Food Japan Tokyo

Breakfast in Japan

When it comes to breakfast, it never fails to amuse how one culture interprets another’s dietary requirements. For example, some of the larger hotels cater for most tastes by supplying an assortment of breakfast options for their guests. We no longer bat a sleepy eyelid at the morning smorgasbord where smoked eel sit alongside hash browns, bran and cereal compete with crispy bacon and fried eggs, or raw fish becomes an alternative to buttery croissants.

But one Japanese hotel’s take on what constitutes a westerner’s breakfast had me reaching for my camera well before my coffee.

Breakfast in Japan

Clockwise from the left and occupying a third of the plate is a thick slice of white toast, a versatile chunk that can be spread with the supplied butter and jam (not shown) or eaten with anything on the platter. Next, a healthy green salad chopped haphazardly and dressed in a few drops of mayonnaise. Nothing like a little tartness in the dressing to kick-start the day. Next, four cubes of preserved fruit may tempt the eye but they drowned the palate in syrupy sweetness.

Then came the piece de resistance, the chunky tomato soup that was responsible for the taking of this photograph. The tomato-esque broth smelled too rich for a morning meal and judging by the consistency, it would have tasted a little watered down. I’m sure my stomach thanked me for not being adventurous on that occasion.

Next came a piece of processed meat topped with two tiny cocktail frankfurts, presumably out of an imported tin can. LBDs (use your imagination on the D!), as we call them in Australia, are not a visually appetising alternative in the morning. And finally, one fried egg, which was a little too cold to be enjoyed to my liking.

Breakfast was served by uniformed staff with a smile and the obligatory bow from behind a long bar. With guests perched high on bar stools, there was no time to linger. After all, the percolated coffee with UHT milk and sachet sugar did little to awaken the senses in the morning, which explains the poor composition and blurred photograph below.

Japanese Coffee

Douzo meshiagare. Bon appétit!


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.


  • Never thought about it but you’re right, it is funny to see how different cuisines are interperted around the world. I think sausage, eggs, and toast is seen as Western-diet essentials.

    • Anil – Makes me wonder how we as Westerners deliver what we consider to be a traditional Japanese breakfast.

  • Very funny.  It all looks like little plastic replicas of food on a plate. Perfect for a photograph.  I sang in Japan years ago, and the producers of my show thought that we wanted a Western Meal as soon as we arrived. We talked them out of it, but they ended up bringing us out for Chinese Food.

  • Japan is one of the countries we most want to visit because it is so similar (1st world country, capitalist, technology) yet so diametrically opposite to the United States. On the upside, at least the hotel was kind enough to try their hand at a “western” breakfast. Too bad they didn’t quite get it right. 🙂

  • I can think of lots of places in the UK and Australia that serve whacky brekkies. But Japan has  a unique style. On a recent trip to Oxford, I had a very unusual mixture of breakfast items served in an old gaol, which has been converted to a hotel called Malmaison. The aspect that particular freaked me out was the bill! Love those pounds.

  • Dave and Deb – Yes! And it does have a kind of 2001 Space Odyssey look to it.
    Singing in Japan? You continually amaze me 🙂

    Akila – I loved Japan so much that I wouldn’t hesitate to go back. It may feel a little daunting at first but once you’re there, the Japanese have their way of making you feel welcome. I give them points for the toast, maybe the egg. But the tomato soup and salad is an acquired breakfast taste!

    Michael – Hello and welcome 🙂
    I can imagine the reactions when visitors to Australia are given Vegemite to taste.
    Your Oxford breakfast sounds like a fun experience. I hope they didn’t serve anything like gruel! Ah yes, the joys of paying pounds for dollars…