Japan Data

Sushi Tops the Menu for Overseas Visitors to Japan

Food and Drink Travel Economy Guide to Japan

International visitors keen to eat Japanese food were most likely to enjoy sushi, according to a survey of 1,200 people who had come to Japan over the past decade. Two in three ate the iconic dish while staying in the country.

A recent survey, aimed at people who had visited Japan in the past 10 years, revealed that sushi was the Japanese food with the most appeal for overseas visitors. The 1,200 respondents who came from the United States, Britain, France, China, and South Korea were asked what kind of Japanese food they had eaten during their stay in the country. The most common answer was “sushi” at 68.3%, followed by “tempura” with 47.2%, and “steak/yakiniku (barbecue)” at 46.9%.

What Japanese food did you eat during your stay in Japan?

Asked to name the most delicious Japanese food they had eaten, “sushi” was top again, with 19.4%, followed by “steak/yakiniku (barbecue)” with 9.2%, “sukiyaki” with 8.0%, and “unagi (eel)” at 7.4%. By country, people from the United States, Britain, France, and South Korea rated “sushi” the highest, whereas people from China were the only ones to place “unagi” with 11.7% above “sushi” at 7.0%.

What was the most delicious Japanese food you tried?

Respondents were also asked to say what had left an impression on them when it came to eating a Japanese meal and the etiquette involved. More than half stated it was the “phrases used at the start and end of meals;” it is typical to say itadakimasu before eating and gochisōsama (deshita) after the meal to show thanks.

What left an impression on you regarding Japanese meals and manners?

Regarding things that surprised or amazed people about Japanese food, the most common answers were the “delicious taste” (45.7%), “beautiful presentation” (42.7%), and “extensive choice of dishes” (41.8%). Looking at responses by country, in general, people from the United States, Britain, and France expressed a high level of surprise and amazement, while the ratio of those from China and South Korea, where the culture is more similar to Japan, was lower.

What surprised or amazed you about Japanese food?

At 86.7%, a high percentage of respondents said that the food they ate in Japan was either “very different” or “somewhat different” to the Japanese food they had eaten in their own country. A breakdown by country showed that 97.0% of people from China felt it was either very or somewhat different, followed by 92.7% for France, and then relatively lower with 79.0% for South Korea and 74.0% for Britain.

How did the Japanese food compare to the Japanese food you’ve eaten in your own country?

In response to being asked what they would like to eat if they visited Japan again, unsurprisingly the top answer was “sushi,” with 58.7%, demonstrating its formidable appeal!

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

sushi Japanese food restaurant washoku