Food-based dietary guidelines

Food-based dietary guidelines - Japan

Official name

Dietary guidelines for Japanese (Japanese: 食生活指針)

Publication year

The `Dietary guidelines for Japanese´were launched in 2000. The `Japanese food guide spinning top´(Japanese: 食事バランスガイド) was published in 2005 and revised in 2010.  

Process and stakeholders

The guidelines were developed by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries with the aim of promoting better dietary patterns.

The `Japanese food guide spinning top´ was created as a food and nutrition education tool to help people practice healthy eating. The revision of the `Japanese food guide spinning top´ coincided with the revision of the `Dietary reference intakes for Japanese´ (2010), on which the food guide is based.

Intended audience

The Japanese guidelines are directed at the healthy general public.

Food guide

The `Japanese food guide spinning top´is designed to resemble the well-known traditional Japanese toy. It is a rotating inverted cone divided from the top down into food group layers that depict foods primarily in cooked form /dishes. The order of the food groups is given by the recommended daily servings. At the top there are grain-based dishes (rice, bread, noodles and pasta), followed by vegetable-based dishes (including salads, cooked vegetables and soups), and fish, eggs and meat dishes. At the bottom are milk and fruit. A person running on top of the gyrating spinning top represents the importance of doing physical activity regularly to enjoy good health. The guide also recommends drinking plenty of water or tea, and to moderate consumption of highly processed snacks, confectionary and sugar-sweetened beverages.

The food guide is accompanied by a chart that indicates the recommended daily servings for each food group and illustrated with examples of foods and dishes to meet the recommendations.


  • Enjoy your meals.
  • Establish a healthy rhythm by keeping regular hours for meals.
  • Eat well-balanced meals with staple food, as well as main and side dishes.
  • Eat enough grains such as rice and other cereals.
  • Combine vegetables, fruits, milk products, beans and fish in your diet.
  • Avoid too much salt and fat.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight and balance the calories you eat with physical activity.
  • Take advantage of your dietary culture and local food products, while incorporating new and different dishes.
  • Reduce leftovers and waste through proper cooking and storage methods.
  • Track your daily food intake to monitor your diet.