What is Washoku and Why is it Cultural Heritage Listed?

Have you ever heard of ‘washoku’?

It’s the traditional Japanese cuisine (washoku; ‘wa’ – Japanese, ‘shoku’ – relating to food) which was awarded UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013!

We use the freshest and healthiest produce!

One reason for washoku’s heritage listing was because of the rise in popularity of Western cuisines over Japanese cuisine, which sadly overlooked the cooking techniques that have been used in Japan for centuries in conjunction with using the freshest seasonal produce.

The heritage listing highlights the famously healthy Japanese diet which is fabulous! It consists of a lot of fish, rice and seasonal vegetables which offers superior health benefits in comparison to popularised and sometimes unhealthy Western diets that use a lot of salt, sugar and processed foods. However, the cultural heritage also sought to boost the Japanese economy after its decline following the terrible earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

A different type of comfort food…

Cooking instructor and washoku enthusiast, Reiko Yoshikawa, says Japanese food “means happiness, the gathering, of being together.” Yoshikawa also says nutrition reflects our appreciation of nature, which coincides with the basic composition of the typical Japanese meal of rice with ichiju sansai (one soup and three side dishes), which supposedly has the ideal nutritional balance. Because washoku makes skillful use of the umami flavour, very little animal fat is used. This is one cause of the longevity of Japanese people, which also helps to prevent obesity.

Ichiju sansai (one soup and three side dishes)


You can find out more about Japanese Superfoods used in practising washoku in my cookbook, Cooking with Soy. Click the image below to check out how you can make washoku-style meals and eat sustainably and healthily with simple Japanese Superfood ingredients!



Do you know I run a cooking school in Sydney?

Please come and join my healthy Japanese superfoods cooking class in Sydney. We offer vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free cooking classes that are filled with tasty and easy recipes. You will learn not only cooking skills and tips but also how to use Japanese ancient wisdom on a daily basis for your health, energy, and beauty! Don’t be afraid to make it a group event, team building cooking classes, hens party cooking classes and other group classes are available, the more the merrier! Join my cooking class from HERE or leave me an inquiry HERE.

You don’t live in Sydney?

Don’t worry, I run online Japanese cooking courses! but I open the course 3 times a year. So if you want to be notified,  just drop your email address HERE.


Happy Japanese superfoods cooking xx

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