Photo: iStock/JianGang

Finding pieces of India in Japan

By Shyam Bhardwa

Living in Japan, homesickness can feel like an inevitability at times. The food you can only find at home, games and sports you miss playing with friends, and even the holidays in Japan can be radically different.

As someone from an Indian heritage living in Japan, I began my time here thinking I had sacrificed those things as part of my journey. But, as we’ll see, that couldn’t have been further from the truth, and it really isn’t all that hard to find pieces of India all throughout Japan.

Here is everything I’ve experienced in Japan to remind me of India.


Indian restaurants are everywhere, especially in major cities like Tokyo. Photo: iStock/ GI15702993

f you’ve opened a food delivery app anywhere in Tokyo, you’ll know about the dozens of Indian restaurants scattered throughout the city. It’s rare to be somewhere where you can’t get a delivered meal to bring back memories of home. Amongst the varieties of regional flavors are all of the common options–Daal, Chicken Tikka and all the curries you could remember.

But if restaurants don’t quite scratch that itch, an array of Indian grocery stores make it easy to cook comfort food in your own kitchen. With online groceries for remote locations, Indian spices and pantry staples are always available.

If you’re looking, Indobazaar and Ambika are two online stores with a massive selection, while Sartaj is a third with slightly more obscure ingredients you may struggle to find elsewhere. Even Amazon Japan has begun selling ingredients and ready meals. So you only have to wait a day to cook if you’re in a hurry.

Online Indian Shops


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I've noticed that Indian movies are now playing at my local cinemas. I'm used to seeing the occasional Hollywood movie listed in the schedules. But, Indian movies showing here seems to be a recent thing.

They are quite common in the Silicon Valley area where I lived prior to Japan, due to the high Indian population there. (My local congressperson there is of Indian decent.) But, I don't recall ever running into any Indian people here. So, I was surprised to see there is a sizeable enough population to warrant theaters dedicating screens to these movies.

It must be a nice treat for those who miss going to these movies from back home. And these shops must really help bring joy, as well. I know I love being able to prepare the foods I am used to eating from back in the US, as much as I also love Japanese food.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What s about classical India music concerts? I love a bit of sitar and tabla!!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why go as far as food, festivals, cricket or movies.

The cultural links between India and Japan go much deeper. Buddhism which was born in India but died out slowly now flourishes in Japan.

Indians should once again seek out Buddhist teachings and ideals and then they will realize that Japan perfected what was born in India as a gift to the world.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Ethnic foods taste better when the chef/cook is someone from that cultural cuisine. As far as Indian movies, seen one, seen them all. Too much singing and dancing with huge casts.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Indian foodways are gaining attention worldwide. Chapati, paratha, naan, rumali roti, zunka bhakar, bhendi and baingan bhajji, pulao, jeera-lemon-tamarind rice preparations, rassam-sambhar-idli-vada-dosa, upama, papadum, khakra, and chutneys - are all mouth-watering veggie-based food items in India's exciting culinary culture.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We love Indian curries and living in Kobe for many years was a great place to find real Indian restaurants run by Indians. Also easy to find shops to buy ingredients. We are more isolated now so I make a good curry and homemade naan bread once a week. Ume sauce goes well with it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

 With online groceries for remote locations, Indian spices and pantry staples are always available.

I hope it is possible to deliver to remote locations because sometimes the roads are narrow and unlit.

Tokyo should be ok for the most part but the Kansai area has lots of dark areas with no vending machines etc...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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