Reading Labels in Japan: Labels for Fresh Food

  • 3 min read


Reading nutrition labels is always a challenge, especially when you aren’t fluent in a language. We previously wrote about Reading Nutritional Labels in Japan vs the USCommon Food Allergens in Japan and How to Spot Them as well as Expiration and Best Before Dates in Japan. Now we explore how to read the labels on fresh foods such as chicken and broccoli. As fresh food labels are often printed on site, the way they look may differ by store, but the information provided on them is standardized. 

In Japan, the price label for fresh goods also usually contains product details. Specifically, they usually contain information about when the product was manufactured/packaged, the best before date, net quantity, production area, and price.


Basic phrases you will see at a Japanese grocery store

Produced In: 原産地/原産国 (gennsannchi/gennsannkoku)

  • Some of the most common production locations for fresh foods are listed below, we hope these help you, but feel free to list any other locations in the comments!





___kenn san

Made in ___ prefecture


nihon/koku san

Made in Japan


chuugoku san

Made in China


beikoku/amerika san

Made in America


oosutoraria san

Made in Australia


kanada san

Made in Canada


nyuu jiirando san

Made in New Zealand 


tai san

Made in Thailand


Processing/Packaging Date: 加工年月日 (Kakkou Nenn Ga Pi)

  • This is the date that a product was packaged, for example, when the meat was put into the styrofoam container you see at the grocery store.

Expiration/Best By date: 消費期限/賞味期限 (shoumikigen/shouhikigen)

  • The expiration date refers ot the date at which a product spoils while the best by date is the date the manufacture intended for the product to be consumed by and is used for products that don’t spoil as easily. Read more about the difference between expiration and best by dates inthis blog post!

Price per 100g: 100g 当たり (円) (100g atari)

  • Price per 100g is provided separately from unit price, allowing you to easily compare differences in products independent of net weight.  

Net Weight: 内容量(g)(naiyouryou)

  • Japan shows net weight in grams rather than ounces (oz) or kilograms (kg). 

Storage Temperature: 保存温度 (hozonn onndo)

  • Storage temperature will usually be displayed in degrees Celcius followed by either below - 以下 (ika) - or above - __C以上 (ijyou) -.  

Price: 値段 (nedann)

  • No explanation needed here! 


Words to look for on labels when you are shopping for high quality products

No Additives: 無添加 (mutenka)

  • Whether you have food sensitivities or are avoiding additives by preference, it is always helpful to recognize the 無添加 characters when you shop!  

Organic: 有機 (yuuki)

  • The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery (MAFF) has strict rules surrounding organic certification for products. If you see a JAS sticker on a product you can be sure that it is organic. 

To learn more about shopping in Japan check out our blog posts about how to read Japanesenutrition labelsandexpiration/best before dates.

Hi All! I am Miriam Weiss and am a mixed race Japanese/American passionate about promoting Japanese culture and all that it has to offer around the world. I grew up between Japan and California and was most recently living in Boston before moving to the Netherlands! I am excited to share my passion and knowledge with all of you!

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