Japanese Food & Wine Pairing Chart

Japanese cuisine and fine wine are ever growing in popularity around the globe, and yet I have found there to be little information on the pairing of Japanese food with wine. That is why I created the Japanese Food and Wine site, which is entirely dedicated to Japanese cuisine and the quest for wines which best complement popular Japanese dishes. It is meant to be a one stop reference guide reflecting general consensus, but also my own experience through an ongoing work in progress detailed throughout these blog articles. Feel free to contact us to share your own recommendations!

Sushi/Sashimi Wine Sushi/Sashimi
As the international ambassador of Japanese cuisine, but also healthy eating in general, it comes as no surprise that sushi is a natural partner to wine, and a delicious alternative to traditional sake or beer. Read more
Mixed Sushi
Mixed sashimi platter Champagne/sparkling wine (Blanc de Noirs, rosé), light rosé (Provence), fruity white (Albariño, Mâcon), dry Riesling, Chasselas (Switzerland), Sylvaner
Mixed sushi platter same as above + off-dry white (Vouvray, Riesling)
Chirashi-zushi same as above
Gomoku-zushi semi-sweet white (Vouvray Moelleux, Jurançon), late harvest Riesling
Maguro (tuna) elegant Pinot Noir (Volnay, Santeney), light red (Beaujolais), full-bodied rosé (Bandol), Champagne (Blanc de Noirs or rosé), mature red
Toro (fatty tuna) elegant Pinot Noir (Chambolle-Musigny), Champagne (Blanc de Noirs), light rosé (Provence)
Shake/Sake (salmon) Champagne/sparkling rosé, fruity white, light rosé, dry Riesling (off-dry for nigiri)
Tai (snapper) Muscadet, Pinot Blanc/Weissburgunder, Sylvaner, Chasselas, Champagne/sparkling wine
Hirame (halibut)
Fugu (puffer fish)
Suzuki (sea bass) fruity white (Mâcon, Albariño, Pinot Grigio)
Hamachi (yellow tail)
Aji (spanish/horse mackerel) Sherry (Manzanilla or Fino), mature Riesling
Shimesaba (cured mackerel) Sherry (Manzanilla or Fino)
Unagi (fresh-water eel) semi-sweet white (Riesling), sweet sparkler (Asti)
Anago (salt-water eel) off-dry white (Vouvray demi-sec, Riesling Kabinett), sweet sparkler (Asti)
Hamo (pike conger eel)  
Other Seafood
Ebi (shrimp) mineral white (Chablis 1er cru), Champagne (Blanc de Blancs), dry Riesling (Alsace GC)
Amaebi (sweet shrimp) Prosecco, sweet sparkler (Asti), Champagne/sparkling rosé, off-dry rosé, off-dry white (Vouvray demi-sec, Riesling Kabinett)
Ikura (salmon roe) Champagne (blanc de noirs, rosé), Vouvray demi-sec
Uni (sea urchin) light white (Muscadet, Vinho Verde), Provence white (Cassis, Bellet) or rosé, Liguria Vermentino, Champagne (Blanc de Blancs)
Hotate (scallops) Sylvaner, dry Riesling (Alsace GC), fruity white (Mâcon, Albariño)
Akagai/Mirugai/Aoyagi (clams) mineral white (Chablis 1er cru), Vouvray, dry Riesling
Awabi (abalone) mineral white (Chablis 1er cru)
Ika (squid) light rosé (Provence), fruity white (Cassis, Vermentino)
Tako (octopus) raw sashimi: light white (Vinho Verde)
cooked sashimi or nigiri: fruity white (Albariño, Cassis)
Kani (crab) nigiri (whole): Vouvray sec or demi-sec, Viognier, off-dry Riesling
gunkan (shredded w/ mayo): Champagne (Blanc de Noirs or rosé)
Gyuu no Tataki (raw beef) elegant Pinot Noir (Volnay, Chambolle-Musigny), light red (Barbera, Fleurie), full-bodied rosé (Tavel), Champagne/sparkling rosé
Basashi (raw horse) Morgon, elegant Pinot Noir
Tori no sashimi (raw chicken) Pinot Blanc/Weissburgunder, Sylvaner
Tamago (sweet fried egg) vintage or reserve Champagne, oaked white (California)
Kappa-maki (cucumber) light white (Sauvignon Blanc, Sylvaner)
Inari-zushi (sweet tofu pocket) semi-sweet white (Riesling Spätlese, Coteaux du Layon)
Deep Fry/Tempura Deep Fry/Tempura
Deep fried food is common at Izakaya drinking establishments, but wine is rarely given serious consideration, despite its affinity for light tempura as well as greasier fare. Read more
Tempura (battered)
Mixed tempura Champagne/sparkling wine, Chablis, Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, dry Chenin Blanc (Vouvray), Albariño, Sherry (Manzanilla or Fino), light rosé (Provence)
Shrimp, prawn Champagne (Blanc de Blancs), mineral white (Chablis 1er Cru, Sancerre)
Fish, ika, anago, scallops fruity white, dry Riesling, Chenin Blanc (Vouvray), Chablis
shiso leaf, okra, asparagus, green beans light Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, Japanese Koshu, dry Muscat w/ asparagus
Shiitake, bamboo shoots, lotus roots, carrots vintage or reserve Champagne, mature white (Hermitage), mature Pinot Noir (Côte de Beaune)
Katsu/Fry (breaded)
Tonkatsu (pork cutlet) w/ sauce: rich oaked red (Rioja Reserva), oaked sweet wine
w/out sauce: Grüner Veltliner, Champagne/sparkling wine (Blanc de Noirs)
Beef-katsu (beef) w/ sauce: rich oaked red (Priorat, Douro, Amarone)
w/out sauce: robust Pinot Noir (Pommard, Fixin), Moulin-à-Vent
Menchi-katsu (minced beef) w/ sauce: rich oaked red (Rioja Crianza)
w/out sauce: Beaujolais cru (Morgon, Brouilly), Champagne/sparkling rosé
Korokke (potato) fruity white (Pinot Blanc/Weissburgunder)
Ebi-fry (shrimp) Champagne/sparkling wine (Blanc de Blancs), Chablis, dry Riesling
Kaki-fry (oyster) Chablis GC, off-dry Riesling
Karaage (marinated + flour)
Chicken-karaage Champagne/sparkling wine (Blanc de Noirs), light red (Beaujolais, Barbera)
Fugu-karaage Champagne/sparkling wine (Blanc de Blancs), Pinot Blanc/Weissburgunder
Grill/Yakitori Grill/Yakitori
Char-grilled on a barbecue, the pronounced flavors of meat and smoke are relatively familiar to western palates, making the wine selection a little more intuitive. Read more
Yakitori (chicken skewers)
Mixed Yakitori salt: light red (Chinon, Beaujolais), light white (Sauvignon Blanc), full-bodied rosé (Tavel)
sauce: rich oaked red (Rioja Crianza, Merlot, ripe Pinot Noir)
Toriniku (plain chicken) salt: Bordeaux red (Médoc, Saint-Julien, Margaux), Pinot Noir (oaked Burgundy), Beaujolais Cru, rosé, full-bodied or oaked white (Chardonnay)
sauce: rich oaked red (Rioja Crianza, Languedoc-Roussillon), ripe Pinot Noir
Negima (w/ scallion) salt: Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre)
sauce: Sauvignon Blanc (NZ)
Tsukune (minced chicken) salt: light red (Chinon, Bourgueil), full-bodied white
sauce: ripe Pinot Noir (Oregon), off-dry rosé
Tebasaki (wings) salt: light white (Sauvignon Blanc), oaked white (Saint-Aubin, Puligny-Montrachet, Pessac-Léognan)
sauce: rich oaked red, oaked white (California, Australia)
Torikawa (skin) salt: light or fruity white (Mâcon), Beaujolais Cru, Chinon
sauce: full-bodied or oaked white, full-bodied or off-dry rosé
Nankotsu (cartilage) salt:
Haato (heart) salt:
Reba (liver) salt: Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône red (Côte-Rôtie), full-bodied white
Sunagimo/Zuri (gizzard) salt:
Bonjiri (tail) salt:
Other Kushiyaki (skewers)
Ikada (scallion) light Sauvignon Blanc
Butabara (pork belly) salt: Beaujolais Cru (Morgon, Brouilly), spicy red (Saint-Joseph)
sauce: Bordeaux Right Bank (Saint-Emilion, Pomerol)
Asparagus w/ bacon light Sauvignon Blanc (Menetou Salon, Quincy)
Gyuutan (beef tongue)  
Unagi/Anago (eel) semi-sweet white, late harvest Riesling, Bordeaux Right Bank (Saint-Emilion, Pomerol), off-dry rosé (Cabernet d’Anjou)
Yaki-zakana (grilled fish) mineral white, dry or mature Riesling
Tsubugai/Hamaguri (clams) mineral white (Chablis GC), dry Riesling (Alsace GC)
Sazae-tsuboyaki (turban shell) mineral white (Chablis 1er cru, Sancerre), Champagne (Blanc de Blancs), light Sauvignon Blanc (Casablanca, Constantia)
Matsutake/Shiitake (mushrooms) mature Pinot Noir
Teppan Teppan
Known as hibachi in the US, teppanyaki favors a large steel cooking surface, but isn’t limited to steak or seafood in Japan, where it is traditionally used for okonomiyaki, yakisoba or takoyaki. Read more
Akami (steak) Bordeaux Grand Cru (Margaux, Saint-Julien), Côtes du Rhône or Languedoc-Roussillon red, Burgundy Côtes de Nuits (Vosnes-Romanée, Morey-St-Denis), Hermitage, Ribera del Duero, Rioja, Super Tuscan, mature red
Shimofuri (wagyu steak) Bordeaux Grand Cru (Pauillac, Saint-Estèphe), Châteauneuf du Pape, Napa Valley Cabernet, robust Pinot Noir (Gevrey-Chambertin, Nuits-St.-Georges), Barolo/Barbaresco, Brunello di Montalcino, structured red
Shrimp mineral white (Chablis 1er cru)
Lobster oaked white (Meursault, Côte de Beaune GC), Condrieu
Awabi (abalone) mineral white (Chablis GC)
Beef Teriyaki rich oaked red, sweet/fortified red (Vintage Porto, Banyuls)
Chicken Teriyaki Beaujolais cru (Morgon), semi-sweet white, late harvest Riesling
Salmon Teriyaki late harvest Riesling (Alsace VT, German Spätlese), sweet sparkler, oaked white (California, Australia)
Okonomiyaki (meat toppings): pork, bacon, ham, beef… Prosecco, rich oaked red (Malbec, Languedoc-Roussillon)
Okonomiyaki (seafood toppings): shrimp, squid, octopus… full-bodied white (Côtes du Rhône, Hermitage), oaked Sauvignon Blanc, off-dry Riesling, off-dry rosé
Yakisoba (stir fry ramen) Pinot Noir (Côte de Beaune, Sancerre), oaked Sauvignon Blanc, full-bodied or off-dry rosé
Takoyaki (octopus balls) vintage or reserve Champagne, Chablis GC
Shougayaki (ginger pork) Nebbiolo (Langhe, Roero), N. Rhône Syrah (Saint-Joseph), rosé
Genghis Kahn (lamb) Pauillac, Châteauneuf du Pape, Gigondas, Bandol, structured red
Nabe/Hot Pots Nabe (Hot Pot)
Nabe literraly mean "pot" in Japanese, and involves a single pot in the middle of the table, in which is meats and/or vegetables are cooked and shared by the entire table. Read more
Sliced Meats
Sukiyaki (sweet soy soup) ripe Pinot Noir (Oregon, Sonoma, 2003 or 2009 Burgundy), Côtes du Rhône (’07 Châteauneuf du Pape or Gigondas), Chile Carmanère
Shabu Shabu (boiling water) ponzu: elegant Pinot Noir (Santenay, Volnay, Mercurey), Beaujolais cru (Fleurie), Sauvignon Blanc
sesame: oxidized white (Arbois Savagnin, Oloroso Sherry), oaked Sauvignon Blanc (Pessac-Léognan)
Fish Shabu Shabu mineral white (Chablis, Alsace Riesling)
Oden (soy & dashi) full-bodied white, mature Riesling
Shoyu Yosenabe (meat & seafood in soy) full-bodied rosé (Bandol)
Miso Yosenabe (meat & seafood in miso)  
Kaisen (seafood in miso)  
Mizutaki (chicken in broth) full-bodied white
Yudofu (tofu in dashi)  
Fugu-chiri (puffer fish)  
Chanko-nabe (sumo hot pot)  
Rice/Noodles Noodles/Rice dishes
White rice, a staple of the Japanese diet, is either served with various okazu, or a single topping in a domburi bowl. Japanese noodles are prepared cold, or in a hot broth- or soy-based soup. Read more
Cold Noodles
Zaru-Soba (buckwheat)  
Zaru-Udon (wheat – thick)  
Soumen (wheat – thin)  
Hot Noodles
Kake-soba (tsuyu soup)  
Kake-udon (tsuyu soup)  
Yakisoba (stir-fry noodles) Pinot Noir (Côte de Beaune, Sancerre), oaked Sauvignon Blanc, full-bodied or off-dry rosé
Donburi (rice bowl /w topping)
Gyuudon (beef bowl)  
Katsudon (pork w/ egg) Champagne/sparkling wine (Blanc de Noirs)
Oyakodon (chicken w/ egg) off-dry white
Tendon (tempura) mineral Sauvignon Blanc (Pouilly-Fumé)
Unadon (fresh-water eel) late harvest Riesling (German Spätlese)
Tekkadon (raw tuna) light red (Beaujolais, Chinon)
Hokkadon (raw salmon) full-bodied rosé (Bandol)
Negitorodon (fatty tuna w/ scallions) fruity Sauvignon Blanc, full-bodied white (Albariño)
Tamagodon (egg) vintage or reserve Champagne, off-dry white
Gohan (plain white rice) light white (Sylvaner, Aligoté)
Onigiri (rice ball w/ nori) light white (Muscadet)
Yaki-onigiri (grilled rice ball) vintage or reserve Champagne, oaked white
Ochazuke (rice in green tea)  
Miscellaneous Miscellaneous/Okazu
Because a typical Japanese meal consists of a bowl of rice served with a variety of small dishes, called okazu, choosing a single wine can be tricky. For more insight, check out the okazu menus by wine page.
Soy Bean
Shouyu (soy sauce) mature white, Marsannay rosé, Côte-Rôtie
Miso red miso: Pomerol
white miso: Sauternes
Edamame Champagne/sparkling wine
Agedashi Tofu (fried tofu) vintage or reserve Champagne
Nattou mature white (Savennières), aromatique white, natural white (Domaine Overnoy, Gravner, etc.)
Shake-shioyaki (salted salmon) Champagne/sparkling rosé, light rosé (Provence), mineral or fruity white, Chablis, dry Riesling
Saba no Misoni (miso braised mackerel)  
Kama (Tuna or Yellowtail head)  
Sakura ebi (small dried shrimp) mineral white (Chablis)
Shiokara (salted fish/squid entrails) Sherry (Manzanilla or Fino), semi-sweet white (Vouvray moelleux)
Tako-wasabi (raw octopus w/ wasabi) light Sauvignon Blanc (Casablanca, Constantia)
Ankimo (anglerfish liver) sweet white (Sauternes), Condrieu
Shirako (cod milt) sweet white (Alsace SGN, German BA or TBA)
Nori light white (Muscadet)
Hijiki (sweetened seaweed) sweet white (Sauternes)
Shio-kombu (salted kombu) mineral white
Nikujaga (meat and potato stew) semi-sweet white

Gyuu-soboro (sweet ground beef)

rich oaked red, ripe Pinot Noir
Nibuta (soy braised pork) mature white (Meursault), off-dry or mature Riesling, elegant Pinot Noir
Miso Soup full-bodied or mature white
Sumashi-jiru (clear broth) full-bodied white, ripe Pinot Noir
Suimono (clear dashi)  
Shijimijiru/Asari (clam) oaked white
Dobinmushi (matsutake mushroom) mature Pinot Noir (Burgundy), Barbaresco, Barolo, mature white Hermitage or Burgundy (Meursault)
Wasabi light Sauvignon Blanc
Shiso leaf light Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner
Aka-shiso (red shiso flakes) spicy red (Syrah, Shiraz), Pinot Noir (Germany Spätburgunder, Austria Blaufränkisch)
Yuzu-koshou (yuzu-pepper paste) Gewurztraminer, rich oaked red (Shiraz), spicy red (Pinotage), Grüner Veltliner
Ponzu (citrus sauce) Champagne/sparkling rosé, fruity Sauvignon Blanc
Tsukemono (pickles)
Gari (ginger) Gewurztraminer, Moscatel
Umeboshi (plum) sweet white (Vin Santo), light white (but not too acidic)
Hakusai asatsuke (Chinese cabbage)  
Salad/Sunomono (vinegar)
Cucumber light white (Sylvaner)
Namasu (Daikon radish & carrots) Grüner Veltliner, Alsace Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc
Wakame (seaweed) Muscadet, light Sauvignon Blanc
Crab off-dry white (Vouvray demi-sec, Riesling Kabinett)
Shrimp mineral white (Chablis), Champagne (Blanc de Blancs)
Tamagoyaki (omelette) Vintage or Reserve Champagne
Gomaae (sweet sesame sauce) oxidized white (Arbois Savagnin), oaked white (Burgundy)

Kimpira gobou (spicy roots)

semi-sweet white
Chawanmushi (custard)  
Goya Champloo  
Anko (red bean paste) sweet/fortified red (Ruby Porto)

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