Is Pizza Popular in Japan?

Wanna have some pizza?

I think nothing can be the answer other than, “Yes!! Of course!”

Isn’t it natural?

People from any corner of the world have a boundless craze for pizza as humans are enticed by fatty, sweet, rich, and dense cuisine.

And pizza firmly appears with all of the traits above, making it harder to find anyone who doesn’t love pizza.

But what do the Japanese think about pizza?

Or, have this ever popped through your mind, “is pizza popular in japan?”

If the answer is yes, I am assuring you that your queries will be vanished by this writing.

So, let’s start the discussion!

Is Pizza Popular in Japan? – Explore The Way to It’s Popularity!

Though we all know Italy is the provenance of pizza, you will be surprised to know about the Japanese spin on it for taking this temptingly scrumptious appetizer to another level!

And like any other country in the universe, we Japanese are also blindly obsessed with pizza.

Pizza craze

But when did pizza make its place in the heart of our population? Or, how did it become so popular?

I know these questions have also already hit your mind.

So, without any further delay, let’s begin with the pizza’s debut in our country, followed by a discussion of popular and unique pizzas, typical toppings, and renowned pizza chains in Japan.

Pizzas’ Debut In Japan

Did you ever think of when pizza made its first appearance in Japan?

Well, I am sharing my knowledge in this regard.

Initially, the debut of pizza was made in our country after world war II.

In the 1950s, Nicola’s and Antonio’s were among the first restaurants in Japan to sell pizza, both named for their proprietors and were located in the Roppongi neighborhood of Tokyo.

In those early days, pizza was a premium item only available to outsiders & affluent Japanese.

But, after 1970, family-oriented franchise restaurants started to grow, providing a western menu and pizza that had become one of our most popular options.

And we had no look back after 1985 when Domino’s began its pizza delivery in Japan, leading to the ultimate popularity of pizza in our country.

Because the Japanese pizzaiolos (pizza chefs) started to invent their creations & ensured the benchmark in pizza making & kept launching our own Japanese style pizza with unique toppings.

pizzaiolo making pizza

Now you must be interested in our Japanese pizza, right? 

But, as there are lots of options available, which one should you go for first?

Well, it’s obvious that you should try the popular ones. So, now I will introduce you to some famous Japanese pizzas.

Popular Japanese Style Pizza

Japanese pizza has its own vibes & it never happened to anyone who tried our pizza & didn’t will to taste it again. 

So, don’t bash me if this portion compels you to plan a Japan trip with your food partner!

Now, get ready to drool!!

1. Teriyaki Chicken Pizza

You may hear about Japanese teriyaki chicken, but teriyaki chicken pizza?

Teriyaki Pizza

It may not seem usual to you, but this has always been one of our all-time favorite pizza flavor combinations.

You can achieve a particular Japanese flavor from a pizza topped with grilled meat where sweetened soy sauce, mayonnaise, corn, and shredded nori seaweed are used as a seasoning.

I think you already can imagine the flavor blast it offers & why we run over this!

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2. Chasu Pork Pizza

Whenever I have our original ramen, I immediately follow it with chasu pork pizza!

You may be wondering why!!

Well, I am telling you.

It’s actually the barbeque pork topped in ramen that has never been enough for me.

The chasu pork pizza abundant with barbequed pork always meets my desire.

Chasu Pork Pizza

Chasu is a common element in Japanese-style Chinese cuisine, and it is based on Chinese char siu. 

However, it occasionally occurs on Japanese pizza, creating an unforgettable Asian-Italian sync.

On the pizza, the pork is usually complemented by miso sauce, cheese, Japanese leek, fried egg, and shredded nori seaweed, resulting in a unique flavor combination that gained a massive eminence from us.

3. Sakura Shrimp Pizza

If you tell me to name one of the most popular current trending pizzas in Japan, I would say it’s sakura shrimp pizza.

I think you are like, “Sakura? Shrimp? How?”

Well, that’s actually named after shrimp’s translucent pink color.

The tiny dried shrimps add a subtle crunch and a delicious umami flavor to any pizza. 

Shakura Shrimp Pizza

Our Japanese pizzaiolos lift the pizza to a first-class level by adding asparagus & smoked cheese over a tomato base.

Every day, millions of people enjoy eating this pizza, and no one wants to miss out on the opportunity to experience the most sought-after Sakura shrimp pizza.

4. Oyster Pizza

Have you ever heard about the superb delicacy of Japanese oysters?

If not, I am here to enlighten you.

It’s a kind of a twist that will satisfy your tastebud whether you eat it raw, steamed, boiled, or fried.

Now, imagine putting it on your pizza before baking?

Those who have never loved oysters before will fall in love with them after trying this demanding pizza.

I have attached a video for your convenience! 

5. Pizza Toast

Pizza toast is a popular breakfast option for the Japanese people.

Why won’t it be?

We don’t have to think about creating pizza dough to make it.

It is enough to satisfy any pizza desire with only cheese, bread, and other toppings (any).

Pizza toast

Japanese moms often make this quick, easy & flavorful breakfast for their kids or sometimes serve them to the guest as it’s an easy to make snack.

So, as I previously stated, we have our own kind of Japanese pizza that differs significantly from Italian or American pizza, and there are several flavors and toppings that foreigners may find a bit weird.

But, we Japanese people enjoy them to the fullest that you can’t imagine.

So, are you drowning in curiosity about our weird Japanese pizza?

I will remove your possible queries about it in the upcoming discussion.

Some Unusual Japanese Pizza

Don’t worry!

I am not listing anything inedible here.

Though you may find them unusual, you won’t regret experiencing them once.

Let’s have a peek at what Japanese pizzaiolos have done to the pizza and how they’ve made it popular across the country.

1. Squid Ink Pizza

Don’t be frightened if you see someone in Japan munching on a black pizza.

It’s neither burnt nor some ink from a pen has fallen on the pizza.

It’s just a squid ink pizza!!

The combination of pitch-black squid ink, tomato sauce, and squid itself makes for an intriguing visual as well as a gustatory pleasure with a genuine fishy flavor.

It is featured in both Japanese and Italian cuisines, so this bizarre Japanese pizza might be more authentic than you think!

You can watch the video below.

So, if you have ever thought, why do people in Japan eat squid on their pizza? 

I think by now you already know why shouldn’t we!

2. Natto Pizza

If I name Japan’s one of the “love it or hate it” foods, I will first mention natto.

You must be thinking, why natto other than anything!

I am telling you the reason.

While it is considered one of Japan’s healthiest traditional foods, many non-Japanese avoid it due to its unusual odor. 

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But if you want to try it, pair it with a soft crust, melted cheese, nori, and bacon.

The below video may help you

We get the most taste out of the dish when bacon, maize, cheese, and shredded nori seaweed are added.

However, knowing about our interests, the next one may cause you to cringe.

Let’s see what it is.

3. Bitter Melon Pizza

I know you never knew a pizza could be topped with a bitter component. 

Right?

But the goya’s (bitter melon) summer squash soothes us & its astringent flavor is an excellent counterpoint to fatty & creamy savors.

Basically, we accompany the goya with bacon & cheese with soya sauce drizzling. 

More items are added – prosciutto ham, miso, and mozzarella, making it more widespread.

So, don’t forget to try once to check why the Japanese admire this pizza.

4. Gyoza Skin Pizza

I think you’re already laughing at the name!

But it’s quite natural to us & is very easy to prepare.

Gyoza

We never throw out leftover gyoza sheets. 

We simply put two slices of gyoza skin together using tomato ketchup as glue. 

Then we spread tomato ketchup, cheese, ham, and any convenient toppings. 

 After that, it’s grilled until the cheese is melted.

You may find this video useful.

See, what seems unusual to you offers us a mouthful evening treat!

Another simple yet sweet pizza is what I will wrap up with the Japanese-style pizza!

5. Dessert Pizza

Does it sound unfamiliar to you?

Well, it’s normal!

That’s because most of the visitors aren’t familiar with our popular dessert pizza.

So, I am here to introduce that. 

There are many Japanese desserts to make at home & almost every item you can think of can be found on a dessert pizza.

Ice cream, any fruit available, and marshmallows are just a few examples. 

Dessert Pizza

And dessert pizzas are outstanding in any manner you slice them.

So above are the pizzas that are responsible for gaining its popularity in Japan.

Then, comes about our very own toppings which make the pizzas look alluring & attract the Japanese to have a pizza feast.

Let’s see the specialty of the toppings. 

Popular Japanese Pizza Toppings

 You will experience a wide variety of unique toppings once you decide to try our pizza. 

So here you go.

1. Mayonnaise

Mayo’s admiration stretches far beyond salad dressings and chicken fingers extending into the hallowed territory in Japan & it’s indeed a trendy pizza topping here.

mayonnaise pizza

A typical Japanese pizza features a genuine grid of Mayo, with horizontal and vertical lines that crisscross back and forth, providing extensive coverage & a moisty savor.

Those who aren’t already mayoras (mayonnaise fans), one bite of this might be enough to convert them!

2. Corn

Corn!

After hearing about it, I know you will think it’s sweet, pairs well with salad, and has a pleasant texture as a perfect top.

But, like many others, you may not believe that corn has a special place on pizza!

Corn pizza

However, in Japan, corn is considered an extremely popular & delicious topping on pizza.

And you will find it appearing on a large number of pizzeria menus.

I will suggest you try our corn pizza at least once on your next Japan trip & thank me later.

3. Miso

If you have ever been to Japanese restaurants, you might be familiar with the miso paste used in miso soup making.

miso paste

And as it’s one of the most common ingredients in Japanese cuisine, it’s no wonder that it found its way into pizzas too.

The wide range of flavors, from light and sweet to strong and salty, has gained popularity in Japan.

4. Bamboo Shoots

Wanna know about a fun addition to pizza?

Well, I am talking about bamboo shoots used here in a variety of meals, mainly in the fall.

bamboo shoot

Every bite of pizza offers a satisfying crunch when we use it on the top.

It’s often paired with other traditional fall items like mushrooms & makes our Japanese pizza unique & full of flavor.

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5. Mentaiko

Usually, the marinated cod roe or pollack roe is called mentaiko.

mentaiko

Besides any other Japanese Wafu dishes ( Japanese style) like pasta, It creates no minor harmony with pizza

The mentaiko can be put on the pizza crust like tomato sauce or blended into a sauce to drizzle over the top.

The salty & seafood essence will never fail to amaze you & persuade you to have them packed to your tummy.

6. Mushroom

Though mushroom is not uncommon as a pizza top in Japan, have you ever tried shimeji or maitake?

Shimeji & Maiko

They are types of Japanese mushrooms, and you will be stunned by how different pizza may taste just by changing the type of mushroom you put on top!

Shimeji will give you a delicious nutty flavor & maitake will appear with a strong earthy & peppery flavor that I can guarantee you will love to taste!

mushroom pizza

Now, tell me, have you ever tried this meal here in Japan? Then, you must have noticed that they’re kinda expensive.

But, what’s the reason behind this high cost? Well, you will get the answer in my next segment.

Why is pizza so expensive in Japan?

Every time I get asked why pizza is so costly in your country? 

I answer; It’s because our import rates are among the highest in the world.

Japan has some of the highest taxations globally (including sales taxes), making every bite we take more expensive.

So, if I tell in short, cheese is costly to import, and these variables, presumably, have an impact on the cost of pizza in Japan.

However, no matter how expensive pizza is, it is still adored by us.

And there are certain pizza chains that stimulate our passion for the dish even more.

Let’s see what they offer.

Popular Pizza Chains in Japan

In Japan, pizza delivery is fairly prevalent & the pizza chains offer flavor customization sometimes at an affordable cost.

So, now I’ll talk about the four leading contenders in the Japanese pizza market.

1. Dominoes

Dominoes, Japan’s largest pizza chain, delivers some of the most hearty, meat-laden pizzas on the market.

They provide 42 distinct pizza tastes and toppings, all of which are unique to try!

They often provide a two-for-one deal, which helps to make the price appear more affordable.

Official Website: https://www.dominos.jp/en

2. Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut has been a part of Japan’s culture for over 40 years, with 370 locations that include both equity and sub-franchisee businesses. 

Among major pizza companies, it has also been a market leader in Japan’s delivery pizza sector.

Pizza Hut’s menu is the most “familiar” in terms of toppings and textures, making it a favorite choice among all.

Those who love sauce will love trying pizzas from them.

You may check their official website.

Now I will name two local pizza chains that made pizza easily accessible to us.

3. Pizza La

Pizza La is a 20-year-old Japanese enterprise in the area. 

They have a large selection of toppings and are said to be the only spot in Hawaii where pineapple fans can get their fix.

You can visit their official site for more information.

4. Aoki’s Pizza

Aoki’s is perhaps the best option if you’re looking for an authentic Japanese pizza experience. 

They’re a fantastic opportunity to test out unusual delivery pizza in Japan, with high-quality ingredients and a wide variety to select from.

Here is the official site.

So these are the pizza chains that make our life less complicated & serve as a savior for an upcoming pizza party.

And that’s all I had to share with you today.

Conclusion

If you are ever asked, is pizza popular in Japan?

You have many more things to explain with popular pizza toppings, popular & odd pizza, the expense of pizza & few pizza chains which made pizza popular in our country.

So when you come to Japan just keep calm & eat pizza.

Till then, have a good day!