Event Report: “#Seek Japanese Food” event held at Narita and Haneda airports to convey the appeal of Japanese food to foreign visitors to Japan
The Japan Food Product Overseas Promotion Center (JFOODO) held the event “#Seek Japanese Food” at Narita and Haneda airports in August. In this event, foreign visitors to Japan who were just about to leave the country were asked to recall the different kinds of Japanese food they had eaten during their trip and to post them on their own social media, and activities in which participants could receive popular capsule toys and print out cards with photos were also offered, with the aim of encouraging them to continue eating Japanese foods and Japanese agricultural, forestry, and fishery products after they return home.
#Seek Japanese Food Event Overview
- Event Periods:
- Friday, August 4 - Saturday, August 12, 2023, 11:00‐20:00
- Friday, August 11 - Saturday, August 19, 2023, 11:00‐20:00
- Friday, August 18 - Saturday, August 26, 2023, 11:00‐20:00
- Narita Airport Terminal 1, South Wing, 4F Departure Lobby
- Haneda Airport Terminal 3, 4F Large Corridor
- Narita Airport Terminal 2, Main Building, 4F
Participants’ social media posts and the results of surveys conducted at the event showed that quintessential Japanese foods such as ramen and sushi are very well-known and popular among foreign visitors, and that foreign visitors eat them on a regular basis and are highly likely to recommend them to others.
Social Medial Posting Results
The event attracted a large number of participants, with a total of 1,454 surveys conducted and 1,397 posts on social media made by the time the event ended. 4,898 people engaged with posts from the event, 3.5 times the number of posts.
*“Engagement” is the total number of likes, comments, shares, and reposts.
Ranking of Japanese foods eaten by foreign visitors to Japan during their stay in Japan
Posts on social media provide a glimpse into what kind of Japanese food foreign visitors to Japan are eating during their travels in the country. The results of this event show that ramen was the most frequently posted food, followed by sushi. Unagi (freshwater eel) was also eaten by several participants, indicating that visitors to Japan eat a wide variety of foods ranging from meals eaten by Japanese people on a daily basis to more extravagant dishes.
The lasting popularity of quintessential Japanese foods! Actual purchasing habits in participants’ home countries/regions
The survey also revealed the actual state of Japanese food and food product purchasing habits in visitors’ home countries and regions. When asked if they have purchased Japanese foods in their home countries/regions, 65.1% of respondents answered “Yes”, indicating that more than half of them have purchased Japanese foods in their home countries and regions. Many respondents listed sushi as an example of a specific food that they have purchased, indicating the strong popularity of sushi overseas.
- Sashimi(7), Seafoods(1), tuna(1)
- Udon(16), Soba(8)
- Meat/Fish/Baked Egg/Fried-food（21）
- Wagyu(6), Yakitori(4), Yakiniku(3), Grilling on a skewer(2), Pork cutlet(1), Fried Chicken(2), Chicken Teriyaki(1), Eel(1) Sunny-side-up(1)
- Powdered food（18）
- Gyoza(6), Takoyaki(6), Okonomiyaki(5), Carbonara(1)
- Beef bowl(3), Curry rice(2), Chicken and egg on rice(1), Breaded pork on rice(1), Set meal(1)
- Sweets(13), Wagashi(2), Dagashi(1), Cotton candy(1)
- Matcha(2), Green tea(1), Tea(1), Juice(1), Sake(1)
- Miso/Miso soup(4), Soy sauce(2), Dashi(1), Mirin(1), Nabe HotPot(1), Oden(1), Fish flour(1)
- Rice/Beansand processed beans(8)
- Rice(2), Mochi(2), Rice ball/Rice ball ingredients(2), Tofu(1), Natto(1)
- Food and beverage in restaurants(10)
- ※No item was specified
Sushi and ramen are the foods most likely to be recommended
The survey asked respondents to rate their willingness to recommend Japanese foods and products to others on an 11-point scale ranging from 0 to 10. 90.9% of the respondents gave a score of 7 or higher, and of that group nearly 70% gave a score of 10, indicating a very favorable perception of Japanese food. Furthermore, when asked to choose which Japanese food they would recommend to others, 52.8% of respondents chose “Sushi”, followed by “Ramen” at 45.0%, more than double that of the third place entry “Steak/Yakiniku” (19.7%). Sushi and ramen are strong favorites in this category as well.
The popularity of Japanese animation was also effective in promoting food consumption!
In researching the Japanese foods consumed by foreign visitors to Japan during their travels in the country, we found that Japanese pop culture has influenced Japanese food consumption. Social media posts revealed that people enjoyed menus decorated with popular cartoon characters such as Anpanman, Doraemon, and Pikachu at commercial facilities and restaurants, suggesting that Japanese animation also influences people’s eating habits.
Comments from participants (excerpts)
- I enjoyed a lot of different Japanese foods during my trip to Japan. One big difference is that the ingredients were way more fresh and abundant than in my home country, especially sushi, and they were very delicious. (North America, Europe, Australia)
- I ate more Japanese foods than I can remember, but the best of all was okonomiyaki. (Middle East)
- My favorite Japanese food is unagi. It’s really hard to find anywhere else, so I was very happy that I could eat it here. (Asia)
Starting with this event held in August, JFOODO will continue to carry out efforts to convey the appeal of Japanese food culture to foreign visitors to Japan with the goal of increasing their consumption of Japanese food after they return home.