Ichiju-issai (a bowl of soup and one dish) (一汁一菜)

"Ichiju-issai" is one of the menu compositions of meals in Japan.

Staple food
- White rice, etc.
Soup dish
- Miso soup, etc.
Okazu (also called sozai) one dish
Tsukemono (also called ko no mono) (pickles)
These four categories are eaten together. The items excluding the staple food constitute 'ichiju-issai,' because ko no mono is not usually counted.

The composition of 'ichiju-sansai' that has three dishes (one main dish + two side dishes) is also well known.

The word ichiju-issai was used to mean 'a simple meal' (also called soshoku) comprising only one dish. However, it has acquired a rather positive meaning with the westernization of dietary habits and food satiation are becoming a problem in recent years. And, it has been used largely to signify 'a well-balanced meal' that follows a traditional Japanese style.


Ichiju-issai originally meant a meal style emphasizing simplicity and frugality that had been taken in Zen temples in the Kamakura period. Thus, okazu was also extremely simple, prepared with vegetables.

(However, 'ichiju-sansai' was served on a special occasion and when there was a visitor). This meal style spread among ordinary people. Then, ichiju-issai and ichiju-sansai eventually came to establish themselves as the traditional daily meal patterns of Japan.

It is known that Yozan UESUGI and Mitsumasa IKEDA ordered people to make their meals ichiju-issai for the sake of frugality during the Edo period.

[Original Japanese]