10 Of The Best Japanese Cookbooks To Take Your Kitchen To Japan

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The best Japanese cookbooks demystify the cuisine with easy to follow instructions and accessible ingredients.

A cuisine with a reputation of being difficult to master can be approached with confidence with any of these best Japanese cookbooks.

If you are looking for a sushi cookbook, dessert recipes or a Japanese cookbook for beginners, this list is your guide.

Go beyond ramen and sushi in your kitchen and explore new home cooking and regional Japanese traditional recipes. 

Taste all the bold and exciting flavors from the Land of the Rising Sun with this guide to the 10 best Japanese cookbooks.

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Best Japanese Cookbook For Beginners To Sushi

Sushi Cookbook for Beginners: 100 Step-By-Step Recipes to Make Sushi at Home

If you love restaurant sushi, wait until you taste the real thing. This is one of the best sushi cookbooks that shows you how in about 100 different ways.

Best Japanese Cookbook For Ramen Fans

Ramen Obsession: The Ultimate Bible for Mastering Japanese Ramen

The third book on our list feeds your ramen obsession with brilliant recipes with classic and modern toppings.

10 Best Japanese Cookbooks

1. Ramen Obsession: The Ultimate Bible for Mastering Japanese Ramen

If your day begins and ends with ramen and you’re bored of the same 3 to 4 variations, grab this cookbook immediately. 

With Ramen Obsession, Naomi Imatome-Yu offers noodle enthusiasts 130 flavorsome and elegant ramen recipes. 

Detailed and comprehensive it is filled with notes on techniques, cooking tools, recipe instructions, shopping lists and pantry ideas.

With just a few recipes and Japanese ingredients you’ll be entertaining family and friends with copious bowls of steaming ramen. 

The author doesn’t stop with recipe notes, she sheds light on the history of ramen making, the rich regional flavors, and the evolution of this noodle dish.

Build noodle bowls from scratch, make tried and tested sauces and meaty broths. Experiment with toppings from different regions of Japan or stick to the ones suggested by the author.

 The fact that this book features in our top #3 says it all. Go ahead and call it the only book on ramen you’ll ever need. 

+ Who is It For? Anyone who wants to perfect their ramen making skills and try different ramen recipes from all across Japan.

– Not For? Home cooks looking for an authoritative book on Japanese cooking. Access to Japanese ingredients helps.

2.  Atsuko’s Japanese Kitchen: Home-cooked Comfort Food Made Simple

While Japanese restaurants dish out the delicate, fine-dine experiences, Japanese comfort food is heartier, wholesome and easier to make. 

This is the kind of food that Atsuko, a London Based cooking instructor shares in her cookbook. 

Atsuko’s Japanese Kitchen takes you into a home kitchen in Japan with traditional recipes and cooking techniques.

However, the recipes are presented in a simple and accessible manner with both traditional and modern interpretations of the food.

From the eight major food regions in Japan, you’ll find izakaya cooking or small plates for sharing. 

A wide variety of traditional Japanese recipes of noodles, meat, seafood and sumptuous desserts are also included.

Everything about Japanese home cooking, the different styles and seasonal ingredients from the different regions are noted. 

Our top pick among Japanese cookbooks for home cooks who want to enjoy the best of Japanese cooking.

+ Who is It For? Home cooks that love Japanese food and want to go deeper into learning and experimenting with Japanese dishes.

– Not For? Not for the home cook intimidated by the cuisine or rarely goes beyond sushi and ramen.

RELATED: The 8 Best Japanese Snacks Box To Taste Japan

3. Sushi Cookbook for Beginners: 100 Step-By-Step Recipes to Make Sushi at Home

If sushi is the stuff your culinary dreams are made of, then grab this cookbook by Chika Ravitch.

From classic to modern and fusion sushi recipes, the author helps you create delicious food art in your kitchen.

Sushi Cookbook for Beginners has more than 100 easy recipes with simple Japanese cooking techniques to make sushi in your kitchen.

While the experienced home chef will enjoy the creative recipes,  this cookbook is mainly aimed at beginners unfamiliar with sushi making.

This is a great cookbook with numerous sushi variations. You’ll find recipes for rolled sushi, pressed sushi and even stuffed sushi. 

You’ll learn how to make spicy tuna rolls as well as use sashimi tuna and salmon in stuffed sushi.

The author has devoted enough pages to the sushi making process and paired each recipe with a gorgeous image.

You’ll also find valuable information on essential tools, pantry ingredients along with sushi prep and styling techniques.

+ Who is It For? Novice cooks who love sushi and want to try their hand at it.  Enough varieties to keep experienced cooks interested.

– Not For? Cooks who are sadly not into sushi. Definitely not for those who prefer a general cookbook of Japanese cuisine.

RELATED: 10 of The Best Cookbook Holders To Equip Your Kitchen

4. Japanese Soul Cooking: Ramen, Tonkatsu, Tempura, and More…

If you are ready to go beyond sushi and ramen and want to delve into home style cooking, Japanese Soul Cooking has the answers.

Chef Tadashi Uno and food writer Harris Salat invite you to explore exciting comfort meals you can cook in your home kitchen with this fourth book on Japanese cuisine.   

The 100 plus recipes have been kept as authentic as possible yet wrapped around local Japanese culture.

This Japanese cookbook covers new ingredients and techniques along with the global influences and origin stories of popular dishes. 

While noodles, gyoza and tempura find their rightful place among the recipes, you’ll also find popular recipes like donburi, karaage, soba and much more.

These are flavor packed dishes made in homes or served in hole-in-the-wall eateries in the back alleyways or yokocho’s in Japan. 

The wonderful storytelling by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat, draws you in along with rich photography set in Japan. 

Clear and detailed instructions make these Japanese recipes accessible to any home cook looking for traditional Japanese Soul food. 

+ Who Is It For? Anyone interested in home cooking and comfort foods and wants to add Japanese cuisine to their skill set.

– Not For? Not for the home chef interested in traditional or region specific Japanese recipes.

5. Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen

Elizabeth was the first writer to get American food magazine, Gourmet, publish a series on classic Japanese dishes in 1975.

A graduate of the prestigious Yanagihara School of classical cuisine in Tokyo, she is an authority on Japanese cooking in English.

With the Washoku cookbook, she brings western audiences closer to the secrets of making great washoku or traditional Japanese foods. 

There is a great introduction to Japanese ingredients and approach to cooking that works in a western kitchen. Pantry basics, kitchen tools and recipes are extensive and easy to follow.

Washoku is not simply a recipe book but a tribute to this distinct culinary tradition. You’ll find the principles and Japanese cultural context along with practical tips to master this style of home cooking.

Over 140 recipes are covered from rice, noodles, meat, seafood, soups and desserts along with sauces and condiments. 

Elizabeth is one of the most popular food writers of Japanese cuisine and this cookbook is the perfect addition for your kitchen.

+ Who is It For? A great cookbook for those who are serious about Japanese food and home cooking.

– Not For? Those impatient and looking to whip up a Japanese recipe in minutes. While approachable, one needs patience and culinary confidence to cook Japanese food in a mindful way.

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6. Japanese Home Cooking: Simple Meals, Authentic Flavors

Sonoko, a New York based author and cooking instructor, shows you ways to make Japanese everyday recipes, from simple to complex.

Japanese Home Cooking is detailed with information about the techniques and ingredients used to create amazing Japanese flavors.

Starting with the philosophy behind the cuisine, we appreciate the respect given to Japanese farm food and cultural context.

The 100+ recipes are very intentional and include recipes for the broths, sauces and seasoning to create unique dishes.

From temaki zushi or hand formed sushi to mochi waffles with tatsuta or fried chicken, you’ll learn the fundamentals of Japanese cooking.

This is a well-rounded book for home cooks of all levels. You’ll find easy recipes for everyday lunches and more complex recipes to tackle as you gain experience.

An authority on Japanese cooking in the US, Sonoko beautifully captures the rich treasures of traditional Japanese home cooking.  One that celebrates the author’s culinary heritage and history.

Stories of food purveyors and gorgeous food photography are a huge plus. 

+ Who is It For? For those looking to master Japanese homestyle cooking in an American kitchen.

– Not For? Novice Japanese cooks as some recipes can be time consuming or require specific ingredients. Patience and access to Japanese ingredients is necessary.

7. Japan: The Cookbook

With more than 400 recipes, this is one of the best Japanese cookbook None of the other books on our list can match the massive number of recipes in this celebrated cookbook.

With more than 400 recipes, this is another one of the best Japanese cookbooks from James Beard nominated author, Nancy Singleton Hachisu.

Japan: The Cookbook is a must-have for anyone seeking to master the art of everyday Japanese cooking.

For over 10 years, Nancy, who lives in Japan interviewed grandmothers across all regions of the country to capture traditional Japanese recipes.

And, in this definitive book on Japanese cooking, Nancy clearly captures the nuances of the cuisine making it accessible to foreigners.

She covers the preparation styles, balance of flavors and cooking techniques along with gorgeous photography of the food.

The regional recipes are broken down into meal courses with insightful notes and instructions to recreate them at home. 

The sweets chapters are fascinating and draw you into a whole new world of regional desserts.

She builds on her previous acclaimed cookbook, Japanese Farm Food, sharing about her lived experience in Japan, the community and traditions.

This highly comprehensive cookbook is an authoritative yet approachable guide for the home chef looking to go deeper into Japanese cuisine.

For Japanese food lovers, this is your passport to the country and cuisine.

+ Who is It For? Enthusiasts and aficionados of Japanese food and enthusiasts who love a deep dive into this rich cuisine.

– Not For? Some of the recipes can be involving and elaborate making this book suitable for those with basic Japanese cooking skills.

RELATED: Top 15 of the Best Asian Cookbooks To Spice Up Your Cooking

8. Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking

Masaharu Morimoto, a star on “Iron Chef” and “Iron Chef America,” is widely celebrated for his modern Japanese dishes and numerous restaurants.

 With Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking, Morimoto’s second cookbook, he makes Japanese cooking accessible to home cooks.

With 150 recipes matched with colorful images, cooks of all levels will be surprised to find simple dishes they can easily make.

You will learn to make everything from scratch including dashi stock. The instructions are simple with step-by-step images and a Japanese ingredient list with substitutions.

With a fine balance of art and tradition, you’ll enjoy charming bits of cooking advice termed as Japanese Grandmother Wisdom. 

You learn to make some of the best Japanese recipes using just a handful of ingredients. Try tastyJapanese home foods like yasai or vegetable tempura, spicy tuna temaki or nabeyaki udon noodles.

+ Who Is It For: Fans of Iron Chef, Masaharu Morimoto, or those who have eaten at any of his restaurants around the world.

– Not For: Someone looking for a comprehensive cookbook with traditional Japanese recipes.

9. Cook Anime: Eat Like Your Favorite Character―From Bento to Yakisoba

Can you eat art? Or, Japanese animation? You can, with this cookbook by author Diana Ault.

Cook Anime is a guide to making unique Japanese meals of this popular art form. The recipes have been researched from 500 anime series and developed to satiate your taste buds. 

Are the dishes in the book authentic? Not really, but they are fun recipes from Naruto’s miso chashu ramen to Taiyaki from My Hero Academia. 

You’ll even find instructions for mochi and checkerboard cookies and assembling your anime bento box.

We like how “Food Facts” and “Culture Facts”  are added to each recipe. Not only do you get an easy to follow recipe, you’ll also learn what anime that dish is seen in. 

The anime and recipe index at the end is entertaining and very creative. When you cook from this book, it will be like having a meal with the characters.

If you are an anime fan Diana has created a cookbook that brings these very dishes to your dinner table. 

+ Who is It For? Anime fans who enjoy cooking and Japanese foods in that order.

– Not For?  Someone who doesn’t know anime. Not for someone who prefers a book on classic or regional Japanese foods.

10. Kyotofu: Uniquely Delicious Japanese Desserts

No list of best Japanese cookbooks would be complete without a focus on iconic and traditional Japanese desserts.

Kyotofu by Nicole Bermensolo introduces you to the unique ingredients, textures and flavors found in Japanese desserts.

An award winning baker, Nicole was the creator of Kyotofu, a unique Japanese dessert bar in New York City. 

Even though the dessert bar is now closed, this cookbook features many of her iconic desserts including vegan recipes.

In addition to Japanese classics, you’ll find popular American desserts reimagined with Japanese ingredients.

With 75 dessert recipes, you’ll soon be surprising friends with black sesame caramel rousse, or a delectable nashi pear crumble.

Conversion to gluten-free recipes is possible thanks to Nicole’s flour swap suggestions. The cookbook also comes with a glossary for Japanese food terms and guides on purchasing uncommon ingredients.

For home cooks whose knowledge of Japanese dessert is limited, this book offers an approachable start. 

+ Who Is It For: For sweet lovers and those looking to expand into making Japanese desserts. 

– Not For: Someone looking for a classic Japanese cookbook with varied recipes or someone who is not a fan of all things sweet.

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Which one of these is your best Japanese cookbook? Please let us know in the comments below!

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