The United Nations is going to put traditional Japanese food on its list of important world cuisines. It will be the fifth time for UNESCO to give a country's or region's food its cultural heritage status. French, Mediterranean, Mexican and Turkish food are already on the list. Traditional Japanese food is called 'Washoku'. It is very famous for its variety. It ranges from sushi (raw fish on rice) to ramen noodles, tempura and sukiyaki. Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs said it wants to put all of its food on the list, not just one or two famous dishes. The agency said Japanese food is special because of its artistic presentation. It also uses unique ingredients. Many dishes are important because they celebrate the four seasons.
'Washoku' is very healthy and has a good balance of minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates and protein. It is one of the reasons why Japanese people live for so long. It also helps to keep obesity levels low. The cuisine is also important as different meals throughout the year help to bring families and communities together. Food plays an important role in many ceremonies that mark seasonal traditions. The menu for New Year's celebrations, rice-planting events and harvest festivals are all very different. Japan's government said food helps Japanese people keep a strong sense of culture. It also said 'Washoku' is closely "associated with an essential spirit of respect for nature."