Posted by: ジャパンホッパーズ編集部(Japan Hoppers Editors) 19 Oct 2015 Sponsored

"Washoku": Recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage

In recent years, most foreign visitors who come to Japan come here for the food. In December 2013 washoku (Japanese-style cuisine) was registered in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List, and as a result the interest in washoku is growing every year. UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage includes such intangible cultural heritage as traditions, cultural habits, and lifestyles. Its purpose is to preserve this culture for the future. In recent years,

It is not only the food that is being evaluated

The Japanese food itself (sushi etc.) was not listed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. "Washoku"is defined on the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture’s webpage as "traditional Japanese social practices that formed the culture of food consumption". This is what was registered as Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Not the food itself, but rather the unique food culture that coexists with nature was evaluated.

Isn’t "washoku" culture becoming extinct?

The fact that Japanese food has been registered as Intangible Cultural Heritage is probably appealing for foreigners. On the other hand, maybe the fact that it was listed as "heritage" means that Japanese people have forgotten their own food culture.

It might be a good time for us Japanese to reflect on our spirit that strives to live in harmony with nature. Even if the lifestyle changes with time, the spirit of the nation remains the same.

Popular Washoku Restaurants in Tokyo


This is a Japanese restaurant that has obtained three stars from the Michelin Gourmet Guide. Mr. Kanda, the owner of the restaurant, worked for 5 years in a Japanese restaurant in Paris. After returning to Japan, he trained in a famous Japanese restaurant and in 2004 opened his own restaurant. The concept of the restaurant is conveying vision, passion, and art through cuisine. You can sense the attentiveness and consideration to detail in every corner of the restaurant and this creates the perfect environment in which to enjoy food and alcohol in.  In order to attract more customers, there is no set menu; instead, they serve you many types of food that are within the limits of your budget. The feeling at the counter is unforgettable.

Restaurant Information

Address: Tokyo, Minato-ku, Moto-Azabu 3-6-34, Kamu Moto-Azabu 1F
住所:東京都港区元麻布3-6-34 カーム元麻布1F

Nihonryori Ryugin(日本料理 龍吟)

This is a restaurant in Roppongi that proudly brings Japanese cuisine to the world. It is run by Yamamoto Seiji and is popular not only among the Japanese clientele but also foreigners. The food that makes up the course is left up to the discretion of the chef. The dishes are carefully hand-selected by Mr.  Yamamoto and beautifully represent the richness of Japanese nature and also have the power to influence the diners. The cooking methods are strictly observed and even though new flavors are added all the time, the temperature and flavor of each dish are controlled so that the diners can experience the quality and ingredients of this wonderful cuisine.

Restaurant Information

Iya" target="_blank">Nihonryori Ryugin(日本料理 龍吟)
Address: Tokyo, Minato-ku, Roppongi 7-17-24 Side-Roppongi Bld. 1F

Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima(新宿割烹 中嶋)

This restaurant has obtained one star from Michelin Guide. The restaurant uses seasonal ingredients and while preserving Japanese traditional cuisine, it also ventures into new areas. The grandfather of the current owner, Kitaoji Rosanjin, was the owner and first-generation master chef at "Hoshigaokasaryo". His father then branched off and opened Nakajima in Shinjuku. The current owner is his heir, and his hereditary culinary DNA is evident in the food. The restaurant is frequently featured on television, in print, and in other media. The specialty dish is "Owan".  The owner puts his utmost effort into making this dish, as it is an embodiment of Japanese cuisine. Naturally, other dishes are of utmost quality and tastiness as well.

Restaurant information

Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima(新宿割烹 中嶋)
Address: Tokyo, Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 3-32-5, Nichihara Bld. B1
住所:東京都新宿区新宿3-32-5日原ビル B1

株式会社ポケットメニュー / Pocket Menu Co., Ltd.

On the restaurant reservation web-site “Pocket Concierge” , reservations for restaurants that have been awarded three Michelin Stars or famous restaurants that you cannot make a reservation at are subject to booking. A settlement service is provided in such cases.