Washoku: designated as world cultural heritage in 2013

Why Japanese cuisine is so unique

Very few national cuisines have been added to UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list to date. In 2013, washoku – the traditional Japanese dietary culture - made it onto the internationally famous UNESCO list. This is a tribute that makes the entire Japanese nation proud!

Washoku is a practice that favours the consumption of various natural, locally sourced ingredients such as rice, fish, vegetables and edible wild plants. It also encompasses traditions related to the careful preparation of the food and its presentation. But washoku is also much more than that. Literally translated, it means “harmony of food” and harmony is one of the key elements of traditional Japanese cuisine.

Why washoku deserves to be cultural heritage

Japanese cuisine incorporates very little meat, though it does use an abundance of rice, fish and seasonal vegetables. Soy sauce is also traditionally used to season many Japanese foods because of its special quality of bringing out the natural flavour of foods without masking it. This is something that can also be said of Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce.

The Japanese who practice washoku are meticulous about the presentation of their dishes. They are all beautifully decorated and served on special tableware to create genuine feasts for the eye. Another important aspect of washoku is how ingredients are combined to achieve harmony of colour and flavour. 

Did you know?

Washoku is more than a national cuisine. It’s a philosophy and a ritual that expresses a high regard for the preparation and consumption of food.