School Lunch in Japan

School Lunches in Japan

I am dedicating this blog post to the school lunches served up in Yamanashi Prefecture Japan.

I will say over the past 4 years I have lived in Japan and the school lunches here have been amazing!

For one…

They don’t allow soda on school grounds which may surprised you as Japan is famous for its drink machines…they are literally EVERYWHERE even in the middle of nowhere .

…but one place they are not…


Now I don’t live in a rich part of Japan and I am sure the schools could use that revenue stream from drink machines. I remember when my Highschool in the US and my school had 4 drink machines! and one was a 25cent surge that would be sold out by the end of the day everyday.

But its a clear no brainer NOT at the cost of kids health. How can you teach children to eat healthy and then shove a bunch of temptation in their faces and expect them to resist it like a fully functioning adult.

Another thing you will not find in Japan schools is JUNK FOOD

…yes I said it there is NO JUNK FOOD at ALL of any kind served up, that means no cakes, cookies, donuts, french fries, pizza, gasp even chips there is no vending machines or food stands inside to get them either.

Everyone is served the same lunch and they eat it because they would go hungry otherwise and because everyone is eating the same meal its more accepted, like having to wear a school uniform. I for one love not having to worry about what to eat much less if its healthy or not.

Most JHS students eat lunch in the class room and the lunch is served up by the students buffet style

(after they eat all the studnets help to clean it up there is no staff for that)

So what is Japanese Food?

Here is a very extremely typical example of the typical lunch menu.

1. Rice – its usually fortified with various vitamins

2. Milk – Whole milk in  reusable glass bottles ( Green Tea or Barley Tea for kids that can’t have dairy)

3. Soup-  Vegetable soup, or Miso soup usually it has seaweed and a light salty taste.

4. Main Dish-  This can be a variety of things from fish to chicken and usually a mixed vegetable dish on the side                seasoned in various ways.

5. Dessert- This is only an occasional food it can be yogurt, pudding, jelly cup, or FRUIT

Fruit is considered a dessert in Japan if you get a basket of fruit its like getting a basket of various desserts because ..well that’s what it is here. The fruit in Japan is sooo fresh and delicious, I have never seen fruit babied in this way, I think it needs its own blog post.

But for now I will post what my school lunches look like.

I will try to be as consistent as possible so you all can  get a clear idea of what

(in my opinion) school lunches should/could be.


1. Whole Milk

2. Moon Hanbagu aka meat loaf with mixed veggies on the side

3. Rice with chestnuts

4. Soup with seaweed

you can follow my pintrest for updates and descriptions

(if you have any questions or comments please leave them below, and feel free to use my pictures just be kind and give me credit 🙂



  1. I wish do the same thing in America, kids lunch already have fast food and junkie foods but some do have fruits. Japanese seems so skinny compare American people are overweight. I wish FDA should ban unhealthy foods.


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