May 30, 2018
The summer season is starting soon in Japan. The air gets hot and humid and the air conditioner needs to be turned on. Japanese summer can be very tough, especially if you are not used to the humid climate. For me it is also the best season to go on a diet. My appetite shrinks because of the hot weather and also the motivation to cook something is very low during this time. Japan is famous for its seasonal dishes and, yes, of course there are many for the summer season. Let's have a look at the most popular summer dishes in Japan:
Hiyashi Chuka – Japanese cold noodles
One of my favorite dishes during summer is Hiyashi Chuka -- cold ramen noodles with various sliced toppings like tamagoyaki, ham and cucumber. It comes with a sweet brown sauce. Almots every supermarket and convenience store across Japan are selling this cold noodle dish.
Another noodle dish is somen, which are very fine, long, round white vermicelli made from wheat flour. The cooking time for somen is very short, which makes them an easy and fast dish to prepare. You can eat them cold or warm together with vegetables and soy sauce. Nagashi somen parties, which just means "running/flowing somen" are very popular in Japan. The somen noodles run through bamboo shoots on a water slider and you need to catch them with chopsticks before the bamboo shoots end. These parties are a very fun way to eat somen noodles with others.
Summer is the also the time for summer festivals which you can find all over Japan. Small food stalls selling every kind of food from yakisoba, chocolate bananas to grilled fish. One of the most popular dishes at summer festivals is yakitori, which are small sticks with grilled chicken, seafood, vegetable or pork/beef. The grilled meat is very soft and the smell of the meat will make your mouth water. There are also many yakitori restaurants, where you can enjoy many different kinds of meat. For sure, the most interesting way to enjoy yakitori is at one of the small yakitori booths which pop up only in the evening on the streets and often only have a few seats. Eating at these booths together with other salarymen will give you the feeling of being back in time.
Also very popular at summer festivals is the crushed ice kakigori, which comes with different kinds of sweet syrup sauces like strawberry and calpis taste. You can easily make kakigori at home if you owning a kakigori machine, which you can buy for less than 1,000 yen.
The number one summer food in Japan is for sure watermelon. Even in many anime you will find a scene where somebody is eating a watermelon sitting in a traditional house or playing on the beach with a water ball in the form of a watermelon. There is also a popular game for kids on the beach, where you have to hit a whole watermelon with a wooden stick. The difficult part is that the eyes are covered with a piece of cloth and you can not see where to hit.
“Mugicha” or barley tea, while not a dish, is for sure one of the most popular drinks during the summer in Japan. If you drink it cold, it is very refreshing and also very healthy, that's why it is very famous among the Japanese and way better than all other sweet drinks.
I´m a german girl living in the center of Tokyo, but my true love belongs to the countryside of Japan (especially Chiba and Hokkaido). I love traveling in Japan and explore hidden areas.
I want to help people with my articles to get in touch with the Japanese culture and all the beautiful places you can explore.
Besides traveling around, I love trains, handcraft and my little rabbits.