Takikomi Gohan (炊き込みご飯): What Is It & Where Did It Originate?

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Takikomi gohan (炊き込みご飯) is a simple Japanese rice rice dish seasoned with dashi and soy sauce along with seasonal ingredients like mushrooms, vegetables, meat, or fish. So you’re supposed to use what the season offers in terms of vegetables.

The recipes usually include about 5 or 6 ingredients, including one type of meat, deep-fried tofu, and some veggies. All the ingredients are cooked simultaneously in the rice cooker alongside short-grain rice.

Seasonings are basic: dashi, mirin, and soy sauce.

What is takikomi gohan

But the important aspect of takikomi gohan is that the meat and vegetables are only supposed to be about 20 to 30% of the dish, and the rest is just rice.

Takikomi gohan is similar to maze gohan, which is made with almost similar ingredients, except the rice and the other ingredients are all cooked and seasoned separately, then combined later.

Takikomi is easier to make because it’s that type of “one-pot” meal where you throw everything in the cooker and let it do its thing.

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What does “Takikomi Gohan” mean?

Takikomi Gohan literally means “steamed rice with ingredients”. That’s why it’s a dish where rice is cooked with various ingredients such as meats, vegetables, and mushrooms. The result is a deliciously seasoned and flavored rice dish that is perfect for any occasion.

Origin of takikomi gohan

As you know, rice is a staple in Japanese food culture. There are so many delicious rice recipes, and this one goes way back.

Takikomi gohan originates sometime in the Nara period (AD 710-794).

When rice harvests were suffering, and people couldn’t harvest the necessary amount, they improvised rice recipes. They mixed rice with millet and other grains, along with the seasonal vegetables.

Thus, an early form of takikomi gohan was born. Originally, it was called Katemeshi, but as it evolved into the dish it is today, the name changed too.

The idea behind the dish was to maximize umami flavor with minimal and cheap ingredients.

What does Takikomi Gohan taste like?

The great thing about Takikomi Gohan is that it can take on the flavors of whatever ingredients you use, but the dashi gives it a base of savory umami that you won’t find in other rice dishes.

What is dashi rice?

Dashi rice is Japanese sushi rice boiled in dashi instead of water. Cooking it in dashi infuses the white rice with umami flavor from the katsuobushi and kombu used to make dashi.

Takikomi gohan: nutritional information

1 bowl of takikomi gohan contains approximately:

  • 400 calories
  • 100 grams of carbohydrates
  • 10 grams of fat
  • 16 grams of protein
  • 4 grams of sugar
  • 600 mg of sodium

Short-grain white rice is a source of carbs with no real health benefits.

What makes this dish healthy is the vegetables, especially the burdock root. It purifies the bloodstream, fights infections, and calms gastrointestinal issues.

Takikomi gohan recipe variations


The easiest way to modify this recipe is to make it vegan. In fact, most of the ingredients in takikomi gohan are vegan-friendly except the chicken and bonito dashi.

But, here’s what I recommend you do to make this mixed rice dish vegan:

  1. Swap the bonito dashi for kombu dashi.
  2. Use 2 slices of aburaage tofu instead of the chicken.
  3. Add a handful of hijiki (a sea vegetable).
  4. Add in some bamboo shoots for an interesting flavor.

Other meats and toppings

If you don’t want to use chicken, you can use thin beef slices or pork.

You can also use seafood, but the problem is that seafood cooks much faster than other meats, so it will get overcooked in the rice cooker. However, you can use salmon, clams, and canned tuna, which pair nicely with rice.

Know though, that if you don’t cook the seafood at the same time as the rice, it’s technically not takikomi gohan.

Here are some other ingredients you can use if you can’t find burdock root:

  • Parsnip
  • Radish
  • Matsutake mushrooms
  • Oyster mushrooms
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Chicory root

Or, you can just add some other tasty ingredients to bring out even more of that umami flavor:

  • Bamboo shoots
  • Spring onion
  • Peas
  • Hijiki seaweed
  • Chestnuts
  • Squash

Make use of whatever’s in season for this recipe.

What’s the difference between Takikomi Gohan and Kamameshi?

Kamameshi is a dish where rice is cooked with ingredients in an individual pot, while Takikomi Gohan is cooked in one big pot with all the ingredients mixed together. Both are delicious, but Takikomi Gohan is a bit more flavorful because the ingredients have a chance to really infuse their flavors into the rice.

What do you serve takikomi gohan with?

Takikomi Gohan is a complete meal in itself, but if you want to add something else to the plate, we recommend some simple grilled fish or tofu. A light salad would also be a refreshing side dish.

Where to eat Takikomi Gohan?

You can find Takikomi Gohan at any Japanese restaurant, but we recommend trying it at an izakaya for a truly authentic experience. Izakayas are casual Japanese pubs that serve small dishes like Takikomi Gohan alongside drinks, so you can enjoy a few plates while you chat and relax with friends.

Takikomi Gohan etiquette

When eating Takikomi Gohan, be sure to use your chopsticks to evenly distribute the ingredients throughout the rice.


Takikomi Gohan is a delicious and versatile rice dish that can be enjoyed any time. It’s perfect for a quick meal or as part of a larger spread, and its flavor will change depending on the ingredients you use. So get creative and have fun with it!

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.