The Most Popular Sushi Ingredients: How Japanese & Foreign Tastes Differ

Unseen Japan
5 min readJun 13, 2024

How does Japan like its sushi? Here are the most popular ingredients for the dish — and how its consumption differs abroad.

Picture: チリーズ / PIXTA(ピクスタ)

By Jay Allen

Sushi is one of Japan’s most recognizable -and loved — dishes. In its rolled form, sushi has become popular around the world. But how do people in Japan prefer to eat it? Here’s a quick look at how sushi is consumed in its country of origin — and how ingredient and topping choices differ between Japanese consumers and sushi fans abroad.

Sushi: A different dish in Japan

Well-arranged sushi assortment

Sushi dates back to the dish narezusushi, a fermented version popular in Japan’s Heian era (794–1192 AD). The most popular form of sushi today is nigiri-zushi, which involves gripping (握る, nigiru; to grip) the main ingredient atop a bed of vinegar-infused rice (シャリ; shari).

Sushi restaurants abound in Japan, with 22,557 stores nationwide. That’s around 17.77 stores for every 100,000 people in the nation. Yamanashi Prefecture has the most sushi restaurants per person, with 29.52 per 100K people. Sushi restaurants take many forms…