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Is brunch a thing in Japan?

Brunch has become a popular meal of choice for many in the Western world. However, its popularity has yet to spread to some parts of the East, including Japan. Despite this, many restaurants in Japan have started to introduce brunch menus to cater to the growing demand. With a mix of traditional Japanese breakfast items and Western brunch classics, brunch in Japan is becoming an exciting fusion of cultures and flavors. So, is brunch a thing in Japan? Let’s find out.

Brunch Culture in Japan

Japan has an illustrious culinary history with iconic dishes such as sushi, udon, and ramen. However, the brunch culture in Japan has not been as widespread as in Western countries. Here, we explore the idea of brunch in Japan and what makes it unique.

The Concept of Brunch in Japan

The word ‘brunch’ is not a familiar term in Japan, and the concept of combining breakfast and lunch into one meal is not a traditional practice in the country. Japanese breakfast typically consists of rice, miso soup, fish, and pickled vegetables, while lunch often consists of a bento box or noodles. However, in recent years, the popularity of brunch has been on the rise in Japan, especially in Tokyo’s cosmopolitan areas.

Brunch in Tokyo

Tokyo is home to an array of signature brunch spots, catering to locals and visitors alike. From trendy cafes to luxurious hotels, the city has a diverse brunch scene to offer. Popular brunch menus in Tokyo include avocado toast, pancakes, and eggs benedict. These dishes are often paired with a hot cup of coffee or freshly squeezed juice to kick off the day.

Tokyo Brunch

Brunch in Kyoto

When it comes to culture and tradition, Kyoto is one of Japan’s most celebrated cities. However, hidden among its streets are some of Japan’s finest brunch destinations. Streets lined with traditional wooden houses and quaint cafes make for an idyllic brunch setting. Kyoto’s brunch spots offer authentic Japanese breakfasts alongside Western-inspired menus, making it a unique brunch experience.

Kyoto Brunch

How Brunch Differs in Japan

While the concept of brunch is the same in Japan as in the West, there are several differences in the way it’s served and eaten. For example, traditional Japanese breakfast plates are served in small portions, while brunch menus are generally fuller and more hearty. Moreover, breakfast in Japan is typically eaten at home, while brunch is more of a social activity, enjoyed with friends and family outside the home.

Brunch Time in Japan

Another distinctive feature of brunch culture in Japan is the time of day it’s eaten. While brunch is typically a late morning or early afternoon meal in the West, in Japan, it’s usually served from 10 a.m. to around 2 p.m. The timing of brunch in Japan makes it an ideal meal for weekends and holidays.

Popular Brunch Dishes in Japan

Japanese brunch menus are a fusion of traditional and contemporary dishes, with most restaurants offering both Japanese and Western-style brunch menus. While avocado toast and pancakes are popular dishes, several Japanese breakfast staples remain on the menu, including tamagoyaki (rolled omelet), katsu-don (pan-fried pork cutlet), and ochazuke (rice served with green tea).

Japanese Breakfast Dishes

The Growing Popularity of Brunch in Japan

While brunch has been a part of Japanese cuisine for several years, it’s only recently that it has become an increasingly popular mealtime. The shift towards the brunch culture is attributed to the rise in cafes and the younger generation’s exposure to foreign cultures. As a result, brunch culture has become more widespread, leading to more diverse menus and an increase in brunch spots across the country.

The Future of Brunch in Japan

Brunch culture in Japan is still relatively new, with many Japanese people still unaware of the concept of brunch. However, the popularity of brunch is expected to continue to grow, driven by the younger generation’s increasing exposure to Western cuisine. While it may not be as traditional as other meals, brunch has undoubtedly established itself as a trendy part of Japan’s culinary scene.

The Verdict on Brunch in Japan

The brunch culture in Japan may not be as widespread as in Western countries, but it’s undoubtedly on the rise. With a unique fusion of traditional and contemporary dishes, brunch in Japan offers a distinct culinary experience. So, if you’re in Japan, why not give brunch a try?

Japan Brunch

Brunch Culture in Japan: A Comprehensive Guide

Japan is a country rich in culture and tradition, and its food culture is no exception. While breakfast and lunch are firmly established meal times in Japan, what about brunch? Is it a thing in Japan? In this article, we will take a closer look at the brunch culture in Japan.

The Definition of Brunch

Brunch is a meal that combines elements of breakfast and lunch and is typically served between late morning and early afternoon on weekends. It usually features dishes such as eggs, bacon, pancakes, and waffles, as well as more lunch-like items such as salads and sandwiches.

The Traditions of Breakfast and Lunch in Japan

Before we dive into the brunch culture, it’s important to understand the traditions of breakfast and lunch in Japan. Breakfast, known as “Asa-gohan,” is typically a light meal consisting of rice, miso soup, fish, and pickled vegetables. Lunch, or “Hiru-gohan,” is a more substantial meal that often features rice, meat or fish, and a side dish or two.

Brunch Options in Japan

While brunch may not be a traditional meal in Japan, there are still plenty of options available for those looking for a late-morning meal. Some cafes and restaurants offer brunch menus that feature a mix of Japanese and Western-style dishes. Some examples include French toast with fruit, eggs Benedict with wasabi hollandaise, and sandwiches made with Japanese-style bread.

Western Brunch Chains in Japan

In recent years, Western-style brunch chains such as Eggs ‘n Things and Bills have opened up locations in Japan. These restaurants serve brunch favorites such as pancakes, eggs, and bacon, but with a Japanese twist. For example, Eggs ‘n Things serves matcha pancakes and green tea latte, while Bills offers Japanese-style scrambled eggs with rice.

Brunch Culture in Tokyo

Tokyo, being one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Japan, has a thriving brunch culture. From elegant hotel brunches to cozy cafes, there are plenty of options for brunch-goers in Tokyo. Some popular spots include Andaz Tokyo’s Rooftop Brunch, which boasts stunning views of the city, and Ivy Place, a stylish cafe in the trendy Daikanyama neighborhood.

Brunch Culture in Osaka

Osaka, known for its vibrant food culture, also has a growing brunch scene. Some popular spots include Cafe Cielo e Terra, which serves a mix of Japanese and Western brunch dishes, and Lilo Coffee Roasters, a popular coffee house that also offers a brunch menu.

Brunch Culture in Kyoto

Kyoto, with its rich history and stunning temples, may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of brunch. However, there are still some great brunch spots in this historic city. Some popular options include Weekenders Coffee, a cozy cafe serving homemade pastries and artisanal coffee, and Koe Donuts, which offers a unique brunch option of donuts and coffee.

Brunch Culture in Other Parts of Japan

While the brunch culture may be most prominent in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, there are still plenty of places in other parts of Japan that offer brunch. Some notable locations include Nagano’s Kamikochi area, which has several cafes and restaurants serving brunch with a mountain view, and Ishigaki Island in Okinawa, where you can enjoy a beachside brunch with a tropical twist.

The Bottom Line

While brunch may not be a traditional meal in Japan, it’s clear that the brunch culture is growing in popularity. From Western-style chains to Japanese fusion menus, there are plenty of options for those seeking a late-morning meal. Whether you’re in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, or beyond, there’s sure to be a brunch spot that suits your tastes.

Traditional Japanese Cuisine and Meal Structure

For many, one of the main reasons to visit Japan is to experience the culture, and for foodies, there is no better way to experience Japanese culture than through cuisine. Although not always apparent to tourists, Japanese cuisine has a unique meal structure and traditional dishes that make it one of the most respected and popular culinary customs in the world.

Traditional Japanese Cuisine

The Japanese Meal Structure

In Japan, meals are considered a time for socializing and bonding with family, friends, and colleagues. Unlike many western countries, the Japanese meal structure typically consists of a combination of rice, soup, and side dishes. A typical Japanese meal will usually include:

Component of a Japanese Meal Description
Rice Japanese cuisine often revolves around rice, which is usually served steamed and as a side dish.
Soup Miso soup is a staple of Japanese cuisine and is typically served with every meal.
Main Dish The main dish can consist of fish, meat, or vegetables, and is usually grilled, steamed, or fried.
Side Dish Side dishes can consist of anything from pickles to stir-fried vegetables, to tofu, and are served alongside the main dish.

Brunch Culture in Japan

Although Japan has slowly adopted Western customs in recent years, brunch culture is not as prominent as in the west. Many Japanese people have busy work schedules and prefer to eat quick and efficient meals during the day. Although there is a growing desire for eateries that cater to early brunch menus, most of them are located in the large cities such as Tokyo and Osaka.

Western Brunch at Japanese Eateries

Despite brunch not being a common culture in Japan, more and more eateries are offering Western-styled brunch menus to cater to tourists and the brunch enthusiasts living in the cities. Many of these eateries are found in trendy neighborhoods and offer a fusion of Japanese and Western flavors. For example, bacon-wrapped eggs, toasts, hamburgers, and pancakes have appeared on brunch menus at Japanese restaurants, and they are often served with a Japanese twist.

Japanese food


Although brunch culture has not yet taken off in Japan, visitors and tourists can still enjoy discovering traditional Japanese cuisine and meal structures. Japan’s food culture is unique and continues to be a sought-after culinary experience for millions of travelers around the world. So, if you’re visiting Japan, don’t miss out on the culinary adventure that awaits you.

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Come brunch with us!

We hope that this article has given you an insight into the world of brunch in Japan. While it may not be as popular as it is in the western world, the Japanese have their own unique way of enjoying their meals. If you ever find yourself in Japan, make sure to try out some of their brunch offerings. Thank you for reading and we hope to see you again soon for more food adventures!

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