Are you worried about travelling to Japan and not finding things for your kids to eat? We all know how picky kids can get in the way of enjoying a lovely, authentic meal. Let’s face it, not all kids love to eat sushi yet either. Ramen and tempura can both be heavy and if your kids are like ours, they aren’t the best with piping hot food. So are there any Japanese foods your kids will love in Japan? Absolutely and you’ve come to the right place.

Japanese food is one of the best cuisines in the world. With so much variety, there is always something for your kids to enjoy, no matter how picky they are. If you’re travelling to Japan and are looking for some dishes for your littles, look no further. We’ve travelled to Japan more than 15 times now and multiple times with our kids. Trust us when we say there are plenty of dishes your kids will enjoy! Even better, it’s food that the whole family will love! Keep reading to find our list of the top 5 Japanese foods your kids will love in Japan.

Is Japan Kid Friendly?

A lot of people we talk to have the wrong idea about Japan and Asia in general. The number one thing to know before going to Japan is how crowded it is. Tokyo has about 37 million people and Osaka has about 19 million. The population density can be a culture shock, especially when you are travelling around with your littles.

But Japan is also incredibly family-friendly and a wonderland for kids. The Kansai region is our favourite, especially the bustling city of Osaka. If you’re set to travel to Osaka with kids, check out our list of the 10 Best Places to go in Osaka with Kids in 2024. Japan has everything your family needs for the perfect dream vacation.

Whether you are surfing in Kanagawa, skiing in Hokkaido, or snorkelling in Okinawa, there is something for everyone. In Japan, you can also find kid-friendly spots like Tokyo Disneyland, Universal Studios Japan, and the brand-new Studio Ghibli Park in Aichi near Nagoya. Stay tuned because we’re headed to Studio Ghibli Park in December and will have a full review for you!

Japan also has a massive industry for toys and games. After all, it is the birthplace of brands like Pokemon, Super Mario, Dragon Ball Z, and One Piece. Trust us when we say, there will never be a dull moment for your kids in Japan!

Will My Kids Like the Food in Japan?

Japanese cuisine is diverse and delicate. Perhaps no other culture in the world takes the care that the Japanese put into perfecting a craft. This is why when you go to most restaurants in Japan, the food is made with quality, fresh ingredients, with the utmost care and respect.

All that is great, but will your kids even like the food in Japan? The nice thing about Japanese food is that the flavours are never too strong. There is practically no spicy food in the cuisine so just keep your kids away from the wasabi and they should be fine.

Most people think of sushi when they think of Japanese food but there is so much more than that. For example, our kids love ramen and soba noodles and of course, the Kansai favourite okonomiyaki. Every kid has different tastes so it’s important to find things that they already like. If they like shrimp, then order them some prawn tempura.

We’ve eaten countless meals in Japan across nearly every prefecture in the country. Whether it is seafood, meat, grilled chicken, or noodles in soup, Japanese cuisine has it all.

Check out our article on 5 Dishes in Portugal You and Your Kids Will Love

5 Japanese Foods Your Kids Will Love in Japan

It was hard to narrow this list down to only 5 dishes and we will likely do a follow-up article to this in the near future. Since we are going again in December of this year, it will be a good time to re-assess how our kids’ tastes have evolved! Here are 5 dishes our kids love whenever we go back to Japan!

1. Onigiri

It doesn’t get any simpler than onigiri or rice balls in Japan. You can buy them at any konbini-ya or supermarket and you can even find specialty restaurants that only make onigiri. These rice balls are delicious, filling, and fun to eat. Most of them will come with seaweed wrapped on the outside. Onigiri can be shaped as balls, triangles, or even oblong ovals.

Why is Onigiri so fun to eat? They often come with toppings in the middle of the rice to add more flavour. These can include things like fish eggs, salmon flakes, or umeboshi, also known as pickled plum. Onigiri uses fresh hot rice rather than sushi rice so there is no vinegary taste. Whether you need to pack a lunch or simply just need a snack while you explore the town, Onigiri is the perfect treat to ease your kids into Japanese cuisine.

2. Gyoza

Gyozas are already popular in Western culture so your kids might already be familiar with them. These dumplings are pan-fried and the thin wrapper is stuffed with pork and cabbage. Dip these into the delicious gyoza sauce and you have yourself an authentic, enjoyable meal.

You can often get great gyozas at ramen restaurants or izikayas. Since these aren’t always kid-friendly, we recommend looking for shops that specifically just serve gyozas. If your kids don’t mind garlic, getting the ninniku stuffed gyozas is our recommendation!

3. Okonomiyaki

We know these are often called the Japanese savoury pancake or even Japanese pizza, but to us, they are so much more than that. Okonomiyaki is a way of life in Japan, with so many different regional styles. Whether it is the yakisoba noodles in Hiroshima or the negiyaki in Osaka, Okonomiyaki offers something for everyone to enjoy.

Why will your kids love Okonomiyaki? The obvious reason is because it is delicious! But it is also fully customizable to their tastes. They can be chock full of seafood, layered with pork, or even completely vegetarian.

Okonomiyaki is made with a flour-based batter with the typical toppings of shredded cabbage, sliced pork, and different sauces. The best way to eat Okonomiyaki? Head to a specialty store that has the flat-top grill built right into your table. Staff will come to pour the batter and toppings directly on the grill and cook it right in front of you.

Our kids love the seafood Okonomiyaki, especially with extra bonito flakes or katsuobushi sprinkled on top. This is a healthy topping that adds a complex flavour to the dish. They love watching the flakes as they dance from side to side when the Okonomiyaki is cooking.

4. Udon Noodles

Who doesn’t love a good bowl of noodles in soup? While Udon is generally pretty one-dimensional outside of Japan, it is yet another dish that varies by region. This can mean different variations of the broth, the toppings, and even the noodles themselves. You can enjoy it hot, cold, or without soup as yakiudon and they are all equally satisfying!

Why do our kids love udon? Well, they grew up on noodles and it is always a comfort food for us. In Japan, udon is relatively cheap and is generally healthier than ramen. Our kids especially love adding toppings like prawn tempura to their udon to add some seafood and protein. Remember, don’t forget to slurp your noodles when eating udon in Japan!

5. Kakigori

Here’s a little local secret that is great for both kids and parents: kakigori or Japanese shaved ice. This treat is refreshing in the summer but it is satisfying and available year-round. This isn’t just a Japanese slushie though. Kakigori can have toppings, multiple different flavours, and even pieces of cake built into it.

There are so many great kakigori shops around the country, just look for the signs with the Kanji for the word ice. You can also spot them in the summer with long lines down the side of the shops. Our personal favourites? We enjoy flavours like Montblanc and Adzuki, while our kids love the simple strawberry or mango syrup flavours.

Conclusion: 5 Japanese Foods Your Kids Will Love in Japan

If you’re thinking about making the life-changing trip to Japan, don’t worry, your kids will be just fine. There are plenty of Japanese dishes that your kids will enjoy, even for the pickiest palettes. No matter what your kids are into, there is a type of Japanese food for everyone.

So consider this the first list of 5 Japanese foods your kids will love in Japan. Remember, we’re heading there later this year so we’ll have to do a follow-up to this article with all new choices that our kids enjoyed. Thanks for taking the time to read this today, we hope it helped! Check out some of our articles to help you plan your travels and share the world with the ones you love!


What Foods Do Japanese Kids Like?

Japanese kids like a variety of foods when eating at home or school. You might be surprised to hear that most Japanese families do not eat sushi or ramen at home. Instead, simple dishes like hamburger on rice, curry rice, and donburis are much more popular. Non-Japanese kids visiting Japan will enjoy simpler foods like onigiri (rice balls), udon noodles, and gyozas (pan-fried dumplings).

Will My Kids Enjoy Japanese Food?

Yes! Japanese cuisine has some of the mildest flavour profiles that are healthy and nutritious. This makes it a popular food for kids to try. Even if it is your favourite, I wouldn’t recommend starting them off on sushi. Instead, simple udon noodles, onigiri, or gyoza, are the best ways to ease them into a new cuisine. Even miso soup can be a fun way to get probiotics and a nutritious meal!

Is Japanese Food Healthy?

As with most cuisines, it depends on what you eat. Japanese cuisine is considered one of the most nutritious cuisines in the world. Home-style cooking uses healthy ingredients that you won’t find in many other cuisines. Things like konbu, fermented soy, root vegetables, and a lot of fish can provide a balanced and delicious diet.

Is Food in Japan Expensive?

No! Another wonderful thing about visiting Japan is that the cost of food is quite affordable. When we travel, our entire family of four can typically eat for less than 5000 yen depending on the style of restaurant we are eating at. Ramen restaurant, izakayas, and convenience stores can offer an even cheaper way to eat!