with soy sauce. Along with the broth, the other major components of the dish are long wheat noodles. Toppings vary, but some popular ones you’ll see are pork slices, soft boiled eggs, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, seaweed, and leeks.
Other types of ramen you’re likely to come across while in Japan are shio ramen, which has a light broth flavored with salt; miso ramen, which adds a soybean paste to the broth; and tonkotsu, which has a cloudy broth that derives flavor from boiled pork bones.
You can find ramen while in cruise ports all over Japan, but if you want a truly unique ramen experience unlike anything you may be used to at home, seek out Ichiran, a ramen chain restaurant found throughout Japan. Don’t let the fact that it’s a chain put you off. Ichiran doesn’t mess around – or disappoint – when it comes to its tonkotsu style of ramen. You’ll order from a vending machine, then will be led to a booth; one that is your own booth and only yours. At Ichiran you dine solo in your own tiny booth enclosed by four walls so you can solely focus on the food and its flavors. Phones are also discouraged for this reason.
Also, ramen is made to be slurped, which Americans may be self-conscious of. At Ichiran you can slurp to your heart’s content in your own little dining space since there’s no one watching you. You just get to focus on the delicious flavors and wholly enjoy your meal.
What to Eat in Japan by Mount Fuji
While in the Mount Fuji port of call, make your way to Hakone where you’ll have the chance to try a volcano-infused egg. And no, we don’t mean it’s filled with lava. Instead you’ll find that the egg is cooked in sulfur-filled hot springs, turning it a cool shade of black as well as giving it a distinct sulfur smell – but don’t worry, these eggs called Owakudani Black Eggs are still safe to eat.
While having some fun with the fact that you’ll look like you’re about to feast on rocks, you’ll also get the added bonus of seeing Mount Fuji since its hefty frame can be seen from Hakone.
What to Eat in Japan for Sushi (and How to Eat It!)
There’s sushi, and then there’s sushi in Japan. If you love sushi you probably have your favorite takeout place back home and it may be truly authentic...but it likely has nothing on a piece of sushi prepared in Japan.
Sushi is practically an art form in Japan, and the creation of sushi is taken seriously. A sushi chef is referred to as an itamae, and it takes years of study to become one. Many sushi chefs start their career with an apprenticeship under a master sushi chef, and these apprenticeships can last up to a decade before the sushi chef embarks on his own.
When ordering sushi in Japan, you’ll often do so at a bar. To have an authentic experience, find a sushi bar to order at, and ask the chef to prepare you whatever he recommends for that day. He’ll serve each dish separately as you’re meant to eat sushi right away while its perfectly fresh. Be aware you’ll be eating lots of nigiri – sushi rolls aren’t as common in Japan as they are in America.
Also, it’s perfectly acceptable to eat sushi with your fingers in Japan so don’t be surprised if you’re not offered chopsticks.
What to Eat in Japan…on Your Cruise Ship
Back on your ship if you still want some delicious Japanese food, you’re in luck thanks to two specialty restaurants: Silk Harvest and Raw on 5.
Silk Harvest features an array of Asian cuisine and on its menu you’ll find sushi, spring rolls, and other Asian food favorites, including Japanese cuisine, depending on the menu, which changes.
If sushi is one of your favorite foods, dine at Sushi on 5 during your Celebrity cruise. Located onboard our Solstice-class and Millennium-class ships, Sushi on 5 has an à la carte menu with many specialty and traditional sushi rolls as well as nigiri.
On our new Edge-class of ships, Sushi on 5 has been revitalized into the sleek Raw on 5, where you’ll find sushi and a variety of other raw fish, such as oysters and shrimp. A cool extension of Raw on 5 occurs when the ship’s innovative Magic Carpet makes its way to Deck 5. The Magic Carpet is an open-air, cantilevered platform on the side of the ship that moves up and down the ship throughout the day and serves as a restaurant, bar, and tender gateway lounge. When it’s on deck 5 during mealtimes, it operates as an extension of Raw on 5 and also serves sushi, oysters and other seafood specialties.
Book Your Cruise to Japan
Ready to eat some foodie goodness in Japan? We offer several Asia cruise itineraries that sail to Japan. Find the cruise that’s just right for you and start dreaming about your upcoming vacation!