Japan Data

Japanese School Meals: Curry and Rice a Firm Favorite for Students Past and Present

Education Society

A survey of children and their parents found that both groups enjoyed or had fond memories of curry and rice at school lunches.

In Japan, the school lunch system provides a set menu that changes daily. Even Japanese who are no longer student-age can remember waking up feeling excited knowing their favorite food would be served that day.

Mitsumura Tosho Publishing, which produces textbooks for elementary, junior high, and high schools, ran a nationwide survey asking elementary and junior high school students, as well as their parents, about school lunches. When the students were asked if they like school lunchtime, 91.0% of elementary and 80.0% of junior high-schoolers in total said they either “like” or “somewhat like” it.

Do you like school lunchtime?

When students and their parents were asked what their favorite school lunch was, for both generations “curry and rice” was a clear winner, with “agepan,” deep-fried bread rolls coated with kinako soybean flour and sugar, coming second.

While many of the top 10 favorite lunch items were popular with both generations, some differences could be seen. For parents, “soft noodles” placed third, while elementary school children ranked it eighth. Current students placed temakizushi (hand-rolled sushi) in ninth place, while in the same place for their parents was deep-fried whale meat.

Favorite School Lunches for Children

Favorite School Lunches for Parents

The survey, held online in November 2022, targeted 500 children and their parents.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

food school lunch