Jul 3, 2018

5 foods in Japan that I won't eat (or won't be trying again)

Before living in Japan, I didn't have a great deal of experience with Japanese food. My town back home had one "Japanese" restaurant that I'm going to guess wasn't all that authentic - I'd never actually been there before, just knew that it existed.

Fast forward to now and I've lived in Japan for half a decade, and discovered many foods I love, but also many foods I loathe here (or am just too intimidated to try). 

Here's 5 that come to mind for me that I downright won't try, or won't be consuming again.

5 foods in Japan that I won't eat (or won't be trying again) photo

Head-on anything

If something still has its head attached - particularly if it has googly eyes staring back at me - I'm not going near it. It's probably a psychological barrier, but I find it pretty difficult to chow down on something when it's still in the original form it came in, even if it's been cooked.


There might be some gasps of horror here, but I just can't do sushi. I'm of the belief that humans invented fire for a reason...partly for warmth, and partly for the sweet joy of cooked food. I've tried sushi here once and didn't enjoy it at all. Some people tell me it's an acquired taste, but I don't really have plans to acquire it any time soon.


Does anyone even like this stuff? Fermented, stringy soybeans that you can smell from a mile off...and not in a good way. I tried it once as a "dare" from some Japanese friends. I liken it to when I try and push Vegemite onto non-Aussies. The reaction is generally "why on Earth are you eating this stuff?" which is how I feel about natto. You can shout the health benefits of it from the rooftops, but I'm still not sold.


Fairly inoffensive to most people is omurice...which as the name suggests is an omelet served over rice. In fact, I know loads of expats in Japan who would probably pick omurice as one of their favorite dishes. However, if you are like me and not a fan of eggs, then it doesn't matter if you top an omelet with adorable ketchup faces or designs - it's still a no.


Maybe this one goes without saying for a lot of us, but any food that requires more than three years of training to make sure it's prepared properly (and not lethal!) leaves me a little bit wary of trying it. 

What are your "no thanks" foods in Japan? 



After spending the last several years in the beating heart of Tokyo, I will be spending the next three in the countryside of Japan. I adore this country and all it has to offer - and I'm always learning more and more about life here as I go along!


  • Candiajia1

    on Jul 3

    Aye! I see that natto on the list! My husband convinced me to try it especially for the ‘ health benefits’ and I’m firmly with you on it- no thank you! Not again! Sorry too that I’m in sushi land and saying no thank you. And even when I ate Meat that was never on my list. Two other things that are definitely on my no-no list are seaweed and miso. Whenever I smell seaweed I instantly feel as if I’m going to pass out. Miso gives me this heady feeling that I find hard to describe. I’ll stick with my own weirdness ( today I had some leftover carrot and ginger soup that I dunked onto some leftover oatmeal from breakfast :)!crazy but tasted sooooo good)!

  • edthethe

    on Jul 3

    I love natto! I enjoy it on pasta and salad. bit I love the slimy stuff like okra and yamaimo. I'm ik with sushi too Everything else I agree ! Those googly eyes... I also don't like jelly fish. Or horumon(hormone?Its intestines) bleh

  • JTsuzuki

    on Jul 4

    Nice list! I'm also totally against looking something in its dead eyes while I try to eat it. No way! Also, I'm not big on most fish, so sushi isn't really my thing, but that said I really enjoyed it (with wasabi, something I usually can't handle) when I was pregnant. Now, wasabi is back off the table and I've come to realize the texture of raw fish bothers me. The texture of tofu is also a problem for me and I've never been a fan of mushrooms, so there's a number of traditional dishes I cannot even try to eat. I have a couple of friends from North America who swear by natto and can eat it straight or with mustard. Personally, I can't stand the stuff either.

  • Tomuu

    on Jul 12

    Definitely with you on the "head" thing. People tell me it's the best part of fish, for example, but I'm more than happy to leave them to it. Natto crops up every now and then but I avoid it as best I can -- for the lingering smell more than anything. Not so much something that I won't try again, but I wish they'd actually roast their "roast beef" over here rather than just show to the oven for few seconds. Sazae (sea snails?) are something that I have avoided, and will continue to do so, since I tried them a few years back.