Japanese Food

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JETRO Global Eye

Working as one team in global business: Consortium for a New Export Nation


For business owners who are looking to expand globally or looking to develop a completely new market, it’s difficult to tackle various issues in unknown territory. Asking for external advice could be one solution. JETRO offers support to handle different business practices and rules, and assists business dealings with foreign firms. JETRO introduces three successful cases in this program: exporting children’s furniture to Europe, setting up juice stands in Thailand and developing a tool with local standards for a German client. All three companies benefited from support programs of the Consortium for a New Export Nation by working with JETRO experts in various fields.

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Ochiai Shuzojyo Co., Ltd: Bringing ginger shochu to the U.S.


Ochiai Shuzojyo, founded in 1909, produces shochu not only from sweet potatoes but also from unusual ingredients like ginger and pumpkin. Working together with a JETRO expert, the company pursued the idea of exporting shochu overseas. Based on a SWOT analysis, they decided to bring ginger shochu overseas. In 2017, they started marketing Rihei Ginger in the U.S., and by April 2018 they had successfully secured a contract, and are still striving for more. The fourth-generation master distiller reveals what he has learned while exploring the outside world.

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Takikawa Oblate Company Ltd.: Exporting oblate to Singapore


Takikawa Oblate, manufacturer and wholesaler of medical oblate and edible oblate products, boasts over 80% of the oblate, or wafer sheet, market share in Japan. They decided to explore possibilities of exporting oblate to countries without conventional views on the product. Taking up the idea of using oblate for food decoration, they worked with JETRO experts to participate in trade shows and perfect a detailed business plan. The work bore fruit in 2017 when the exportation of products to Singapore became a reality. The next market is the U.S., where the product could become a popular party food.

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Top-quality Sea Urchin Provides Business Opportunities – Aided by the Japanese Food Boom –


Uni, or sea urchin, is an expensive indispensable ingredient for sushi restaurants. With the boom of Japanese food on the rise, overseas demand for Uni has increased. A processor in Hokkaido saw this as a business opportunity. While domestic sales remain sluggish, the company aims to enter the Vietnamese market with their rare "made in Japan" Uni...

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Export Revives Local Farming ‐The Young Make Organic Japanese Tea‐


In the last decade, export of Japanese tea has tripled. Now, matcha-based menus are popular at cafes in Europe and the US. Still, that does not mean high-end Japanese tea sells for a high price abroad. The main importers in Germany and the US ask first for organic certification and then ask for taste and aroma. There are two tea producers in Kirishima City, Kagoshima Prefecture who understand the needs and make Japanese tea ...

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Japanese sake : A regional brew


Surrounded by green, rolling hills and clear, flowing water with pale green and amber rice paddies stretching into the distance, Daisen City in Akita Prefecture is a sight to behold. The Ito family has lived in Akita for 400 years, and the prefecture has a long, rich history as a rice-growing region. The Itos harvested rice and in 1865, Jushiro Ito began using part of their crop to brew nihonshu, or “sake.”

Pastries and sweets inspired by the Aomori climate : Living the sweet life

Arpajon Inc.

After working in patisseries and giving training to patissiers in both Tokyo and France, Arpajon CEO Kazuharu Matsusaka decided he wanted to go back home to Aomori Prefecture to start his own patisserie business. While training in France, he had begun to realize a deep connection between food and the people and ingredients that make it. He saw that how the food was made affected its flavor and the enjoyment of those eating it.

More than just cold noodles

Aso Takayuki Shoten

Udon is a Japanese noodle made from wheat and widely available all over the country. Above the abundance of choices, however, are the top three: Kagawa Prefecture's Sanuki Udon, Gunma Prefecture's Mizusawa Udon and Akita Prefecture's Inaniwa Udon. It's this latter that's the specialty of Aso Takayuki Shoten.

Fishing a bright future for your skin

Daito-Suisan CO.,LTD

Located in the port of Yaizu in beautiful Shizuoka Prefecture, Daito Suisan Co. began as a fishing concern, harvesting the sea for tuna. Second-generation CEO Keijiro Saito has expanded on the original idea. The company has moored its boats but still produces maguro and katsuo (skipjack) tuna for supermarkets and sushi restaurants.

Keen to diversify, Saito tried out various ideas before a breakthrough came in 2008 with the help of his wife Miho. The discovery was collagen jelly. Tentative at first, swift results convinced them to keep on-and their light, refreshing peach-flavored collagen jelly has been sold ever since. Miho now heads up the company's collagen division.

Sauces, soups and soup stocks, : Healthy food, healthy life

Fuki Food Institute Co., Ltd.

Fuki Food Institute Co., Ltd. is a business genuinely devoted to your health and well-being. Established in 1969 as a sauce producer and reinvented in 1999 as a health-conscious food product manufacturer, CEO Koshu Okada (also president of the Japan Macrobiotic Association) aims to create natural, healthy and delicious foods to give consumers an alternative to the increasingly artificial fare in stores.

The Gift of the Grape, Alcohol-Free



Although many of our social occasions are accompanied by alcoholic beverages, there are many times when drinking is not allowed. Those who can't drink, have to drive, or are under age may want to drink something more flavorful than sparkling grape juice. FRARE FOOD FACTORY CO., LTD. is meeting that need with a unique new beverage.

Japanese sake: Sip your way to a happy face


Niigata Prefecture's Sanjo City is blessed with a heavy, protective, winter blanket of snow, crisp air and the soft, clean water of the Ikarashi River. These are all key elements in the production of fine sake-which Fukugao Brewery has been turning out for over one hundred years. The family firm was established in 1897, and current sixth-generation CEO Akira Kobayashi works alongside a close team including daughter and director Eri Kobayashi. Together, they craft award-winning sake from superlative local ingredients. Niigata is one of Japan's premier rice-growing regions, and the area is rich with brewing history. Fukugao's name consists of two characters: fuku, which means "happy," and gao, which means "face." Kobayashi and his crew believe their sake can put a smile on anyone's face.

Peanut products : Peanut Products for the Planet

Jitsukawa Foods

Volcanic ash pervades the soil of Shimosa Plateau, which covers most of Chiba Prefecture. The nutrients in the rich brown soil have made this area Japan's top producer for peanuts. Ten years ago, Kiyoko Jitsukawa took over the peanut-growing activities of a 50-year-old agricultural company, creating Jitsukawa Foods. Now, with her team of seven employees, the Director works most days at the factory, and it's her energy and positive character tha…

Challenge! International Business: Firm, Smooth Texture Key to Tasty Himi Udon (Report)

Kaizuya, Co., Ltd.

"No matter what it takes, there can be no compromise on the taste of udon" - such a belief is embodied in Himi Udon, which is now being received favorably by high-end restaurants primarily in Asia, and the number of export destinations keeps rising steadily. Frozen noodles have been developed in recent years. It is encouraging to see them address this challenge with a positive attitude.

Fucoidan: Treasures from the deep ocean


The bountiful Okinawa Prefecture island chain is a jewel in the Pacific, bursting with greenery and boasting a subtropical climate different than the more temperate Japanese mainland. It's here that Kanehide Bio Co. Ltd. has its roots.

Black garlic: Embracing the dark side of garlic

Kashiwazaki Seika Co.,Ltd.

Aomori Prefecture is at the northern tip of Japan's main island, Honshu. A beautiful, pastoral prefecture, Aomori is an agricultural powerhouse whose crops grace many tables in Japan and increasingly overseas. At the beginning of the '90s, Aomori local Shinichi Kashiwazaki joined a friend in marketing nagaimo, or Japanese yam. In 1991, Kashiwazaki Seika Co., Ltd. was born. The company now grows, processes and distributes a range of crops including nagaimo, burdock root and daikon radish. But its most eye-catching offering is black garlic-pickled, dried and in its wonderful fresh form.

Noodle: Full-throttle pasta

Kobe Mizho Honpo Inc.

Kobe Mizho Honpo Inc. President and CEO Tomoaki Akiyama brims with confidence. His company's pasta is the best, no question. It was this certainty that took him to the Italian Consulate. As is his style, he cooked up some fresh frozen pasta right there and stood back, waiting for a reaction. The verdict? Delicious. Akiyama knew then that his confidence was rightly placed. If Italians liked his Japan-made pasta, he could surely sell it to the world. And he has.

Ice Cream: Nature's bounty in a bowl of ice cream

Kochi Ice

Ice cream made by the CEO? Only at Kochi Ice. A native of Kochi Prefecture, Fumiya Hamamachi learned his trade from scratch when he worked as a traveling sales agent for a Japanese ice cream maker. His warm personality and easygoing nature won the hearts of many repeat customers around the nation. After several years of training and building relationships, Hamamachi saw a niche in the market. He set up Kochi Ice Co., Ltd. in 1995, a small ice cream factory in Kochi.

Food For The Future

ILS inc.

Formed in 1972 as the central research institute of Ito Ham Foods Inc., the second largest ham and sausage manufacturer in Japan, Ibaraki Prefecture's ILS Inc. is now an independent company in the Otsuka Chemical group under Otsuka Holdings. ILS has become a well-known manufacturer of pharmaceuticals and functional foods in Japan, and through its subsidiary, the American Peptide Company Inc., is one of the global manufacturer of peptide products.

Dried vegetables: Dried vegetables make for healthy snacking and more

Kodama Foods Co., Ltd.

How to cut back on waste-that was the conundrum that plagued Kodama Foods Co., Ltd. founder and current chairman, Tatsuro Kodama, in the years before he founded his namesake company. Originally a purveyor of fresh vegetables, the loss of produce to rot led Kodama to dabble in pickles and finally dried vegetables, which Kodama believed would lead to the least amount of waste.

Pre-cooked, vacuum-packed frozen seafood: A taste of Japan


For many people around the world, the first element of Japanese culture they think of is the food. With sushi and tempura being household names across the globe, people love Japanese cuisine for its subtle and mild flavor and its minimalist approach to fresh seafood. But the majority of international diners know little about what Japanese people really eat on a day-to-day basis. Beyond the well-known iconic dishes, Japan has much more to offer. Fisheries company Kondo Shoten Co., Ltd. is determined to introduce the world to another dimension of Japanese cuisine.

Seaweed : The bounty of the ocean: healthy, delicious seaweed


Marutoku Nori Co. Ltd. hasn't always been focused on nori, the variety of sea vegetable most famously eaten wrapped around sushi. When the company was founded in Hiroshima in 1949, it had its fingers in several different pies, but eventually altered course to focus on the dried seaweed sheets also known as laver. Why the change? Mayumi Hamano, senior managing director, throws her head back and laughs at the question. "Because it's delicious," she answers.

Japanese sake : Aqua vitae from the roof of Japan


Toyama, a prefecture sandwiched between the Japan Alps to the east and the Sea of Japan to the west, is a microcosm of Japan. Here, east meets west and the various micro-cultures of the island nation meet and meld. This mingling makes the sake produced in the region something of an everyman's sake, as in there is a variety of sake to match every taste. In the midst of this cornucopia of diversity is Masudashuzo, a brewery founded in 1893 by …

Japanese sake : For the Sake of Saké


Morikawa Shuzo has weathered challenges aplenty in its 125-year-plus history of preparing high quality saké. Launched in 1887, the family brewery in the Hiroshima hills has survived wartime rice shortages, brewing limits and even the loss of the Morikawa house and business in floods. But with seventh-generation head Tomonori Morikawa at the helm, and younger brother and master brewer Motoharu at the vats, Morikawa Shuzo is looking to surmount a …

Sipping the stars


Named after the constellation in the night sky, Orion Breweries Ltd. was founded in post-war Okinawa, providing struggling youths with job opportunities and helping them reach for the stars. Founder Sosei Gushiken established the company in 1957, and Orion beer hit the shelves soon after. Today, over half a century later, Orion Breweries controls over 50 percent of the Okinawan beer market and has a loyal following in mainland Japan. What's more, drinkers all over the world are starting to get acquainted with this light, refreshing beer that stands alone just as well as it complements a fine, flavorful meal.

Soy sauce : Tailor-made traditional tastes

Shoda Shoyu Co., Ltd.

Started in 1873, Shoda Shoyu Co. Ltd. is one of the larger manufacturers of soy sauce in Japan. In the 140 years since its formation by Bun-emon Shoda III, Shoda Shoyu has not only transformed itself but also the town of Tatebayashi in Gunma Prefecture where it was founded. It has grown to employ over 370 people in four factories—with three of those in Japan and one in Europe.

Seafood : Seafood selected by the experts

Suiken Co., Ltd.

As a country surrounded by water, Japan's food culture is fixated on fish. Throughout its history, the Japanese have looked at fish in a different way than other cultures and have a particularly strong preference for seafood. In Kyushu, there's one place in particular where fish is the focus—at the port where the fresh catches of the day land. At 3 a.m., an intense auction is held among the top fish experts who gather from every corner of Japa …

Mayonnaise, dressings and sauces : The Taste of Quality

U-SIDE Co., Ltd.

At U-Side CO. Ltd., a small Kyoto-based seasoning manufacture, little things are the big difference. Yoshinori Kubota did not plan on making mayonnaise when he established the company in 1983. His later decision of including mayonnaise to the product lineup is because a number of products use he same ingredients and had similar production processes. Today, Sei-agri mayonnaise has become U-side's flagship product.

Sweet potato shochu: Introducing traditional sweet potato shochu to the world

Yachiyoden Distilling inc.

For the Yagi family, 2004 marked the end of a long wait. Their family shochu (traditional Japanese distilled liquor) business, established in 1928 but shuttered when the shochu industry hit hard times, was set to reopen as the Japanese shochu boom gathered steam. It was a momentous occasion for Eijyu "Andrew" Yagi, the current CEO and grandson of founder Eikichi Yagi, who had always dreamed of reintroducing his family's brand of sweet potato shochu to Japan.

Miso and Soy Sauce : Over 140 years of quality soy goods


With the Minase River to the east and the Omono River to the west, Yuzawa, a town in Akita Prefecture, is home to some of the most fertile land in northern Japan. As such, the area produces a large amount of high-quality rice. The supply of rice and abundance of clean water made the perfect location for the Yamamo Miso and Soy Sauce Brewing Company. Founded in 1867 by Mosuke Takahashi and incorporated as TAKAMO & Corp., the company has produced …

Japanese sake : A Toast for the World with Quality Saké

Yoshikubo Brewing Co., Ltd

Founded as a rice company back in 1790, the delicious water of Mito, in Japan's Ibaraki Prefecture, provided the calling for a long history of saké brewing. Yoshikubo Brewing Co., Ltd has also benefited from a perfect climate, with intense summers and winters allowing unparalleled quality in rice wine. 230 years later, the artisanal skill has been mastered, with 12th-generation Hiroyuki Yoshikubo now leading the team of 18 local employees.