Japanese Food Culture 6- Tofu

Tofu is also eaten in Asian and Southeast Asian countries. Soy products are also popular in other countries because they are healthy food and can be eaten by vegetarians and vegans.


There are tofu that are produced locally in Western countries. Some tofu is a little different from Japanese tofu, while others are almost identical to Japanese tofu, and they vary.


Japanese Food Culture History of Tofu

Tofu seems to have come to Japan from China, but by whom? There are many theories when it comes to this question, and the honest answer seems to be that the history of tofu in Japanese food culture is long and unclear. Tofu has been loved in Japan for such a long time.


Tofu Counting

Count "cho": 1 cho, 2 cho, 3 cho, and so on.

It is not a "tsu" or an "ko".


Types of Tofu

Momen Tofu (Firm Tofu)

Kinugoshi Tofu (Silken Tofu)

Oboro Tofu (Kumiage Tofu)


Broadly speaking, tofu is a part of Japanese food culture, and the white-colored tofu can be broadly divided into the above three types.


Tofu is a traditional Japanese food culture, and there are many tofu products that add a little something extra to it. These products were created to preserve the flavor of tofu and extend the life of the tofu at a time when refrigeration was difficult, which is a testament to the historical background of the industry.


“Yakitofu", grilled tofu

“Atsuage”, thickly sliced and deep-fried tofu

“Aburaage” ("Usuage" in the Kansai region), tofu cut into thin slices and deep fried in oil

“Ganmodoki (Hiryuzu)”, tofu mixed with finely chopped vegetables and other ingredients, then deep fried in oil

There are many types of tofu as above.


Tofu from a long-established tofu store

Kagurazaka Katsuno Tofu, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Kinugoshi tofu = Silken tofu


We recommend to taste this without soy sauce.

This dark-flavored silken tofu has the aroma of soybeans and the sweetness of soybeans intact.


Atsuage = Thick fried tofu


Cut atsuage in half.

As you can see from the cross section in the photo, it is a finely textured atsuage.




Left and right: Ganmodoki (Hiryuzu)

“Mikako‘s Ganmodoki” is the product name of ganmodoki sold at Kagurazaka Katsuno Tofu.

This is because Mikako-san chopped vegetables into small pieces and prepared them with love and care.


It is filled with finely chopped vegetables and other ingredients.



Tonyu = Soy milk


Soy milk (Tonyu) - When steamed soybeans are strained, they are separated into "soy milk" and "okara".


Kagurazaka Katsuno Tofu's soy milk is very thick and delicious.




 Soy milk pudding made from soy milk and agar.

Product name: Soy Pudding


This soy milk pudding (picture above) is made from very thick soy milk.

Because it is made with agar, it can be eaten by vegans, vegetarians, and Muslims.


The sauce of the day was mango sauce.

Kagurazaka Katsuno Tofu has a wide variety of sauces and they change with the seasons.

I am looking forward to it.



 Product name: Tofu Shiratama


If you put one in your mouth...

I've never had such a "slippery" shiratama.

I've never had before!

... I heard a voice saying.


It is "Tofu-filled Shiratama".

What special recipe is hidden to achieve this "slippery" texture? Tofu has a sweet taste and aroma.


Tofu Shiratama, the excitement!


The "mitarashi" on top is moderately sweet and brings out the deliciousness of the tofu shiratama. 


Product name: Okara Ball


When you hear the word "okara", don't you think of "crumbly texture"?

These are "moist texture" okara balls. They certainly taste like tofu. If you don't ask, you won't be able to tell that okara is in them.


What is "okara"?

When steamed soybeans are strained, they are separated into "okara" and "soymilk”.

At that time, okara is said to be the squeezed lees of soybeans.





In the past, "okara dishes" lined family tables.

However, in recent years, "okara" has become less common on the dinner table due to lifestyle changes.

Kagurazaka Katsuno Tofu sells okara.

They also sell "okara balls" and "okara sticks," which are their creative products arranged as modern snacks, deep-fried at the store.

Nutrition if you eat it!

I believe okara is an SDG product that is currently being talked about.


Kagurazaka Katsuno Tofu is a tofu store with an old history in Kagurazaka, Tokyo, but with a new sensibility that specializes in developing products that fit modern lifestyles.


The above products and photos are from Kagurazaka Katsuno Tofu, which has been making tofu for nearly 70 years in Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo.


Kagurazaka Katsuno Tofu Restaurant is located next to Atami Yu (a public bath and also a famous location for TV dramas).


Japan Ai Japan Information Introductory Test Free of charge

Tofu Kagurazaka Katsuno Tofu

We are publishing a free test on how to make tofu and original new tofu products under the title "NIHON AI TEST Introductory Test Tofu: Kagurazaka Katsuno Tofu" on this website.

 If you are interested in tofu, a Japanese food culture, please try the introductory test "Tofu”.

創業70年 東京都新宿区 神楽坂 かつのとうふ / Established 70 years. kagurazaka KatsunoTofu

Tofu available in Japanese supermarkets

Many of you may have changed your concept of tofu since this product, "Wave Riding Johnny," appeared in the supermarket. This tofu has a thick flavor with a pudding-like texture. It also became a topic of conversation because of its surfboard shape.


Manufacturer: Sanwatousuian Co., Ltd. , Koga City, Ibaraki Prefecture

 External Site



Eat with soy milk

Fuwayose Oboro Tofu



Seller: Sagamiya Foods Co., Ltd., Maebashi City, Gunma Prefecture

Manufacturing site: Nihon Beans Co., Ltd. , Isesaki City, Gunma Prefecture





Among the soft tofu sold in supermarkets, this product is especially tasty because you can taste the sweetness of the tofu and feel the oboro-dofu floating in the soy milk.


As the name suggests, this tofu has a strong flavor.


Manufacturing site: Nihon Beans Co., Ltd. , Isesaki City, Gunma Prefecture





Nikko's specialty: Kinugoshi Tofu

Manufacturer: Koishiya Foods Co., Ltd. , Utsunomiya City, Tochigi Prefecture



The packaging of this tofu, which has not changed much over the years, immediately identifies it as this Kinugoshi Tofu (product).



Tokuno Ken-chan: "Gently melting smoothness" and "thick tofu" are the concept of this product.

They are number one in popularity.


External website: Otokomae Tofu Inc., Kyoto



Tochioage, a local dish of Niigata

Tochio-age is said to be originally from Tochio, Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture, and the name "Tochio-age" comes from the name of the area.


Tochio-age is a very long, thick, large "something like Atsuage".




In the Kanto region, I have never seen a "something like Atsuage" like this size made from tofu.

Tochio-age is tofu fried in oil. Tochio-age is hung on a metal hook or pierced with a metal skewer to drain the oil, so it is characterized by one or two small holes (depending on where it is made).

Tochio-age" can be found at Niigata cuisine specialty restaurants in Tokyo, and can also be purchased at large supermarkets.


In the Kanto region, the closest thing to "Tochio-age" is thickly sliced tofu and deep-fried in oil, but the texture differs from real Tochio-age. For the sake of convenience, I have described it here as "something like Atsuage”.


Examples of Tofu Products


Simmered deep-fried tofu and greens.


Inarizushi (also known as "Oinari-san")


Inarizushi is made by seasoning Abura-age (Kansai region: Usuage) with soy sauce, sugar, sake, mirin, etc.


Inside, there is sushi rice (sumeshi).

Sweet, salty, everyone loves 'em!



This continuation will be gradually increased. (NIHON-AI editorial staff)

Silken Tofu from a tofu restaurant specializing in tofu dishes

Tofu restaurants make and serve tofu on the table. It is beautiful tofu.

The finished hot tofu is cut into pieces.



A foreigner who has the same kind of tofu in his country as in Japan said, "It was the first time for me to eat freshly made hot tofu. It tasted sweet. There is no restaurant specializing in tofu cuisine in my country.”

Health Benefits of Tofu

Tofu is famous for its high protein content and is called "meat of the field".

In addition, we have found other information that describes it as a healthy food, beauty food, and longevity food containing isoflavone and calcium, which we include here for your reference.


External website National Tofu Association of Japan Website