Japanese cuisine involves the elegant presentation of delicate flavours and textures created from a refined sense of taste and varied seasonal ingredients. Using the maximising of awareness of seasonal elements as an art form, traditional Japanese cuisine is sensitive to even the subtle differences in taste between early and late spring. Serving dishes also play an important role. Changing with the seasons, they afford the cultured pleasure of choosing, for example, a flower pattern to reflect a sense of enjoyment from tableware used only in the flower°«s blooming season.

These characteristics trace their roots to the honzen-ryori (foods served in utensils on a legged tray) developed by the warrior class during the Muromachi Period (1333-1568) and the kaiseki-ryori for the tea ceremony, formalised by tea master Sen no Rikyu in the Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1568-1600). Underlying them is the concept of gratitude to the meal's preparer and the living things that compose it. Japanese express this by saying "Itadakimasu" (I humbly receive this food) before beginning a meal.


Copyright 2007 - Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan