What do Japanese eat for breakfast? An Introduction to breakfast culture in Japan

Dear Japanese drama or anime lovers – you may be familiar with the scene that the characters are having their breakfast. Breakfast has been an important routine for Japanese. According to research done by a website called “katteni ranking”, 69% of the respondents do eat breakfast every day. Only 10% of the respondents do not have the habit of having breakfast. Let’s look into this interesting breakfast culture in Japan!

The “best” place of breakfast – home!

In the report, over 80% of the respondents claimed that they eat at home. Over half of them make their breakfast by themselves, where the remaining ones get their breakfast prepared by their family members. Japanese love to have breakfast at home not just because making breakfast your own is more healthy but also save your wallet compared to eating out!

Well, if you really don’t want to have breakfast at home as you are lazy for it, you can still have the meal outside. Some restaurants, coffee shops, and even gyudon restaurants do provide breakfast. You can also buy origiri, bread, or a sandwich at convenience stores. Here is a breakfast set from Sukiya, a gyudon restaurant.


What do Japanese usually eat for breakfast?

There are generally two types of Japanese when it comes to breakfast. The ones that want rice for breakfast, and the ones who want bread. Having rice would be a closer choice to the traditional Japanese eating habit, but it is found that those who choose bread over rice for breakfast is increasing. From the data of “katteni ranking” and a website called “Insight signal,” it seems that bread is slightly more popular than rice in modern Japan, especially for females.


While for the side dishes that they eat with rice, it is found that the most popular combination would be miso soup, pickles, and fish. Nutrition is always the main point other than taste!

This is the most common Japanese style breakfast combo. It usually contains grill fish, miso soup, salad and a bowl of rice!
Japanese people also love having natto. Foreigners may find natto hard to accept because of its smell and texture!
Another very traditional side dish for Japanese breakfast is pickled plum (umeboshi). Umeboshi tastes salty and sour, they are usually served as a side dish for rice or eaten on rice balls.

Though it seems complicated, many said that this breakfast actually can be prepared within 15 minutes.


Some Japanese may think having rice for breakfast is too “Japanese” or kind of old school. That’s why they tend to have bread for breakfast instead of having a full Japanese style breakfast with rice and soup.

Toast with jam and fried egg is simple but tasty!

Bread and milk, as simple as it is.
Toast with red bean paste.

”Morning Service”: enjoy your morning in Cafe!

In Japan, there is a breakfast culture called “Morning Service” (モーニングサービス). Cafes would provide drinks and meals like sandwiches and toast at a cheap price during the morning. This culture is said to be started in Aichi, Gifu, or Hiroshima, while the most famous one maybe is Ichinomiya City in Aichi Prefecture. 

Till now, you can enjoy this morning service in different cafes. When you order a drink, they will serve you with a plentiful breakfast set. Here is a menu of a cafe in Nagoya, Aichi. They serve these breakfast set to customers at a price of drink+150 yen.


Do enjoy the culture of breakfast in Japan when you’re there!