As of 2013, the traditional Japanese cuisine style, Washoku, has been added to the UNESCO "Intangible Cultural Heritage List". According to the official UNESCO cultural sector page,
The practice favours the consumption of various natural, locally sourced ingredients such as rice, fish, vegetables and edible wild plants. The basic knowledge and skills related to Washoku, such as the proper seasoning of home cooking, are passed down in the home at shared mealtimes. Grassroots groups, schoolteachers and cooking instructors also play a role in transmitting the knowledge and skills by means of formal and non-formal education or through practice.
Accordint to the Yomiuri shimbun newspaper, the heritage listing also notes,
"it is associated with an essential spirit of respect for nature that is closely related to the sustainable use of natural resources."The document also emphasizes how washoku uses dashi to create a rich, umami taste; fermentation processes of shoyu and miso as well as distinctive cooking utensils and beautiful food presentation which include materials from nature like ornamental leaves and utensils made of wood and bamboo.
Health benefits are also mentioned as a reason for the Japanese to live long lives and prevent obesity problems due to a balance of proteins, carbohydrates and vegetables. The commissioner of the Cultural Affairs Agency says they will make every effort to pass Washoku on to future generations. Japanese Washoku now joins four other foods on the UNESCO list: French, Mediteranean (Greece & Portugal), Italy, Cyprus, Morocco, Mexican, Keskek (Turkey), Croatia and Spain.
Certain regional dishes have made special mention on the list:
Shojin-ryori traditional vegetarian food found in Buddhist temples also gets a notation as well as the beautiful food displays of Kaiseki-ryori famous in Kyoto, which are mostly vegetarian, but also include dishes made with dashi from a fish stock as well as seafood and fish dishes. Sushi from Tokyo and Nabe (one-pot) dishes from Tohoku.