Top 5 Japanese Winter Foods You Must Try

Seasons are Japan’s specialty, and winter is no exception. If you’re travelling in Japan this winter (or any winter), make sure to try at least some of the winter specialties.

Here we introduce some of our favorite Japanese winter food and where to eat some of them on Awaji Island. If you are unable to visit the island in winter the more general article on food travel on Awaji might be to your interest.

1. Oden

Oden (おでん) holds a special place in the hearts of many, young and old alike. This traditional Japanese stew is a one-pot wonder, featuring a medley of ingredients such as fish cakes, tofu, Daikon (radish), boiled eggs, and konjac, all gently simmered in a dashi-based broth. The broth, infused with soy sauce, mirin (sweet rice wine), and dashi (stock made with kombu, shavings of dried fish, and more), imparts a comforting and savory flavor. Oden is a winter favorite, offering solace during chilly weather with its rich and hearty taste.

2. Nabe Hot Pot

Nabe, a communal hot pot dish, brings people together around a bubbling pot of broth at the dining table. Meats, seafoods, tofu, and an assortment of vegetables like napa cabbage, mushrooms, and leeks take a dip into the flavorful broth. Nabe comes in various regional variations in ingredients, with the broth seasoned by miso, soy sauce, or a combination of ingredients. The term “nabe” encompasses a diverse range of stews and soups, from the sumo-specialty chanko-nabe to the versatile yosenabe, a mix of vegetables, seafoods and meats in a dashi broth.

For meat enthusiasts, options abound, from the hearty motsunabe, featuring beef and/or pork offal, to the elegant sukiyaki, where thin slices of beef, tofu cubes and other ingredients dance in a sweet soy sauce-based broth. Shabu-shabu, a popular hot pot style, takes its name from the swishing sound of thinly sliced meat as it cooks swiftly in the hot broth.

Where to eat it on Awaji Island: Kaen-nabe Shangri-La

Shangri-La’s special hot pot “Huaen Nabe” uses selected ingredients from Awaji Island boiled in two types of hot pot soups: white soup and spicy soup, which are made with pork bones and chicken bones as a base.

Name Ladybird Road
Address 95-2, Nojima Todoroki, Awaji Shi, Hyogo Ken, 656-1722
Parking lot 44 cars (500 yen/day)
Operation Hours Varies from store to store.
Tel 0799-64-7530

3. Zenzai/Oshiruko

Zenzai, is a sweet soup of red beans still in a shape of beans accompanied by mochi. Oshiruko on the other hand is a sweet soup made with red beans crushed and cooked till they become liquid. Oshiruko is sometimes even sold at vending machines as a canned drink exclusively during winter. Both zenzai and oshiruko can easily be bought at any supermarket. Both of them offer a sweet escape from the cold.

4. Sukiyaki

Sukiyaki, akin to hot pot, takes center stage with a focus on beef. Simmered in a sweet and soy sauce-based broth, this winter delight includes thin-sliced beef, tofu, leek, crown daisy (shungiku), shiitake mushrooms, and shirataki noodles with some variations based on a region. Most of the time it is enjoyed with a raw egg, as diners select ingredients from the pot and dip them into the beaten egg, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.

Where to eat it on Awaji Island: Aman no Shokutaku – Sajiki


Aman restaurant’s 2nd Floor Sajiki offers an exclusive sukiyaki experience where you cook the meat yourself in the boiling broth in front of you adding the vegetables and ingredients of your choice.

Click here for reservations Utage Click here for reservations Sajiki

Name Aman no Shokutaku
1F Utage
2F Sajiki
Address 1042 Nojima-Tokiwa, Awaji City, Hyogo Pref. 656-1726
Tel "Utage” 0799-70-9089
“Sajiki” 0799-70-9090
Operation Hours “Utage”: Weekdays 11:00~21:00 (L.O. 20:00) / Sat., Sun. & Holidays 10:30~21:00 (L.O. 20:00)
“Sajiki” 11:00~15:00 / 17:00~21:00 (L.O.19:30) Closed: Tuesdays
Website https://amannoshokutaku.jp/
Reservations: Utage https://www.tablecheck.com/en/shops/aman-utage/reserve
Reservations: Sajiki https://www.tablecheck.com/en/shops/aman-sajiki/reserve

Click here for details of Aman no Shokutaku

5. Strawberries

Surprisingly, winter in Japan heralds the arrival of strawberries as a seasonal delight. While these berries might evoke thoughts of summer elsewhere, in Japan, they become a special part of winter festivities, taking center stage on the Japanese version of a Christmas cake. During this season, strawberries are not only reasonably priced in stores but also feature prominently in many restaurants offering strawberry-themed delicacies, adding a touch of sweetness to the winter chill.
Originally strawberries were harvested and sold from spring to early summer. However, with quality improvements and being raised in greenhouses, strawberries are in season starting winter through early summer, giving joy to many people for a longer period.

Where to eat it on Awaji Island: many options!

Farmer’s Restaurant Haru San San offers a strawberry parfait and miele has it’s unique strawberry pizza to blow your minds up!

Stay tuned for all the places you can find delicious and creative food with strawberry on Awaji Island this winter!

Click here for reservations

Name Farmer’s Restaurant – Haru San San
Address 1510-4 Nojima-tokiwa Aza Genpachi, Awaji City, Hyogo Pref. 656-1726
Tel 0799-70-9082
Operation Hours 11:00-18:00(L.O.17:00)
Closed Wednesdays
Website https://www.awaji-nlr.com/harusansan
Reservations https://www.tablecheck.com/en/shops/noukarestaurant-haru-sansan/reserve

Click here for details of Haru San San

Name miele
Adress 785-9 Nojimahikinoura, Awaji City, Hyogo Pref. 656-1721
Tel 0799-80-2600
Operation Hours Weekdays 11:00~19:00 (L.O.18:30)
Sat., Sun, & Public Holidays 9:30~19:30 (L.O.19:00)
Closed: Tuesdays
In Aug. and Sept. it will not be closed on Tuesdays
Website https://www.miele-da-scuola.com/

Click here for details of miele


In conclusion, Japan’s winter culinary landscape is a diverse and delightful journey through a variety of cuisines. Embracing these seasonal delights will certainly make your Japan travel more memorable!