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What food do Japanese not eat?


Japan is famous for its cuisine, which includes sushi, ramen, and tempura. However, there are certain foods that Japanese people do not eat. These foods may be considered taboo or culturally inappropriate. In this article, we will take a closer look at what food Japanese people avoid and why.

Religious and Cultural Beliefs

Shintoism and Buddhism are two of the major religions in Japan. Shintoism believes in the purity of the body and soul, and therefore, some foods are considered taboo. For example, some Japanese people avoid eating beef because cows are considered sacred in Shintoism. Similarly, Buddhism encourages the practice of vegetarianism, and many Japanese people do not eat meat.

Japanese Snack Box

Raw Horse Meat

While raw fish is a popular delicacy in Japan, not all raw meats are consumed. Raw horse meat is considered taboo by many Japanese people because horses have been traditionally used as work animals in Japan. Eating horse meat is also not common in other parts of the world.

Certain Seafood

Japan is known for its love of seafood, but there are certain types of seafood that Japanese people do not eat. For example, pufferfish (fugu) can be deadly if not prepared correctly, and many Japanese people avoid it for this reason. Similarly, sea urchin (uni) is considered an acquired taste and is not commonly consumed.

Dairy Products

Dairy products like cheese and milk are not widely consumed in Japan. Some Japanese people may be lactose intolerant, but cultural factors also play a role. Japan has a rich tradition of tea ceremonies, and dairy products do not pair well with tea.

Game Meat

In Japan, game meat like deer or bear is not commonly consumed. This may be due to cultural beliefs about respecting nature or concerns about food safety. In some regions of Japan, wild boar (yamakujira) is eaten, but it is not a staple food.

Foie Gras

Foie gras is a luxury food made from the liver of ducks or geese that have been force-fed to fatten them up. While foie gras is popular in many countries, it is not commonly consumed in Japan due to ethical concerns about animal welfare.

Certain Vegetables

Some vegetables are considered taboo in Japan due to cultural beliefs or superstitions. For example, burdock root (gobo) is avoided by some Japanese people because it resembles a human body part. Similarly, lotus root (renkon) is avoided by some because the holes in the root represent an empty life.

Fast Food

While fast food chains like McDonald’s and KFC exist in Japan, they are not as popular as they are in other countries. Many Japanese people prefer to eat traditional cuisine or home-cooked meals rather than fast food.


Eating insects like crickets or grasshoppers is becoming more popular in other parts of the world, but it is still considered taboo in Japan. Insects are not commonly consumed as food by Japanese people.


Offal refers to parts of animals that are typically discarded, such as liver, kidneys, or intestines. While offal is eaten in some parts of the world, it is not commonly consumed in Japan due to cultural preferences for more recognizable cuts of meat.

Mammal Organs

In addition to offal, certain mammal organs like the heart or lungs are also considered taboo in Japan. This may be due to cultural beliefs about what parts of animals should be consumed.


In conclusion, while Japan has a diverse and delicious cuisine, there are certain foods that Japanese people do not eat due to religious beliefs, cultural traditions, or personal preferences. It is important to respect these differences and understand that what may be considered taboo in one culture may be perfectly acceptable in another.

What foods are Japanese not allowed to eat?

Japan Customs has regulations against meat products and animal-derived products. These items are generally not permitted in Japan due to concerns about the spread of diseases from livestock in other countries.

What is Japanese least favorite food?

Natto, a dish made of fermented soybeans, is not particularly liked by the majority of Japanese people. In fact, during warm-up activities in my junior high school classroom, nine out of 10 of my students expressed a dislike for natto when asked about their favorite and least favorite foods.

Do Japanese not eat dairy?

The traditional Japanese diet does not include snacks and is naturally low in dairy, red meat, poultry, baked goods, processed foods, and those containing high amounts of sugar. This information was last updated in September 2019.

Why do Japanese not eat beef?

In Japan, people refrained from eating meat, especially beef, for over 12 centuries, driven by both religious and practical reasons. Certain shrines even required over 100 days of fasting as a form of penance for its consumption.

Do the Japanese eat pork?

In Japan, pork is a very popular meat and is consumed almost as much as chicken and beef combined. Tonkatsu, a dish made from breaded and deep-fried pork loin or cutlet, is a speciality of the Japanese pig industry.

Do Japanese eat junk food?

The Japanese diet is characterized by a lack of junk food and high-calorie meals, which they don’t seem to enjoy as much as other cultures. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t only eat sushi and have a diverse range of meals that are well-balanced and healthy.

Alcohol Consumption

While alcohol is widely consumed in Japan, there are certain cultural beliefs surrounding its consumption. In traditional Japanese culture, it is considered impolite to pour your own drink, and instead, it is customary for others to pour for you. Additionally, it is important to never let your glass become empty, as this can be seen as a sign of disrespect.

Spicy Foods

Compared to other Asian countries like Thailand or India, Japanese cuisine is not known for being particularly spicy. While some Japanese people may enjoy spicy foods, it is not a common flavor profile in traditional Japanese cuisine. This may be due to the fact that historically, spices were difficult to come by in Japan and were not used in cooking.

Processed Foods

In recent years, there has been a growing concern in Japan about the health effects of processed foods. Many Japanese people prefer to eat whole foods that are minimally processed and free from additives. This focus on natural and healthy foods is reflected in the popularity of diets like the macrobiotic diet, which emphasizes whole grains and vegetables.

Western Cuisine

While Japanese cuisine has become popular all over the world, the reverse is not necessarily true. Many Japanese people may enjoy trying Western cuisine as an occasional treat, but it is not a regular part of their diet. This may be due to cultural preferences for lighter flavors and simpler preparation methods found in traditional Japanese cuisine.

Eating Etiquette

In Japan, there are certain rules and customs surrounding eating that may be unfamiliar to those from other cultures. For example, slurping noodles is considered polite and shows that you are enjoying the food. Additionally, it is customary to say “itadakimasu” before beginning a meal as a way of expressing gratitude for the food.

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