Japan's Plastic Food Photo Gallery

Fear not the language barrier when you need to eat in Japan. Many restaurants display life-sized plastic versions of their menu at their storefronts so you can visualize your meal. Take a photo, go inside, show the attendant, and you are good to go.

These plastic molds started becoming popular after they appeared in an Osaka department store in 1932. There are a few theories on how they became a core part of the Japanese restaurant experience. One was to help American servicemen stationed in Japan to deciper the Japanese menu that didn't feature photos of the food. Another was to better depict western cuisine that started appearing in restaurants after the war to entice an unfamiliar public.

The first example was made in Gujo Hachiman, 3 hours from Tokyo. The omelette was in wax but today's fake food pieces are made from PVC plastic and hand painted, with some 80% of the country's pieces still produced in this town.

Full meal displays :

Sushi / sashimi :

Cooked seafood :

Noodles / udon :

Fried / tempura :

Eel rice :

Dessert :

Small snacks :

Chinese food :

Korean food :