From Japan

Christmas In Japan

Japan’s main religion is Buddhism which means that Christmas is less of a religious festival and more of a reason to get together with family, eat great food and create lots of quirky festive things. Here’s a quick look at some. Christmas Cake Japanese Christmas Cake is totally different to the good old British fruit…

The History of Japanese Curry

Katsu Curry has become a popular dish amongst millennials in the past few years and is now truly mainstream – it must be if Slimming World has created a low-calorie version of the dish for their 2019 calendar. But Katsu is actually a term for the meat served with a curry sauce. The term refers…

Miso Mania

Not so long ago, miso was a type of soup that you had at Japanese restaurants or eateries like Yo Sushi. Nowadays, it’s umami-rich qualities have made it a favourite with everyone from chocolatiers to Marks & Spencer, not least because it’s bursting with healthy benefits. But what exactly is miso and why is it…

The Japanese Inn Where You Rent A Cat

Japan has a long history of being of cat admirers – there’s the centuries old maneki-neko, the ubiquitous beckoning cat who’s said to usher in good luck and fortune. And not forgetting kawaii-favourite Hello Kitty, who was actually developed in the UK by Japanese company Sanrio but who took Japan by storm and even has…

Conveyor Belt Cake

It sounds like a dream come true, but a new restaurant opening this July in Tokyo is swopping out conveyor-belt sushi for cakes and puddings. Café Maison Able Ron Ron will be an all-you-can-eat dessert restaurant and will open on 16thJuly in central Tokyo’s upmarket Omotesando area. It offers 44 covers around a 38-metre conveyor…

The Spirit of Umeshu

When the blossom casts its beautiful cape across Japan, everyone feels that spring has truly arrived. What better way to celebrate than with a glass of Umeshu, a refreshing drink made of ume fruit that has been steeped in alcohol and sugar.  The ume fruit arrived in Japan some 1000 years ago from China and…

Learn More About Mochi

Yutaka is launching its first-ever sweet offering later this April in the perfectly-formed shape of mochi cakes. Just the thing for spring, mochi are Japanese favourites at the ubiquitous blossom picnics held every year and also make the ideal accompaniment to Yutaka green tea. So, what is the history of these squidgy little bundles that…

Get in The Pink with Japanese Girls’ Day

No-one is left out in Japan when it comes to celebratory days. There are days dedicated to elderly people, adults, the labour force and children, to name but a few. As if those weren’t enough, there’s also a boy’s day and, this Saturday on March 3rd, it’s Hinamatsuri, which is just for the girls.  …

Be My Valentine in Japan

Valentine’s Day is popular the world over – especially with florists and card manufacturers. The same is true in Japan, but they celebrate in a unique way, as we discovered. Valentine’s Day, as we would recognise it, only dates back to the 1950s in Japan. In those days, it was unheard of for women to…

Setsubun Is Fun

When it comes to Asian celebrations in February, most people think about Chinese New Year, which takes place on the 16th of the month this year. However, Japan has a great festival that also happens in early February and falls on Saturday 3rd this year. It’s called Setsubun, which translates as ‘change of seasons’ and…

Why Japanese Live Longer

Here at Yutaka, we recently looked at food trends for 2018 that draw on Asian culture (see Asian Trend 2018). It was noticeable that many of these were also healthy. In fact, a report by the British Medical Journal published in 2016, cited diet as the major factor in the longevity of the Japanese population.…

Finding your Ikigai

Ikigai is the Japanese idea of finding your purpose in life and is not dissimilar to the French phrase ‘raison d’etre’, which literally translates as ‘reason to be’. By discovering your ikigai, you will find balance and contentment in life. So, what does it mean and how can you find your ikigai? The word ikigai is made…

WA on WABI

Hot on the heels of our success at the BBC Good Food Show, we’re heading to London for an exciting new show called WABI. The aim of WABI is to showcase all things Japan and we’re excited not only to be taking part, but also to be one of the major sponsors. As well as…

Dekotora – the Art of Trucking

Japan is the land of extremes – from the elegant simplicity of its ancient tea ceremonies to its strange and outlandish street style. Many of the trends have made their way into other cultures throughout world, but one which remains firmly in Japan is truck art, or Dekotora (short for decoration truck), as it is…

Sakura Season

We’ve all seen those amazing photos of blossom taken in Japan. The sakura (cherry blossom) season has just begun over there, but celebrations go beyond a simple stroll through the trees. Many Japanese people organise hanami (flower viewing) parties beneath the trees, with the partying sometimes lasting all day and well into the night. The…

Sapporo Snow Festival

One of the most fabulous festivals in Japan each year is the Sapporo Snow Festival. It’s not sponsored by the famous beer of the same name, it’s actually named after the city of Sapporo in which the three festival sites are located.  The festival began in the 50s when a group of students created a…

Happy Japanese Christmas

Christmas has become increasingly popular in Japan over the last few decades but it’s not a national holiday, which means many businesses and schools remain open on 25th December. When you think about it, it’s quite obvious really – Christmas is a Christian holiday and less than 1% of the Japanese population are Christian. However,…

When Is Wasabi Not Wasabi?

There has been a lot of media coverage given over to the topic of wasabi recently and the question of whether manufacturers are using the real thing or its poor relation, horseradish, in products like sushi. So, what is the difference between wasabi and horseradish and does it really matter? History of Wasabi Wasabi is…

Kawaii food trend in Japan

Wonderful World Of Tiny Food

We love the ever-growing trend of Kawaii (cute) food that has taken the YouTube and social media world by storm. There are people who make tiny, tempting meals from modelling clay, others who cook little meals on miniature stoves and then there’s artist Chikoto Kawkaami, who makes cookies that look like tempting dishes of tiny…

Top Ten Tips For Tokyo – Insider Style

Time for a tasty trip to Tokyo and a top ten list of things to do in this amazing city, as recommended by locals. Not only is the food something to shout about – as we at Yutaka are delighted to comfirm – there is also some stunning scenery and great shopping too. Choshunkan Restaurant…

The Say So On Soy

Despite the rise and rise of soya milk, tofu and edamame – all hugely popular in the hipster foodie world – it was soy sauce that was the first, and remains the most popular soy product, to dominate the Western supermarket shelves. Here we take a look at its history and find out what has…

Fairy Kei – The Pastel Princesses Of Japan

Japanese street fashion might look a little random to the untrained eye, but there are strict rules governing the almost tribal nature of the many different styles out there. What’s more, there are shops that cater to these specific genres too, which boast names like Lolita (with sub-sets such as Gothic, Sailor and even Wa…

Curry — It’s More ‘Japanese’ Than You Think

To many people in Japan, summertime is synonymous with hot and spicy food. Spices are believed to cool you down by making you perspire, as well as stimulating an appetite dulled by the sweltering weather. The quintessential spicy dish in Japan is curry, which is so popular that it’s regarded, along with ramen, as one…

Studio Ghibli – The Disney of Japan

When people talk about Japanese anime and manga, you think of series like Dragon Ball Z and Bleach. However, there is one studio that has repeatedly produced amazing animated films that have kept the world spellbound – its name is Studio Ghibli and its most famous animation, Spirited Away has captured the imagination of children…

All Things Green Tea

Green tea is hugely popular at the moment – not only to drink, but also as a hipster ingredient in all sorts of things. Just type ‘green tea recipes’ into Pinterest and you’ll see what we mean. However, green tea has a centuries long tradition in Japan and its popularity is due in no small…

Japanese Street Food – The Sweet Stuff

Last week Yutaka’s Gabi Vatchkova, who grew up in Japan, but now works out of the company’s London HQ, introduced us to her top five Japanese savoury street foods. Here she looks at her five favourite street foods for people with a sweet tooth in her bid to convince the world there’s more to Japanese…

Japanese Street Food – The Savoury Stuff

Yutaka’s Gabi Vatchkova grew up in Japan, but now works out of the company’s London HQ. She is keen for people to discover there is so much more to Japanese food than sushi. Here she introduces us to her top five Japanese street foods. Next week, she’ll talk about her five favourite street foods for…

The Rise & Rise Of Babymetal – Japan’s hottest export

Not heard of Babymetal? Then where have you been? They’re one of the most famous bands to have come out of Japan in a long time and they’re a pop mogul’s dream. A Fusion of Genres Babymetal are a Japanese metal idol band. Their line-up consists of three teenage girls – Suzuka Nakamoto known as “Su-metal”,…

Big In Japan – Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is probably the most iconic mountain in the world, instantly recognizable because of its almost perfect symmetry and snow-capped peak. The name Fuji roughly translates as wealth or abundance. It is situated on Honshu Island and at almost 3,800 metres, it is the highest mountain peak in Japan. Mount Fuji is considered to…