In the course of launching the first Michelin guide for Japan, Jean-Luc Naret, the former Director of MICHELIN guides, has recognized the defining characteristics of Japan’s food scene: national passion for foods, the sheer number of restaurants and their diversity, and the quality of the chefs.
The Japanese perhaps are the world’s best connoisseur of food exhibiting great curiosity about gastronomy.
Dozens of magazines and about half of all prime-time television in Japan is in some way related to food and eating. Many shows exist simply to keep viewers updated on the staggering number of new restaurants opening in major cities every week.
“Japanese cuisine is dynamic, diverse, rich and interesting," Naret said.
For Japanese people, cuisine is not a mere feeding activity but the composite enjoyment including; dining out and cooking for themselves, family members, or friends.
At the same time, it’s a composite art encompassing; its ingredients and cooking techniques, tableware and furnishings, arranging the foods on dishes of various colors, its architecture, and the spirituality and aesthetic sense epitomized by the art of flower arrangement and the tea ceremony.
A facet of this enthusiasm is seen the sheer number and diversity of restaurants in Japan.
Japan has a unique food culture: various good fresh ingredients of sea and mountains, seasonings that adds to the dishes’ tastiness, Japanese sense of taste represented by umami and intense curiosity about savoring variety of foods.
Tokyo is a rare city you can try various kinds of cuisine from all over the world. The diversity is not only found in their origins but also can be seen in menu or in atmosphere - store size and facilities.
Japanese have never been conservative about trying unforeknown foods or ingredients but incorporated imported food from across the world, and have historically adapted many to make them their own.
Fine eating is something of a national obsession and the preparation of the perfect dish is seen as a natural extension of the national spirit of monozukuri ― the "making of things".
One of the major attractions of traveling throughout Japan is trying different local cuisines in every town you visit.