Many people probably grew up with a range oven. It wasn’t exactly your best friend, but was certainly the heart of the home. From the oven came the family Sunday roast, or the festive turkey, casseroles, pies, cakes and tarts, and the aroma of freshly baked bread. Buying an oven in Japan, however, means navigating a smorgasbord of countertop oven appliances. We take you through each category from the best oven in Japan for toasting, baking, making pizza, to the best choices for a combination oven, oven microwave, or superheated steam oven.
Overview of Countertop Oven Appliances in Japan
Major life choices used to mean picking out an oven toaster and a microwave. Times have changed, but now there’s a greater selection of ovens to choose from. You can still get the basic simple microwave or oven toaster, but there’s so much more you can do and value you can get, if you know the best oven niche for your cooking needs:
The Premium Countertop Oven
These are all convection ovens, but they deserve their own category based on their generally larger size or specialized functions. The most popular in Japan is the Delonghi Pan Gourmet specialized bread maker and convection oven. Another is the Epeios Rotisserie Oven. Parallel imports like Oster or Cuisinart are not always easily available: READ MORE
The Oven Toaster
Your most basic choice for toasting, grilling, heating things up, and making a few little tasty treats on the side. You can choose from a a standard two slice or a larger four slice toaster. With just a simple basic function, many oven toasters now focus on added value with stylish designs: READ MORE
The Steam Oven Toaster
Steam oven toasters elevate toast making to a gourmet art form. There are not so many to choose from, but they range from very basic and functional to top of the range designer hardware. How the steam function works, and what you can use it for, varies from oven to oven: READ MORE
The Convection Oven Toaster
These are the preferred choice for small scale home baking. The convection fan creates a more intense and evenly distributed heat. This is ideal for small ovens that can’t run at high temperatures for a long time. They vary a lot in size, capability, and how the convection function works. The most basic choice just has knobs, but those with a digital interface often have useful presets: READ MORE
The Convection Steam Oven Toaster
These ovens add a little more versatility to the convection feature. Convection may be faster, but its dryer heat is not the best for toasting. A steam function gives you the best of both worlds. The choice in this category is limited. Some ovens only allow for steam toasting, while others let you steam cook as you wish: READ MORE
The Microwave Oven
Nothing much has changed in what these staple home appliances do. Power ratings have moved up a notch, and more trendy multi-functional microwaves have various preset modes with adjustable parameters. Deciding factors are often size, price, user interface design, and whether manual options are suited for slow cooking: READ MORE
The Combination Oven Microwave
These always come with a multi functional microwave with various presets. They’re more complex to use, and some ovens also have a preheat mode. These combos are good value for the space they occupy, and the interior can be larger than an oven toaster. They’re not the best ovens for roasting, grilling, or baking heavier breads. However, they’re great for cakes, muffins, bread rolls, stews, baked vegetables, and casseroles: READ MORE
The Steam Oven Range
These are also microwave combination ovens. Some wannabe steam ranges only have steam for select microwave presets or just do simple oven steaming in the baking tray. Better steam ovens have steam microwave presets and allow you to do proper steam oven cooking or water grilling such as Sharp Healsio series or Panasonic Bistro: READ MORE
The Superheated Steam Oven Range
One of the most popular choices for an oven in the family home in Japan. These ovens generate steam that is heated to well over 100 ℃ which is then used to cook food at rapid speeds. They usually include a multifunctional microwave, and some can do conventional steam cooking too. They vary in price from pretty affordable to top of the range expensive: READ MORE
The Infrared Halogen Oven
The Halogen oven consists of a glass bowl with an infrared cooking lamp on top. They’re a good choice for whole chicken and meat roasts. Vegetables and potatoes can be roasted together at the same time. By placing a rack on the bottom you can also do steaming, rice dishes, and even some simple baking: READ MORE
The Air Fryer
The classic air fryer is a type of convection oven or Japanese ‘non fry oven’ with a handy pull out basket into which you pop your food. These area a great choice for making foods like potato fries, fried chicken, and tonkatsu pork cutlets with less oil and no wok. They can be one of the smallest oven choices in Japan, or large enough to take a full roast. They also make sweet treats and limited baked goods too: READ MORE
The Gas Countertop Oven
If you seriously want to get into the big league of ovens, Rinnai is one of the few manufacturers making large, semi-pro countertop gas ovens. They’re mostly recommended for professional establishments or cooking schools. Their smaller sized gas oven is quite suited to a private house or apartment and it incorporates a basic microwave. They come in models that use LP gas or piped city gas, as well as having a convection fan: READ MORE
Extended Guide to Buying an Oven in Japan
The Premium Countertop Oven – best for baking in Japan
These sizable ovens are the best choice for home baking and bread making in Japan. They cost at least twice the price of a convection oven toaster, and up to ¥50 000 or more. Apart from the Delonghi Pangourmet, which is designed for the Japanese market, most are parallel imports.
The Epeios Rotisserie Oven, however, is a newish contender and customized for the Japanese market. It’s a fully digital oven with a manual mode in addition to 16 convenient presets. It also comes with a rotisserie drum for air frying or even roasting coffee beans or making popcorn.
Parallel imports often just have knobs, so you may have to cook in Fahrenheit. Digital models— like the new Oster— can switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit. The Oster French Door had been a long time popular favorite, but it is periodically difficult to get hold of.
The Trusty Oven Toaster – best for toasting and grilling
The simple oven toaster has long been company in the struggle of everyday survival. Innovations, tweaks, and upgrades have made them easier to clean, faster at toasting, with more choice in design.
Some people prefer toasters with just three power levels— top element, bottom element, or both together. It’s more common now for toasters to have a temperature dial setting. These take getting used to, but there is always a temperature guide in the manual.
Most oven toasters are 15 minutes on the dial, a few go up to 30 min, but digital models like the Yamazen and Hirose go up to 60 min. The Delonghi oven toaster is 45 min. If you want to do a bit more with homestyle pizza, look for larger ovens like the 4-slice Aladdin, Hirose, Tiger, or Delonghi. Mesh racks are also nicer for toasting than wide wire racks.
If you’re looking for speed and elegance, we recommend the Aladdin Graphite:
The Steam Oven Toaster – best for the gourmet aficionado
Steam cooking has become quite a fad in recent times, and steam toasting is nothing short of sophisticated elegance. The propitious introduction of steam vapor into the oven maintains a soft and delicate interior contrasted to a perfectly crisp exterior. It can save poor bread from poverty and richer loaves beatified.
There’s only one real contender in this category that being the coveted Balmuda, the Toaster. Balmuda is Japanese designer appliance manufacturer. Balmuda, the Toaster has presets for different types of bread as well as simple temperature settings. Iris Oyama has a more basic steam oven toaster with a simple slide in evaporator dish rather than an inbuilt water reservoir.
The Convection Oven Toaster – best inexpensive baking oven in Japan
These ovens tend to be smaller and more compact than a premium countertop oven, but are in many ways quite similar. They obviously have a convection fan and they can toast, bake, broil, roast, and air fry.
The key to choosing a good convection oven toaster is how much space you need inside. Some only have one rack position and you still have to keep food about 3 cm from the upper element. These are not so good for baking. For home baking look for two rack positions or more.
If the low temperature is 40℃, the oven can do proofing. From 60℃ it can keep warm and do low temperature slow cooking. At the minimum, you’ll get 30 min on the timer, while most go up to 60 min. Digital models can have easy presets, longer on the timer, or continuous bake over ride.
A convection oven toaster in Japan can vary in price from below ¥10 000 to around ¥30 000 or more for high spec or parallel import brands. Locally, they are often marketed as [ ハイブリッドオーブントースター ] hybrid toaster, or [ コンベクションオーブントース タ ] convection oven toaster, or [ ノンフライヤー グリル ] non fry grill – which basically means air fryer or convection heating.
The Iris Oyama is one of the top sellers in this category:
The Steam Convection Oven Toaster – a marriage of power and elegance
After the innovation of the power convection oven toaster and the prissy steam oven toaster, the coming of the convection steam oven toaster was foretold. These toasters are about as diffident as their grandiose title suggests.
The trick to knowing what these ovens are really about, is to understand how exactly you can use the convection as well as the steam feature. There are, however, only a few contenders in this category.
The Iris Oyama steam convection oven hits the ball out of the court in terms of small compact ovens. The steam function utilizes a porous porcelain biscuit rod which is placed between up to 4 slices of toast. This is limiting, but the rest of the oven features are quite impressive.
It has separate element settings, also temperature settings, and you can use convection as you like. Temperatures from 35 ℃ to 95 ℃ can run up to 4 hrs on the clock. The other contender is the Bruno steam convection oven. With this oven you can run the steam function as you like, but temperatures range from 95 ℃ to 250 ℃.
The Dedicated Microwave Oven – cheapest microwave option
Dedicated microwave ovens [ 電子レンジ] generally come in two easy to grasp price ranges. Those that range up to around ¥5 000 generally just have 3 or 4 power levels and a 15 minute timer. As you approach ¥10 000 and above you’re looking at multifunctional microwaves [ 単機能 電子レンジ ] with various presets and up to 30 min on the timer or more.
If you’re in the lower price range, you just need to brush up on basic microwaving. For a typical set up of 200 – 500 – 800 watts the lowest is used for thawing foods to cook or eat raw [解凍]. The middle levels for frozen pre-cooked foods [冷凍], and the upper level for fast reheats [あたため].
If you want to use a microwave grill pate for grilling sandwiches or burger patties, then you should get a 900 W spec microwave at least. The highest level of 800 / 900 W or above is only ever used for rapid reheats up to 3 min. For defrosting delicate foods and expensive fish meats, or slow cooking, you may need a 100 W setting. The more settings you have, the more you can do.
For multifunctional microwaves, you should look at the presets and how the user interface functions. Choose one that has preferred functions within easy one touch reach, and a user friendly timer. Additional features on more expensive microwaves can be doneness level「仕上り温度・具合] or add 14 sec or so with a one touch button.
The Combination Oven Microwave – best ergonomic choice for Japan
For the most part, an oven microwave is a compromise on the oven half. A typical combo oven microwave will never be as powerful as a convection oven. The microwave will generally be quite comparable to a dedicated microwave oven or a more high spec superheated steam combo oven.
The oven microwave is good enough for baking cakes, doing casseroles, baked vegetables, stews, or slow cooking depending on the lower temperature range. They aren’t that great for things like roasting in general, anything requiring a real crispy exterior, or baking heavier types of bread.
These ovens come in a wide range of sizes and capabilities, and some can include up to 35 preset functions. Smaller oven microwaves generally don’t have grills much better than 900 W but a few models, and larger ovens, will go above 1 000 W which is just a good as any oven toaster.
Even easy to use oven microwaves, such as the Balmuda Range, require some language ability to understand the guide, or assistance from our English language guides and reviews.
The Steam Oven Combo Range – best value added combo range
The [ スチーム オーブンレンジ ] is just a combo oven microwave with an additional steam function. They’re easier to use than a superheated steam oven. The convection oven microwave is by far a superior oven, but not so available here in Japan. One exception though, is the Sharp Steam Convection Oven Range (price link).
Steam oven ranges tend to be at least 25L, but both Iris Oyama and Sharp have smaller ones of 18L. However, the less costly steam ovens often have just a limited steam function. Sometimes it just works for a few limited microwave presets, in others it only works with limited oven controls.
One of the most popular steam ovens you can get that has microwave steam functions, steam presets, as well as a water oven and a water grill is the Sharp Healsio. There are a number of models and sizes and they all have pretty good grills of 1 400 W or more.
Sharp Healsio Steam Oven Range
The Superheated Steam Oven – best combination oven choice in Japan
Superheated steam ovens tend to be combination microwaves, but not always. They’re a great choice for vegetables, stewed meats, chicken breasts, Chinese dumplings, any seafood, and also spongy cakes. Unlike a microwave, you don’t need to wrap food when you reheat using superheated steam.
A typical superheated steam oven in Japan will have a lot of presets for popular dishes such as bento, okazu, chawan mushi, and even types of soft breads. It takes some time getting used to the packed menu options, but they are manageable. They tend to sell between ¥20 000 to ¥40 000, but others can reach to over ¥100 000.
Locally, they are usually sold as [ 過熱水蒸気 オーブンレンジ ] kanetsu suijyouki oben renji— meaning super heating steam oven range. Always check to see if your steam oven has a superheated steam function or not.
Sharp Superheated Steam Oven Range 31L RE-SS10X
The Sharp Healsio is the only small sized superheated steam oven toaster. These little ovens are great for making steamed toast and are also a good substitute for a small microwave oven. Currently only the older model is easily available.
The Infrared Halogen Oven – best small roasting oven
The halogen oven in Japan is called [ 赤外線対流式 オーブンフライヤー ] or seki-gaisen tairyu-shiki oven fryer— meaning infrared convection oven fryer. Since they use halogen heat lamps, they are also called halogen countertop ovens [ ハロゲンオーブンカウンタートップ ].
The glass cooking bowl does get quite hot, but there is minimal noise from the convection fan to bother your neighbors. Some halogen ovens are pretty small and just good enough for a couple of pieces of fried chicken, or tonkatsu, or you can make a small batch of fries.
The premium large Nuwave Halogen Oven is a top seller and can take a 12 inch baking tray or a 30 cm pizza. It can be set to Celsius or Fahrenheit. Other US parallel imports with dials will only have Fahrenheit, but there are an increasing number of Chinese and Hong Kong products.
Making stuff like fried chicken wings or breasts usually require some rotating. A better option for these kinds of foods would be an air fryer. The halogen oven, however, is all round more versatile with its steaming capability and you can place any kind of dish or baking tray on the bottom rack.
The Air Fryer – most popular small oven in Japan
Air fry is a word bandied about by many appliances, including convection oven toasters. Any contraption claiming to be an air fryer, or to do air frying, basically just has a convection fan heater. And that’s what a classic countertop air fryer is— a convection oven in a basket.
This kind of heating or cooking has a similar effect to deep frying. So you can make potato fries, crispy chicken, barbecue wings, ika furai, or tonkatsu— minus most of the oil. It’s debatable whether air fry actually tastes better than deep or pan fry, but it’s certainly healthier, and less messy than dealing with a wok of oil.
The air fryer oven is quite popular in Japan, and like the halogen oven, has an international foodie following. They come in various sizes, shapes, and designs from the small and handy, to large enough to cook for 4 people. Air fryers are great for making fried treats, main or side dishes for a meal. They also make desserts like donuts, cinnamon rolls, French bread sticks, sweet pastries, and more.
In Japan, the air fry oven is marketed under a number of names. They can directly be called air fryer [ エアフライヤー ] , or more colloquially [ ノンフライヤー ] non-fryer meaning ‘no oil’ fryer, or sometimes they pass as an electric fryer [ 電気フライヤー ].
Innsky 1.5 L Electric Fryer
The Countertop Gas Oven – best pro oven choice in Japan
Rinnai Kitchen specialize in a number of premium built-in kitchen appliances, including gas cooktops and ovens. Their larger pro range countertop oven which can include convection measures W470 × D645 × H586 mm. They use 12A / 13A city gas and are not complicated to use.
The best recommended semi-pro gas oven for a private house or apartment is the smaller RMC-S12E / (price link). It also incorporates a microwave with two settings of 200 W and 500 W. The oven measures W490 × D556 × 516 mm. It has a convection fan, a turn table on the bottom, and one baking rack position above.