Washoku Day (Japanese Cuisine Day) Date in the current year: November 24, 2024

Washoku Day (Japanese Cuisine Day) Washoku Day, also known as Japanese Cuisine Day or Traditional Japanese Cuisine Day, is celebrated annually on November 24. It was created to recognize traditional Japanese culinary tradition and remind people outside of Japan that Japanese cuisine is so much more than sushi and sashimi.

Washoku is the most common term for traditional Japanese cuisine and Japanese food. It has developed through centuries of political, economic, and social changes. Foreign influence has played a role in the formation of Japanese cuisine as well: first Chinese (through Korea) during the early history of Japan and the Heian period, and then Western cuisines as Japan ended its isolation in the mid-19th century.

A traditional Japanese meal is based on combining steamed white rice (gohan) with one or more side dishes (okazu). In modern Japanese cuisine, noodles (soba, ramen, udon, etc.) can be served as the staple food in place of rice. This combination may be accompanied by a miso or clear soup and pickles (tsukemono). The makeup of a typical Japanese meal is often described by the phrase “one soup, three sides” (ichijū-sansai).

A lot of people primarily associate Japanese cuisine with sushi, sashimi and ramen, which have become very popular globally, but there are so many more Japanese dishes that deserve attention and recognition. They include rice dishes with various seasonings, glutinous rice cakes (mochi), rice bowls (katsudon, oyakodon, tendon, unadon, etc.), tempura, gyoza, teriyaki, takoyaki, yakitori, traditional confections (wagashi), traditional beverages such as green tea and sake, and more.

However, washoku is more than just food; according to UNESCO, which added washoku to its Intangible Cultural Heritage List, it is a social practice that is based on a specific set of traditions, knowledge and skills related to food production, processing, preparation, and consumption. It includes traditional table settings, dining customs and etiquette, the tradition of serving certain dishes for special events and festivals, adaptation of foreign dishes, etc. Washoku is an integral part of Japanese culture that has been passed down from generation to generation.

Washoku Day is celebrated on November 24 because the numbers 11, 2 and 4 (11/24) read as “Ii Nohon Shoku”, which means “good Japanese food”. The main goals of the holiday are to highlight the importance of preserving traditional Japanese cuisine and passing it down to future generations. Every year, Washoku Day events are held in Japan and abroad. They include lectures on traditional Japanese cuisine, including regional cuisine, cooking demonstrations and workshops, tastings, and more.

There are many fun ways to celebrate Washoku Day. You can go out to your favorite Japanese restaurant or discover a new one, cook Japanese dishes at home, invite your friends over for a Japanese-themed potluck dinner or party, attend a Japanese cooking class or a traditional Japanese tea ceremony with your partner or BFF, or gift someone a bottle of sake. And don’t forget to spread the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtag #WashokuDay.

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Washoku Day, Japanese Cuisine Day, Traditional Japanese Cuisine Day, holidays in Japan, cultural observances