Japanese Hospital Food Is Some of the Best in the World—and Here’s Proof

Updated: Oct. 11, 2017

You'll almost be tempted to go to the hospital on purpose. Almost.

In the United States, a meal at the hospital might be a sad tray of soup, mashed potatoes, and Jell-O—nothing that exactly encourages the appetite. Stay overnight in a hospital in Japan, though, and you’ll actually be in for a treat.

I had a baby in Japan. Here’s some of the food I ate during my stay at the clinic. from pics

This Imgur user, who stayed in a Japanese hospital after giving birth, was treated to quite the spread. In her photos of her stay, you’ll see a meal of salmon with mushroom sauce, eggplant and beef, seaweed salad, soba noodles, broccoli, and rice. For her final “celebration” dinner, she got corn soup, roast beef, mashed potatoes, kabocha, lotus root with gravy, Camembert cheese with raisins, fresh fruit, salad, rice, tiramisu, orange juice, and green tea. Yes, those were just two meals. (Looks delicious, but it probably doesn’t include any of these $125 Japanese melons.)

That new mom’s food was the norm, not the exception, for hospital food in Japan. In general, Japanese food is fresh and healthy, and it’s no different in the hospitals. Japanese cuisine isn’t about PB&J or baloney and cheese sandwiches. Instead, you’ll find plenty of fish, fresh veggies, and miso soup. A healthy diet is just part of the 8 reasons Japanese children are the healthiest in the world.

Hospital food in Japan from pics

The true impressive quality of Japanese hospital food isn’t just about what’s on the tray though. Instead, it’s all about presentation, says Annabelle Orozco, who visited a Japanese hospital as part of a University of Gastronomic Sciences school trip.

“Japanese pay close attention to details in the way they serve food,” Orozco tells NPR. “There are actually several rules related to colors, textures, amount of dishes that should be served at one point or another, size and dimension of the plates.” Don’t miss these other 9 etiquette rules about Japanese food.


Not that it’s all about looks. At the Osaka terminal care ward Orozco visited, patients could request a favorite food once a week. To make sure it was boosting their treatment, a nutritionist would work with their selections so it would stick with their dietary needs—basically a personal chef right there at the hospital. If you’re not feeling well but still need to make your own dinner, pick these 10 best foods to eat when you’re sick.