Given Japan’s strong culinary culture, it’s no wonder that food features prominently in a slew of Japanese films and animation. Immerse yourself in Japanese cuisine culture by viewing these top-rated Japanese food movies and anime from the comfort of your own home.
Watching Japanese food movies – A good way to entertain
We no longer need to travel to Japan to have a delectable Japanese lunch. However, there is always a fascination with Japanese cuisine, as well as its etiquette and significance in Japanese culture and society. If you aren’t planning a trip to Japan anytime soon, watching Japanese food movies is a good approach to begin observing and comprehending it. Traveling without having to move!
Top 10 Japanese food movies to binge-watch now
1. Tampopo (1985/2016)
Ramen is the most important dish in Japanese cuisine. Tampopo is a Japanese movie about food featuring a large ensemble of bizarre characters, each with its own food-related plot.
The film begins with two truck drivers, Goro and Gun, seeking refuge in a small, local ramen cafe during a torrential storm. Tampopo, the store’s owner, is a troubled widow on a mission to improve the ramen recipe, and Goro and Gun naturally decide to provide an assist in her quest. Tampopo is a must-see film with a mix of hilarious and poignant moments, and it’s even better if you watch it while eating ramen.
2. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2012)
You don’t have to be a sushi aficionado or a Japanophile to fall in love with this Japanese food movie. All you need is an open heart. It’s also not a bad idea to eat on an empty stomach. Jiro Dreams of Sushi tells the story of Jiro Ono, the world’s oldest chef with three Michelin stars and widely considered the world’s greatest sushi maestro. Featuring saliva-inducing, stunning close-ups of steamed rice and ultra-fresh sashimi, this documentary is ultimately a narrative about the pursuit of perfection and its cost.
3. Sweet Bean (2015)
Sweet Bean is a movie about food that centers on the Japanese pancake dorayaki. A considerable amount of sweetened azuki bean paste is sandwiched between two pancakes to make this delight.
Watch this heartwarming Japanese film about a dorayaki shop owner’s friendship with a 76-year-old woman who has a secret delicious red bean recipe. Sweet Bean illuminates the important morals associated in Japanese culinary tradition, such as patience, perseverance, and dedication, as he teaches her the basics of dorayaki preparation. This film not only teaches you how to make dorayaki in a meticulous but satisfying manner, but it also tugs at your heartstrings with its portrayal of the two main characters’ relationship.
4. Rinco’s Restaurant (2011)
Rinco and her desire of owning a restaurant are the focus of this oddball cooking movie. The film opens with a song that introduces Rinco, her dream, and her family, with strong underlying themes of mother-daughter connections. Rinco’s voice vanishes after escaping a self-absorbed mother with a promiscuous reputation to live with an ailing grandmother. A tragedy and other painful events force Rinco’s voice to go. Rinco is forced to return home to her mother and her spoilt pet pig because she has no voice and just her grandmother’s precious pot of miso to her name. Keep an eye out for oddities unique to Japan, kawaii (cute) animations, and a dash of magic.
5. Patisserie Coin de Rue (2011)
If you’ve managed to avoid licking the screen so far, this Japanese food movie will break it. Have faith in us. Patisserie Coin de Rue is a sweet tooth’s nightmare, bringing food porn to a whole new level. After completing it, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for a pastry or two. It’s the narrative of Natsume, a persistent but frequently outspoken young woman who leaves her village of Kagoshima for Tokyo in order to find her boyfriend (who moved there for a job at the reputable Coin de Rue Patisserie.) As a result of one occurrence leading to another, Natsume decides to pursue a career as a pastry chef.
6. Little Forest Summer/Autumn (2014)
This one is particularly dear to me since the sceneries of Japanese peaks, rivers, and fruit trees remind me of my old home in the northern mountains of Okayama. Little Forest is a piece of art that brilliantly captures the countryside and the daily lives of the people who live there. It also includes simple-to-follow recipes and a wealth of takeaway knowledge. Rice farming, jam manufacturing, duck slaughtering, canned cherry tomatoes, homemade Nutella, and amazake are among them (also featured on my DYKWTI column). It is neither, however, a cookery show, nor is it a full-fledged drama. I’ve never seen anything like it before.
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7. The Chef of South Polar (2009)
The trouble with this one is that if you don’t see it while in Japan, you won’t be able to truly satisfy your fresh sashimi needs afterward. The Chef of South Polar – a cooking movie on Netflix, like Tampopo, is more on the “masculine” side of the films on this list. The video chronicles the escapades of seven Japanese men who were stranded for 400 days at the Dome Fuji research station in the Antarctic. The hero here is Nishimura, a real-life arctic chef whose real-life experiences and book inspired this film. His goal was to become the chef de cuisine at Dome Fuji. The Chef of South Polar is a top-notch visual feast, a wonderful mixture of hard work, comedy, and homesickness. When the station runs out of ramen, that’s my favorite scene!
8. Kamome Diner (2006)
The alternative film Kamome Diner is set in Finland. It has the most memorable characters of all the Japanese food movies mentioned. It, like Tampopo, serves a wide range of audiences. There’s drama, grief, love, and a sense of humor in this film. It’s the story of Sachie, a 38-year-old Japanese woman who recently started a diner in Helsinki. The Kamome Restaurant has no customers at first, but as the story progresses and the cast triples, the diner becomes a neighborhood favorite. If your soul is in need of some cheering up, the onigiri-rhythmic making’s hand movements will do the trick.
9. Akanezora: Beyond the Crimson Sky (2007)
This Japanese movie about food is set in Edo, which is now known as Tokyo, in the mid-1700s. Akanezora: Beyond the Crimson Sky is based on Ichiriki Yamamoto’s award-winning novel, and it chronicles the journey of Eikichi, a young tofu maker who travels across the country in search of a place to call home for his own tofu-making business.
As Eikichi learns to make tofu from a renowned master in Kyoto, he sees that his tofu does not appeal to the Edo region’s residents. Akanezora: Beyond the Crimson Sky not only illustrates how similar foods can be prepared in vastly diverse ways across Japan, but it also teaches viewers about the importance of tofu in Japanese cuisine and the beauty of its production process.
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10. Papa’s Lunchbox is the Best in the World (2017)
There’s nothing like a mother’s packed lunch. Papa’s Lunchbox is the Best in the World puts a new spin on the family dynamic. This Japanese food movie chronicles the journey of a father as he visibly struggles to make bentos for his high school daughter, rather than the matriarch of the family providing the lunchbox, or bento in Japanese.
Papa’s Lunchbox is the Best in the World delves into the significance of the bento. A bento box traditionally contains rice and one main meal, as well as a variety of side dishes, all of which are attractively prepared. While many people think of lunch as just another meal, Japan takes it to a whole other level. By the end of the film, you’ll understand that the Japanese bento is about more than just the food; it’s also about the love, connection, and dedication that family members put into it.
You can immerse yourself in Japanese cuisine culture without even boarding a plane with this selection of Japanese food movies! It only goes to show that cultural immersion can be achieved even when you stay at home, from the history of ramen and sushi to the significance of lunch boxes. Do you want to see more cooking shows and movies? Check out other lists of other food programs on Thecookingmovie!