Washoku is a social practice based on a set of skills, knowledge, practice and traditions related to the production, processing, preparation and consumption of food. It is associated with an essential spirit of respect for nature that is closely related to the sustainable use of natural resources.
This is reflected in the emphasis placed on embracing seasonal ingredients, such as bamboo shoots in spring and chestnuts in autumn, as well as the use of inedible tree leaves, branches and flowers as decoration. Tables are decorated with objects associated with the season, and utensils made from natural materials are used. The intricate preparation and presentation of Washoku involves a style of eating steeped in centuries of tradition.
Each region in Japan incorporates different specialities in their Washoku according to their climate and topography, with the natural, geographical and seasonal influences visible in the ingredients used and the style of presentation. The ingredients used in Washoku are fresh and diverse, and usually require minimal cooking and processing.