Japanese cuisine is far more diversified than the plethora of sushi restaurants overseas might otherwise suggest. Furthermore, the quality of the food is unrivaled. This is partly driven by the Japanese people’s fastidiousness about the sourcing and freshness of what is on their plate—in the supermarkets you will often see the origin of domestic produce right down to the exact region of Japan and sell-by dates precise to the hour.
Japanese cuisine is meat heavy and vegetarians—and especially vegans—may face limited options when looking at the menus in many restaurants; although specialist vegetarian establishments are increasingly springing up in the capital.
There is no custom of tipping in Japan. Many restaurants do, however, serve an o-toshi: an obligatory bite-sized starter for which you will be charged a couple of hundred yen.
Lunch is also worthy of note. Many office workers eat out at lunch and the fierce competition for their custom means that just about all restaurants offer set menus (tei-shoku) for around ¥1,000. Even the more expensive restaurants get in on the act with establishments that might charge upwards of ¥6,000 for dinner offering set menus for ¥1,500-2,000. For those visiting on a budget lunchtime is an excellent chance to experience all the delicacies Japanese cuisine has to offer.
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