You'll Never Say, "What a Shock!" "Washoku" Is the Very Soul of "Omotenashi" Japan!

by Shogo - Japan Licensed Guide
(26) Reviews

Hello. Huge welcome to Wa-shoku! And I'm sorry for my trivial pun in the title. Hopefuly I'm not a "pun man?"

First of all, a touch of information about Omotenashi just for your reference. Currently the term, Omotenashi, is one of the key words in Japan's tourism industries. However, it might not be very familiar to inbound travellers who are like, what the heck it is, or if it happenly means something like hospitality.

Exactly. Omotenashi is about doing all you can to have your guests feel happy with your utmost sensitive consideration. Above all, Washoku might be safely said to be the heart and essence of Omotenashi.

Washoku, as you may know well, refers to Japanese cuisine, with "wa" standing for Japan/Japanese and "shoku" for cuisine/food. Currently Washoku may have become an English term.

By the way I've ever heard the BBC news calling Japan "Sushi Empire" on a program covering sushi. (Personally, I don't like the term "empire" very much, though.) Indeed sushi seems so popular all over the world among men and women of all ages. So it might be representative of Washoku which was registered as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2013. So I think I can safely say that Washoku is kind of the most excellent/tasty Japan's diplomat.:)

Interestingly, back in the 17th through mid-19th century, such Washoku as world-popular sushi, udon noodles, soba noodles, and even valuable "unaju" (wooden box of rice topped with charcoal-grilled eel) were "fast foods" usually served at food-stands in Edo (former name of Tokyo until the end of the Samurai period, 150 years ago).

As far as Edomae-Zushi with the history of 200+ years, they squeezed sushi (called nigiri-zushi) with fresh fish caught in Tokyo Bay or off Tokyo. (Edo-mae refers to "Tokyo-front") They had to be served as sort of a "fast food" early on, on the spot of the bay area asp without fridges at that time. This might be why, even now, people eat sushi with detoxifying wasabi not just for better taste but for health/sanitation reason as well. (Here's good news for gentlemen with piles. i.e. It is said that a proper amount of Wasabi doesn't cause any harm, but mustard can.)       

On the other hand, Kyoto has seen a touch different shushi from ToKyo's Edomae-zushi. Kyoto's sushi is called Kyo-zushi. (Kyo is an old name of Kyoto like Edo for Tokyo). Since Kyoto is an inland city, far from Osaka Bay or the Japan Sea, it was hard to get fresh fish at the time. So what Kyoto sushi chefs did was to compete on boiled sushi rice. How to make sushi rice nice has been the second to none.

Kyoto's specialties are sushi rolls, box sushi, and inari or fried bean curd stuffed with sush rice, among others. If you are interested in sushi rolls, I recommend you to hang around the food corner on a basement of a department store.

So I may safely say that one of the characteristics of Washoku is individuality like home cooking in your country, depending very much on places where you visit, cooks, restaurants, and even the changing of the seasons.

For example, you'll see that seasoning for Udon soup is literally heayy in Tokyo, and light in Kyoto and Osaka. Also a term "Oden", Japanese hotpot with assorted ingredients like daikon, tofu, or fish cake, is often called "Kanto-daki" (kanto referring toTokyo area; daki/taki, boiled) in western Japan.

Washoku is also eye-grabbing as you do in your country. People put massive emphasis on being nice-looking at special occasions, which might be the very "omotenashi" or hospitality, and the heart and essence of Washoku. So cooks can decorate food with seasonal flowers/plants. Actually the more beautifully arranged, the more appetizing!

You'll Never Say, "What a Shock!" "Washoku" Is the Very Soul of "Omotenashi" Japan!

When it comes to "Umami" or a good taste, people often use "katsuo-bushi" or dried bonito shavings for the stock. "Katsuo-bushi" is available at a grocery and supermarket. Actually I've seen overseas tourists looking for "katsuo-bushi" for their gifts at a grocery in Kyoto's Nishiki Market. Also kelp, sake and/or Miso (soybean paste) is often used for seasoning, depending on cooking.

You'll Never Say, "What a Shock!" "Washoku" Is the Very Soul of "Omotenashi" Japan!

Here's a little more information for those who are saying, "I've thoroughly enjoyed Sushi at a good Japanese restaurant back in my home town. So I'd like to explore the other kinds of Japanese cuisine as well while staying in Japan. Tell me what are your suggestions."

Here's one example of Washoku rankings, from first to fifth, just for your reference. I hope it would deepen your further understanding of Washoku.:)

1. Tonkotsu ramen or ramen noodles in pork bone soup with pork and vege on top

You'll Never Say, "What a Shock!" "Washoku" Is the Very Soul of "Omotenashi" Japan!

2. Sushi: Note Wasabi or Japanese horseradish has power of disinfection. So eat Sushi/Sashimi with a touch of Wasabi.:)

You'll Never Say, "What a Shock!" "Washoku" Is the Very Soul of "Omotenashi" Japan!

3. Curry rice

You'll Never Say, "What a Shock!" "Washoku" Is the Very Soul of "Omotenashi" Japan!

4. Gyoza or deep-fried Gyoza dumpling

You'll Never Say, "What a Shock!" "Washoku" Is the Very Soul of "Omotenashi" Japan!

5. Yakiniku or grilled meat

You'll Never Say, "What a Shock!" "Washoku" Is the Very Soul of "Omotenashi" Japan!

Here's another ranking of Washoku popular among overseas tourists, from first to fifth.

1. Tako-yaki (ball-shaped pancake with bits of octopus, Osaka's specialty)

2. Edamame (young soybean pods, Goes well with peer, Could you visit my blog "Soybean Japan?" Thank you.:)

3. Agedashi-dofu (deep-fried tofu)

4. Tataki (lightly roasted tuna/salmon/beef/bonito)

5. Miso soup (Agian, Could you visit my blog "Soybean Japan?" Thank you.:)

Here're are two super lovely shots; a family exploring "Kaiten-zushi" at a sushi-go-round restaurant in Kyoto, and a happily married couple experiencing tea ceremony. It's YOUR turn to give it a go.:)

 You'll Never Say, "What a Shock!" "Washoku" Is the Very Soul of "Omotenashi" Japan!

 You'll Never Say, "What a Shock!" "Washoku" Is the Very Soul of "Omotenashi" Japan!

Finally, massive thanks for visiting "Washoku." Here's one of my recommendations. That's "Katsu(-retsu) curry" or curry rice with a cutlet on top. The crunchy cutlet, soft juicy inside, literally goes very very well with mild curry! Indeed katsu curry gets me going! So, I'd like you to enjoy the following "AIR" Katsu curry. .......... How do you like it?:)

You'll Never Say, "What a Shock!" "Washoku" Is the Very Soul of "Omotenashi" Japan!

If you don't eat Katsu-retsu, how about Hiroshima's oyster curry, which is well-known among curry lovers? It might be worth a go if you aren't allergic to oysters.

Also for those who don't like rice very much, "curry bun" or a touch crisply fried bun with juicy cury inside might be another "yummy"choice, I think. So don't  pass by a bakery.:)

Thank you very much for visiting my blog. Covid-19 pandemic is still going on. So stay safe.:)

 

 

Did you like my article?

You can send me a message to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience. Let's explore Japan Together.

I'll be waiting for you, so please check my profile and get your trip plan now


Shogo

Licensed Guide
(26) Reviews

Related Blogs

Healthy, but Possibly "Dangerous?:)" Soybean Japan

by Shogo
Hello. Welcome to Soybean Japan. As you know well, Japans staple food is rice, not soybeans. However, a soybean has long been an indispens...

Bamboo Tells What Japan Is All About!

by Shogo
Hello. Welcome to Bamboo Japan. As you see, Japan is a bamboo country with various kinds of bamboo rooted deep into diverse aspects of ...

Fuji-san Has Long Been/Will Be Japan's Best Spiritual Home!

by Shogo
Super welcome to Mt. Fuji!    Mt. Fuji or Fuji-san (san refers to mountain), with an altitude of 3,776 meters, is located about 130 kilomet...

Huge JR Kyoto Sta. Is a New Little-Known Tourist Spot!

by Shogo
Welcome to JR Kyoto Sta. Kyoto with its history of over 1,200 years is the very Japans spiritual home. No doubt about it. Indeed, whenever...

Japanese Maple Is Not Just Beautiful, but Super "Crisp!"

by Shogo
Welcome to Maple Japan! Autumn colors are the pride of Japan, being enjoyed across Japan. In the western part of Japan, like Kyoto, Nara, O...

Kyoto's Maiko Are Centuries-Long, World-Wide Idols!

by Shogo
OIDE-YASU (warm welcome in the Kyoto dialect) to Kyotos Maiko. First of all, you may wonder what Kyotos Maiko is all about, like  Are th...

Tours by Guide

  • Nara and Osaka Highlights 1-Day Private Tour

    (26) Reviews
    by Shogo
    Nara was an ancient capital of Japan in the 8th century. We'll visit Todaiji Temple, housing the gigantic Great Statue of Buddha, and Kasuga Grand Shrine....
    8 Hours US$ 303 up to 6 people
  • Himeji Castle & Spiritual Mt. Shoshazan 1-Day Private Tour

    (26) Reviews
    by Shogo
    We'll visit three places, rich in Japan's history and culture. Firstly, Himeji Castle designated as Japan's first World Heritage Site in 1993, and ranked 7...
    8 Hours US$ 303 up to 6 people
  • Kyoto Highlights 1-Day Private Tour

    (26) Reviews
    by Shogo
    This is a one-day tour of Kyoto for the first visitors. Kyoto is an ancient capital for over 1,000 years. You will visit Kinkakuji Temple, Arashiyama Bamb...
    9 Hours US$ 341 up to 6 people
  • Awesome Osaka 1-Day Private Tour

    (26) Reviews
    by Shogo
    Osaka, the 3rd largest in Japan, has long been prospered as Japan's most powerful commercial city, playing also a major role in Japanese culture like a tra...
    8 Hours US$ 303 up to 6 people
  • Discover Western Kyoto 1-Day Private Tour

    (26) Reviews
    by Shogo
    This is a one-day tour of western Kyoto, ancient capital for over 1,000 years. We will visit Nijojo Castle, Kinkakuji Temple, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Nis...
    8 Hours US$ 303 up to 6 people
  • Discover Eastern Kyoto 1-Day Private Tour

    (26) Reviews
    by Shogo
    This is a 1-day private tour of eastern Kyoto including Ninenzaka & Sannenzaka alleys, Kiyomizudera Temple, Sanjusangendo Temple, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Fus...
    8 Hours US$ 303 up to 6 people

Plan your trip to Kyoto with Shogo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Send a message

Recent Tour Reviews in Kyoto

“ great guided tour ”

Excellent
8 months ago Traveler: Somila -   Tour Guide: Shogo

many thanks Shogo for your fatastic guided tour in Osaka. We thoroughly enjoyed your company.
read more

“ Osaka/Nara/Kyoto Tours ”

Excellent
10 months ago Traveler: Tami -   Tour Guide: Shogo

If you're looking for a tour guide then look no further! My husband and I had the pleasure of having Shogo as our guide for 2 days. We have booked other guides on Triplelights in the past, and Shogo is one of the best: he's easy going, flexible, and knowledgeable. We highly recommend and would definitely book him again! Thank you Shogo for the photos, and also for going above and beyond on our...
read more

“ Day trip to Kyoto & Narra ”

Excellent
10 months ago Traveler: Patrick -   Tour Guide: Shogo

We found Shogo to be very knowledgeable, friendly and he made our day trip special. My son especially enjoyed the Sushi, Deer in Narra and the monkeys in Kyoto.
read more

“ Kyoto and Himeji highlights ”

Very Good
10 months ago Traveler: Dermot -   Tour Guide: Shogo

Shogo was our guide for 2 days. He is very good company and his knowledge about all of the sites was interesting. On the trip around Kyoto he took us on local transport including the tram which was a great way to travel around the city. Overall we recommend Shogo as the perfect English speaking guide.
read more

“ Thank you! ”

Excellent
11 months ago Traveler: Polly -   Tour Guide: Shogo

Great experience, Shogo is a lovely and very accommodating guide!
read more

“ Quiet Nara and Kobe Tour ”

Excellent
1 year ago Traveler: Angelina -   Tour Guide: Shogo

Shogo is the best Tour Guide we had during our Circle To Japan 13-day Cruise. Shogo is highly organized and he planned our trip real well. He handed each and everyone one of us the JR pass, the timeline of our trip, and the other relevant information of our tour. We had a very memorable tour and enjoyed Shogo ‘s patience with us. I will highly recommend Shogo to everyone. All the best to sn excell...
read more

“ Very knowledgeable and affable ”

Excellent
1 year ago Traveler: Tracy -   Tour Guide: Shogo

Our day trip in Nara and Osaka was great thanks to Shogo san, he was very kind and knowledgeable about the places we wanted to visit which allowed efficient time usage in each place. Shogo was also very efficient in replying every time before the trip about any questions we had, which was superb and helped us take nice pictures at the beautiful attractions. We thoroughly enjoyed our time and...
read more

“ Great Tour ”

Excellent
1 year ago Traveler: Rachel -   Tour Guide: Shogo

Shogo was a great tour guide! Highly recommended!
read more

“ Best tour guide! ”

Excellent
1 year ago Traveler: Daniel -   Tour Guide: Shogo

Shogo was very informative, communicated very clearly and timely and was even better in person as our guide. He puts in extra effort to make sure we had an excellent time! He even sent us pictures after. Highly recommend Shogo!
read more

“ Osaka and Kyoto with Shogo ”

Excellent
1 year ago Traveler: Renate -   Tour Guide: Shogo

Shogo was amazing. He met us on time, provided an itinerary for the day and also some interesting facts about Japanese history. Shogo was very knowledgeable about Osaka and Kyoto. We had an awesome time. Thanks Shogo for 2 great days.
read more

Related cities