Welcome to Gochisō History! This website is dedicated to the exploration and study of Japanese food culture and history. Choose an article to start reading. For readers not familiar with Japanese history and culture, we recommend first reading the quick historical primer.

Izakaya: the Japanese Tavern

Izakaya: the Japanese Tavern

Izakaya: the Japanese TavernThis is the first part of a two-part series about the Japanese izakaya. In this article, their history and customs are being discussed. The second part will be an interview with the owner of Kinjo, an izakaya in the shitamachi (Tōkyō's old...

Katsuo: the Skipjack Tuna

Katsuo: the Skipjack Tuna

Katsuo: the Skipjack TunaPresent on plates (and pots) since prehistoric times, the skipjack tuna, called katsuo, has an unmistakable taste with which all Japanese people are familiar. Valued since ancient times, it has continuously evolved in parallel with the history...

Ochazuke: Tea and Rice

Ochazuke: Tea and Rice

Ochazuke: Tea and RiceThe humble ochazuke (お茶漬け, “tea soak”) is a staple of Japanese food, eaten in one form or another probably since rice cultivation was introduced in Japan. Conjuring images of a mother’s cooking for a busy student focusing on exams, it is a...

Baumkuchen: Japanese Adaptation of a German Classic

Baumkuchen: Japanese Adaptation of a German Classic

Baumkuchen: Japanese Adaptation of a German ClassicA flagship and precursor of the yōgashi (洋菓子, Western confectionery) trend, the baumkuchen (バウムクーヘン, baumukūhen) is a beloved pastry present in Japan for more than a century now. Simple yet elegant, its refined flavor...

Sukiyaki: The Meiji Restoration Dish

Sukiyaki: The Meiji Restoration Dish

Sukiyaki: the Meiji Restoration DishPacked full of flavors, easy to cook and delicious to eat, sukiyaki (すき焼き) is a staple of Japanese food, enjoyed both at home and outside with friends. Prepared with ingredients available anywhere and highly adaptable, nowadays it...

Chanko Nabe: the Sumō Diet

Chanko Nabe: the Sumō Diet

Chanko Nabe: the Sumō DietOften called Japan’s national sport, sumō wrestling is an enthralling world with its particular idiosyncrasies, beliefs and traditions. Enormous wrestlers colliding and grappling on an earthen ring is certainly a fascinating sight, and one of...

Satsuma Imo: the Sweet Potato

Satsuma Imo: the Sweet Potato

Satsuma Imo: the Sweet PotatoA beloved winter food, the sweet potato has been present in Japan for hundreds of years. Not as renowned as its more famous staple counterparts like rice and noodles, it has nevertheless been a quiet background actor, helping sustain the...