What is Japanese Tofu: In-Depth Guide to a Culinary Staple

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Japanese tofu, or “tofu” as it’s known in Japan, is a staple ingredient in Japanese cuisine and has been enjoyed for centuries. Made from soybeans, this versatile protein source can be used in a variety of dishes and prepared in many different ways. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Japanese tofu, its history, and how it’s used in traditional Japanese cooking.

what is japanese tofu

What is Japanese Tofu

Japanese tofu, an essential ingredient in Japanese cuisine, is made from coagulated soy milk, resulting in a soft, custard-like texture. Often referred to as silken tofu, this tofu variety differs from others as it is not pressed to extract the whey. Instead, the soy milk solidifies into a smooth and soft block that is delicate and versatile in multiple dishes1.

Tofu is considered a “superfood” in Japan because it contains a high amount of nutrients in a compact package. One of its distinctive features is that it’s a complete protein, providing all nine essential amino acids the body needs2. Furthermore, a 3-ounce serving of tofu can offer a sufficient portion of lean protein, ensuring long-lasting satiety.

There are several types of Japanese tofu available, each with its unique texture and use. Some of the most common varieties are:

  • Silken Tofu (Kinugoshi-dofu): Soft, smooth, and custard-like, often used in soups, smoothies, desserts, and savory dishes1.
  • Regular Tofu (Momen-dofu): Pressed and spongy, it comes in various densities from medium to extra firm, suitable for a wide range of recipes, including miso soup, cold tofu, and mapo tofu3.

Besides these common types, Japan also features regional tofu varieties, such as fermented tofu (tofuyo), an Okinawan dish. Tofuyo is made from fermented tofu soaked in malted rice and awamori liquor, resulting in a powerful and pungent flavor often compared to strong cheese4. This tofu is typically served in small portions with alcoholic beverages at Okinawan restaurants.

Japanese tofu is ideal for incorporating into a diverse array of dishes. It’s commonly used in traditional Japanese recipes like miso soup, cold tofu, and mapo tofu, but it can also be incorporated into smoothies, desserts, puddings, salad dressings, sauces, and dips3.

In comparison, Chinese tofu is more firm and dryer, making it better suited for meaty vegetarian dishes. While Chinese tofu is less moisture-concentrated and easier to cook with, Japanese tofu often requires special care and attention during the cooking process, given its softer and more delicate nature5.

Japanese tofu showcases the unique characteristics and versatility that make it a must-try element in Japanese cuisine, offering plenty of health benefits and a wide range of culinary applications.


  1. <a href=”https://livejapan.com/en/in-hokkaido/in-pref-hokkaido/in-sapporo_chitose/article-a0001740/”>Live Japan</a> 2
  2. <a href=”https://janbox.com/blog/japanese-tofu/”>Janbox</a>
  3. <a href=”https://www.justonecookbook.com/tofu/”>Just One Cookbook</a> 2
  4. <a href=”https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2045_tofu.html”>japan-guide.com</a>
  5. <a href=”https://pogogi.com/what-know-about-japanese-tofu”>POGOGI Japanese Food</a>

Types of Japanese Tofu

Soft Tofu

Soft tofu, also known as kinugoshi-dōfu in Japanese, is a type of tofu with a silky smooth texture. It is made by coagulating soy milk and retaining most of its water content, which gives it a delicate and fragile consistency. This tofu is not pressed and typically comes in block forms. It is often used in dishes like miso soup, cold hiya-yakko, and warm dishes where its texture can be appreciated without losing its form [1].

Silken Tofu

Silken tofu, or kinu, is a Japanese tofu variant with an even smoother and silkier consistency than soft tofu. Its name originates from the form “kinu”, which means “silk” in English. Like soft tofu, silken tofu is not pressed and has high water content [2]. It is versatile and can come in a range of textures from soft to firm, often used in dishes like hiya-yakko or in soups, sauces, and desserts that incorporate its creamy and silky texture.

Firm Tofu

Firm tofu, or momen-dofu, is made by pressing more water out of the tofu curds than soft or silken varieties. This results in a denser texture that holds its shape better when cooked. Momen-dofu is ideal for use in stir-fries, baked dishes, and other cooking techniques where maintaining its form is crucial. It has a firm, springy texture and absorbs flavors well, making it a popular choice in many Japanese recipes [3].

Cotton Tofu

Cotton tofu refers to the firm, less-silky alternative to the silken tofu found in Japanese cuisine. This type of tofu is characterized by a spongier texture and is often used interchangeably with firm tofu due to their shared qualities. It can be found in a variety of dishes, including hot pots, skewers, and stews, where it maintains its consistency and absorbs more flavor from the surrounding ingredients.

Frozen Tofu

Koyadofu, or frozen tofu, is made by freezing tofu and then thawing and pressing it to remove excess water. This process alters the tofu’s texture to be more porous, spongy, and able to absorb flavors more effectively than non-frozen varieties. In Japanese cuisine, koyadofu is often used in dishes like nimono (simmered dishes) and miso soup, where it soaks up the flavors of the broth [4].

Fermented Tofu

Tofuyo is a type of fermented tofu originating from Okinawan cuisine. It is made by fermenting tofu, sometimes with added ingredients such as koji mold or red yeast, creating a strong, distinctive flavor and pungent odor. Fermented tofu is eaten in small quantities as a condiment or appetizer due to its intense taste [5].

Production Process

Soy Milk

The production process of Japanese tofu begins with soy milk, which is created by soaking dried soybeans in water and then crushing and boiling them. This process helps to extract the soluble proteins and oils, while leaving the insoluble fibrous materials behind. Soy milk is a key component in tofu production, as it serves as the foundation for creating the soft, delicate blocks of bean curd that we know as tofu1.


Coagulation is the next critical step in tofu production. During this phase, a coagulant is added to the soy milk, causing the proteins and oils to coagulate into curds. Various coagulants can be used to produce different types of tofu, though the most common are salts, acids, and enzymes2.

In the case of Japanese tofu, the most widely used coagulant is nigari, or magnesium chloride3. Nigari has a unique ability to create a smooth, silky texture in tofu that is particularly prized in Japanese cuisine. Another popular coagulant is gypsum, or calcium sulfate4. This mineral helps to produce a firmer and more substantial block of tofu, suitable for dishes that require a more robust texture.


After the coagulation step, the resulting curds and whey must now be separated. The mixture is typically poured over a cheesecloth-lined mold and the cloth is folded over the curds to secure them inside. The mold allows the whey to drain away, leaving behind only the solid curds5.

The curds are then pressed to form tofu. The amount of pressure applied during this step determines the final texture of the tofu, with more pressure resulting in firmer blocks. In Japanese cuisine, various types of tofu are used, ranging from the soft, custard-like silken tofu to the dense, hearty blocks of firm tofu6. To make these different textures possible, the tofu maker must carefully control the pressing process by adjusting the weight and time used for this step.


  1. Britannica
  2. IFT
  3. Kokoro Cares
  4. The Spruce Eats
  5. Japanese Tofu
  6. The Spruce Eats

Nutritional Value and Health Benefits

Japanese tofu, also known as bean curd, is made from soybean curds which originate from Japan. This plant-based food offers a myriad of health benefits thanks to its impressive nutritional profile.

One of the key attributes of Japanese tofu is its high protein content. In fact, a half-cup serving (126g) provides approximately 21.8 grams of protein1. This makes it a fantastic option for individuals seeking plant-based protein sources in their diet.

Moreover, Japanese tofu is a good source of various essential nutrients. Here are the key nutrients found in tofu:

  • Protein: Contributes to muscle growth and repair, and supports overall body function
  • Fat: Primarily healthy polyunsaturated fat, providing energy and supporting cell function
  • Carbs: Low in carbohydrates, making it suitable for low-carb diets
  • Calcium: Essential for bone health and maintenance
  • Iron: Crucial for red blood cell production and oxygen transport in the body
  • Magnesium: Supports nerve function, muscle relaxation, and energy production

In addition to the nutrients listed above, tofu also offers a host of vitamins and minerals that contribute to overall health. Some of the vitamins and minerals found in tofu include manganese, selenium2, and a variety of B vitamins3.

Not only does Japanese tofu boast a rich nutritional profile, but it also has some notable health benefits. For instance, its high calcium and magnesium content may help promote bone health, making it a valuable food for individuals concerned about osteoporosis or bone density. Its iron content is particularly beneficial for those at risk of anemia or iron deficiency.

Furthermore, the protein found in tofu is considered a complete protein, as it contains all the essential amino acids that the body requires4. This feature makes tofu an excellent choice for promoting muscle growth and repair, particularly for vegetarians and vegans who may struggle to receive adequate protein from their diet.

In conclusion, Japanese tofu is a versatile and nutrient-dense food that offers numerous health benefits. Its rich protein content, valuable vitamins and minerals, and various health-promoting properties make it an excellent addition to any diet.


  1. <a href=”https://www.verywellfit.com/tofu-nutrition-facts-calories-and-health-benefits-4113988″>Verywell Fit</a>
  2. <a href=”https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-tofu”>Healthline</a>
  3. <a href=”https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/278340″>Medical News Today</a>
  4. <a href=”https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/benefits-tofu”>WebMD</a>

Popular Japanese Tofu Dishes

Japanese tofu, made from soybeans, is an incredibly versatile ingredient used in many traditional and modern recipes. It is a staple in Japanese cuisine, known for its high protein content, delicate taste, and smooth texture. In this section, we will explore popular Japanese tofu dishes: Hiyayakko, Atsuage, Inarizushi, Mabodofu, Yudofu, and Agedashidofu, each showcasing tofu’s unique characteristics and flavor profiles.


Hiyayakko is a traditional Japanese cold tofu dish often served as an appetizer or light meal. It consists of chilled silken tofu, typically topped with thinly sliced green onions, grated ginger, bonito flakes, and soy sauce. The simplicity of Hiyayakko allows the natural flavor and texture of tofu to shine through, making it a perfect dish for hot summer days or as a refreshing palate cleanser.


Atsuage, also known as thick fried tofu, is a popular preparation where tofu is deep-fried until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It can be used as an ingredient in various dishes such as soups, stews, or stir-fries, adding a delightful contrast of textures. The crispy exterior absorbs sauces and flavors, making Atsuage a versatile option for many recipes.


Inarizushi is a type of sushi made by stuffing seasoned sushi rice into deep-fried tofu pouches called aburaage. The aburaage is soaked in a sweetened soy sauce mixture, giving the tofu pouch a slightly sweet and savory flavor that complements the rice. Inarizushi is a delicious and portable option for picnics, bento boxes, or a quick snack on the go.


Mabodofu is a spicy tofu dish with origins in China but has been adapted to Japanese cuisine. This dish consists of tofu cubes and ground meat or vegetables cooked in a flavorful sauce made with soy sauce, mirin, chili bean paste, and other aromatic ingredients. The rich and spicy flavors of the sauce permeate the tofu, creating a hearty and satisfying dish.


Yudofu is a simple Japanese hot pot dish featuring tofu as the main ingredient. The tofu is simmered in a light kombu (seaweed) broth, allowing it to absorb the delicate flavors of the soup. Yudofu is often served with a variety of dipping sauces, including ponzu and soy sauce-based mixtures, allowing diners to customize the flavor to their preference.


Agedashidofu is a popular Japanese appetizer, consisting of tofu coated in potato starch and deep-fried until crispy. The crunchy exterior and soft interior offer a delightful contrast in texture, while the tofu is typically served in a flavorful umami sauce, often made with soy sauce, dashi, and mirin. The combination of textures and flavors makes Agedashidofu an enjoyable dish both for tofu lovers and those new to this versatile ingredient.

Incorporating Tofu in Japanese Cuisine

Japanese tofu, also known as 豆腐 or tōfu, is a versatile and nutritious ingredient made from coagulated soy milk that has been pressed into white blocks. It can be found in various types, including soft (or silken), firm, and extra-firm, each offering a unique texture suited for different dishes1. Tofu, rich in protein and low in calories, is a staple in Japanese cuisine, featuring in a variety of dishes, from soups to desserts. In this section, we’ll explore how tofu is incorporated into miso soup, hot pot, and shojin ryori.

Miso Soup

Miso soup is a traditional Japanese dish consisting of a flavorful broth made from miso paste (fermented soybeans) and dashi (a fish and kelp-based stock)2. Soft or silken tofu is often added to miso soup for its smooth, custard-like consistency3. To prepare it, simply cut the tofu into small cubes and gently stir it into your miso broth during the final stage of cooking. Tofu’s subtle flavor will balance the soup’s umami taste and create a satisfying, protein-packed meal.

Hot Pot

Hot pot, also known as nabe, is a popular Japanese dish featuring a communal pot filled with simmering broth, vegetables, mushrooms, and proteins4. Tofu is a common ingredient in hot pot as it’s both nutritious and easily absorbs the flavors of the broth. Firmer varieties of tofu are typically better suited for this dish, as they can withstand longer cooking times without losing their shape. To incorporate tofu into your hot pot, simply slice it into cubes or larger strips and add it to the pot alongside other ingredients. The tofu will become infused with the delicious flavors of the nabe and create a hearty, tasty addition.

Shojin Ryori

Shojin ryori is a traditional Japanese cuisine typically followed by Buddhist monks, focusing on simple, plant-based ingredients that are seasonally available5. Tofu plays a central role in shojin ryori, alongside vegetables and grains, due to its high protein content and versatile nature. In this cuisine, tofu can be prepared in multiple ways, such as being fried, simmered, or served cold with a dipping sauce. One popular shojin ryori dish is agedashi tofu, where soft or silken tofu is lightly dusted in flour, fried until crispy, and then served in a flavorful broth. To prepare this dish, simply cut the tofu into cubes, coat them in flour, and fry them in oil until golden brown. Then, serve the fried tofu in a dashi-based broth with sliced green onion and grated daikon as garnish.

Incorporating tofu in Japanese cuisine is an excellent way to enjoy its many health benefits and flavors. Whether you’re stirring it into miso soup, adding it to a hot pot, or experimenting with shojin ryori, tofu’s versatility ensures a delicious and nutritious addition to any meal.


  1. A Guide to the Different Types of Tofu in Japanese Cuisine
  2. Japanese Tofu – japan-guide.com
  3. Tofu in Japanese cuisine | Japan Experience
  4. Nabe – Japanese Hot Pot
  5. Shojin Ryori – Japanese Vegetarian Cuisine

Tofu Serving Styles and Condiments

Japanese tofu, made from coagulated soy milk, is a key component in many traditional dishes and is commonly served with an array of distinct condiments and broths. This section will explore various methods of serving tofu and the popular accompaniments within Japanese cuisine.

Dashi Broth

One prominent way to serve tofu in Japanese cuisine is by incorporating it into a dashi broth. Dashi, a savory, umami-rich broth, is made primarily from ingredients such as bonito flakes, kombu (edible kelp), and shiitake mushrooms. This broth serves as a versatile and delicious base for a variety of dishes, often complementing tofu’s mild flavor.

Common dishes featuring tofu and dashi broth include:

  • Miso soup: A daily staple in Japan, this soup often contains small cubes of tofu, vegetables, and seaweed, all immersed in a flavorful dashi broth.
  • Nabe: A popular winter hotpot dish where tofu is often combined with meat, vegetables, and mushrooms, and cooked together in dashi.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is another essential condiment often used with Japanese tofu. Due to its rich, salty-savory taste, soy sauce not only enhances tofu’s flavor but also helps make it more compatible with other ingredients.

A common way to serve tofu with soy sauce is in a dish called hiyayakko. Hiyayakko is a chilled tofu dish often garnished with green onions, grated ginger, bonito flakes, and a drizzle of soy sauce, creating a refreshing and delicious appetizer.


The pungent and spicy flavor of wasabi, a Japanese horseradish, adds a unique kick to tofu dishes. Wasabi’s sharpness cuts through tofu’s subtleties and allows the other flavors to come forward, creating a harmonious blend.

To enjoy tofu with wasabi, simply combine a small amount of wasabi with soy sauce and use it as a dipping sauce. Another option is to add wasabi to agedashi tofu, a popular Japanese dish consisting of lightly fried tofu cubes served in a flavorful dashi-soy broth.

In summary, Japanese tofu is a versatile ingredient often accompanied by condiments and broths such as dashi, soy sauce, and wasabi. With rich and diverse flavors, these additions elevate the delicate taste of tofu, creating satisfying and delectable dishes.

Regional Variations and Traditions

Yuba in Kyoto

In Kyoto, a popular regional variation of Japanese tofu is Yuba. Yuba is created from the skin that forms on the surface of cooling soy milk during the tofu-making process. This skin is carefully lifted and dried, resulting in a unique, delicate, and delicious ingredient that’s highly appreciated in Kyoto cuisine. Yuba can be enjoyed fresh, semi-dried, or completely dried, allowing for versatility in preparation methods and flavor profiles. It is often used in traditional dishes, including soups, stews, and appetizers, making it a staple within Kyoto’s culinary scene.


Another regional variation of Japanese tofu is Iburidofu, which is a specialty from the Kyushu region. Iburidofu involves smoke-curing tofu to create a distinct, earthy, and complex flavor. To prepare Iburidofu, tofu is first drained and pressed to remove excess water. Then, it is smoked over a combination of natural materials, such as rice straw and oak, to infuse the tofu with a deep smokiness. The smoking process also enhances the tofu’s texture, giving it a firmer and denser consistency.

Iburidofu is typically enjoyed in various dishes across Kyushu, often served alongside fresh vegetables or incorporated into stews, highlighting the smoky flavor while providing a satisfying protein source. It’s an excellent example of how regional traditions and innovations contribute to the diverse array of Japanese tofu styles.

In conclusion, regional variations and traditions play an essential role in shaping Japanese tofu’s diverse landscape. Notably, Yuba from Kyoto and Iburidofu from the Kyushu region showcase how local ingredients, preparation techniques, and cultural influences create unique and flavorful twists on this versatile food. Both Yuba and Iburidofu have distinctive characteristics that set them apart from conventional tofu, offering an enriching culinary experience for anyone interested in exploring the world of Japanese tofu. So, next time you’re tasting Japanese cuisine, be sure to try these regional tofu specialties and appreciate the regional techniques that make them so special.

Vegetarianism and Tofu

Japanese tofu, also known as bean curd, is a versatile and nutritious meat substitute that has been a staple in Japanese cuisine for thousands of years. Made by coagulating soy milk and pressing the resulting curds into blocks, tofu is an essential ingredient in a variety of Japanese dishes, from appetizers to soups and fried dishes1.

As vegetarianism and veganism gain popularity, tofu presents itself as an ideal option for those looking to replace meat in their diets. Its texture and mild taste make it suitable for absorbing flavors, which can allow for a diverse array of culinary experiments.

There are several types of tofu that cater to different recipes and preferences:

  • Silken tofu: Smooth and delicate, it’s perfect for blending into dressings, sauces, and creamy desserts.
  • Soft tofu: With a slightly firmer texture, it’s ideal for soups and stews.
  • Firm tofu: Can be used in various dishes, such as stir-fries and salads, or for stuffing.
  • Extra-firm tofu: Holds its shape well and can be grilled, baked, or fried2.

Tofu not only serves as a meat substitute for vegetarians and vegans, but it also provides essential nutrients. It’s an excellent source of protein and contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Furthermore, tofu is rich in minerals like calcium and iron, as well as vitamins, and it’s relatively low in calories3.

In Japan, tofu is incorporated into numerous vegetarian dishes, such as:

  1. Miso Soup: A popular Japanese soup with a soybean and koji (a type of fungus) seasoning base, often containing tofu cubes.
  2. Tofu Katsu: Breaded, deep-fried tofu cutlets, served with a tasty sauce4.
  3. Agedashi Tofu: Lightly fried tofu served in a flavorful soy-based sauce, garnished with green onions and grated daikon radish.
  4. Hiyayakko: Chilled tofu topped with soy sauce, grated ginger, and green onions, perfect for hot summer days.

In summary, Japanese tofu is a nutritious and versatile meat substitute, suitable for vegetarians, vegans, and those looking to explore new culinary options. By incorporating tofu into one’s diet, one can enjoy flavorful, creative, and satisfying meals while reaping its health benefits.


  1. Everything You Need to Know About Tofu
  2. Every Type of Tofu, Explained
  3. Types of Tofu and How to Use Them
  4. Tofu Katsu Recipe

Byproducts of Tofu Production

When it comes to Japanese tofu, which is made by curdling soy milk and pressing it into blocks, it’s important to understand the byproducts of its production process. During the manufacturing of tofu, some byproducts emerge, which have various uses in the culinary arts and other industries. Two primary byproducts of the tofu production process include okara and aburaage.

Okara is the solid pulp that’s left over after the soybeans have been soaked, crushed, and boiled to extract the soy milk used for making tofu. This soybean residue is an excellent source of fiber and nutrients, and it can be used in a wide range of applications. For example, it can be used as a food ingredient in the form of a high-fiber supplement or as a base for several dishes. Additionally, okara has further applications in the agriculture and livestock feed industries, where it serves as an essential component in animal nutrition.

Aburaage, on the other hand, is a culinary byproduct derived from tofu. It’s created by deep-frying thin slices of tofu, resulting in a golden, crispy texture. Aburaage is often used in Japanese cooking, providing a delicious and versatile ingredient in various dishes. One of its most popular uses is as a pocket to hold ingredients in dishes like inari sushi or kitsune udon, which feature seasoned rice or noodles, respectively.

In summary, the tofu production process yields valuable byproducts that can be utilized in multiple ways:

  • Okara is a soybean residue that’s high in fiber and nutrients, and it’s used in a variety of cooking applications and the agriculture and livestock feed industries.
  • Aburaage is deep-fried tofu with a crispy texture, often utilized as a versatile ingredient in Japanese dishes such as inari sushi and kitsune udon.

Kitsune Udon and Inari Sushi

Japanese tofu, also known as Inari Agé or seasoned deep-fried tofu pouches, is a versatile and delicious ingredient in various dishes. In this section, we will dive into the world of two popular Japanese dishes that showcase the incredible taste of Japanese tofu: Kitsune Udon and Inari Sushi.

Kitsune Udon is a classic Japanese noodle dish consisting of udon noodles served in a rich, savory dashi broth. One of the most popular udon varieties, this hearty soup comes topped with several appealing ingredients such as seasoned fried tofu, pink-swirl narutomaki fish cake, and scallions1. The combination of thick, chewy udon noodles and the clear dashi broth creates a perfect marriage with the savory sweetness of the Inari Agé2. Kitsune Udon’s delightful flavor and satisfying texture have made it a favorite amongst Japanese cuisine enthusiasts.

The key ingredient in Kitsune Udon is the seasoned, deep-fried tofu pouch known as Inari Agé. The tofu pockets are cooked in a dashi-based broth, imparting a wonderful combination of savory and sweet flavors that perfectly complement the dish3. You can even customize your Kitsune Udon by substituting soba noodles for udon, creating a dish called Kitsune Soba4.

Inari Sushi, on the other hand, is a delightful sushi variation that features sushi rice stuffed inside seasoned deep-fried tofu pockets3. Unlike traditional rolled sushi or nigiri, Inari Sushi is relatively simple to make and offers a unique and enjoyable presentation. The Inari Agé used in this dish is cooked in a similar fashion to that used in Kitsune Udon, providing a pleasant balance of sweet and savory flavors that meld harmoniously with the sushi rice.

In conclusion, Japanese tofu in the form of Inari Agé is a versatile and delicious ingredient that shines in dishes like Kitsune Udon and Inari Sushi. These flavorful dishes showcase the delicious potential of Japanese tofu, lending themselves to a wide variety of dining experiences that are sure to satisfy the palate.


  1. <a href=”https://www.justonecookbook.com/kitsune-udon/”>Just One Cookbook – Kitsune Udon</a>
  2. <a href=”https://norecipes.com/kitsune-udon/”>No Recipes – Kitsune Udon Recipe</a>
  3. <a href=”https://www.justonecookbook.com/inarizushi/”>Just One Cookbook – Inari Sushi</a> 2
  4. <a href=”https://japan.recipetineats.com/kitsune-soba-buckwheat-noodle-soup-with-fried-tofu/”>RecipeTin Japan – Kitsune Soba</a>

Japanese Tofu in Izakayas

Japanese tofu is a versatile and essential ingredient in Japanese cuisine. Made from curdled soy milk, tofu is pressed into blocks similarly to how cheese is made1. It comes in various textures and types. One popular choice is silken tofu, known in Japanese as kinu tofu or kinugoshi tofu2. Its soft and smooth texture distinguishes it from other types of tofu.

Izakayas, or Japanese pubs, are known for their wide variety of appetizers and dishes, many of which feature tofu as a key ingredient. As a good source of protein and often essential in vegetarian Buddhist temple cuisine, tofu is a staple in these establishments3.

When you visit an izakaya, you may find an assortment of tofu dishes. Agedashi tofu is a popular option4, consisting of fried tofu served in a light dipping sauce. Another crowd favorite is hiyayakko5, which is cold, uncooked tofu cut into large squares, and topped with various condiments such as spring onions, ginger, and dried bonito flakes.

Some izakayas may offer dishes like mabodofu6, a Japanese adaptation of a popular Szechuan dish featuring tofu in a spicy sauce that includes fermented black beans, minced pork, and red chili. Typically found in ramen shops and family restaurants, this dish offers a delectable flavor explosion.

In summary, Japanese tofu is an essential part of izakaya menus, providing a diverse array of dishes for patrons to enjoy. Tofu’s versatility and nutritional value make it a popular choice in Japanese cuisine.


  1. https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2045_tofu.html
  2. https://livejapan.com/en/in-hokkaido/in-pref-hokkaido/in-sapporo_chitose/article-a0001740/
  3. https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2045_tofu.html
  4. https://tokyocheapo.com/food-and-drink/drinking/beginners-guide-japanese-izakaya/
  5. https://sudachirecipes.com/best-japanese-izakaya-appetizers/
  6. https://bestjapaneseproducts.com/types-of-japanese-tofu/