Donburi vs Don : What is the Difference in Meaning?

When you think of food containers unique to Japan, what comes to mind? As you know, we Japanese sometimes pack foods in a plastic box called “Bento-Bako (弁当箱)” to make it easy to carry them.

Above all, we are most familiar with ceramic bowls as steamed plain rice, the staple food of the Japanese, is served in the bowl. There are several types of Japanese ceramic bowls, but among those, “Donburi (丼)” is especially famous in the world.

The Difference in Meaning between Donburi, Don, Donburi-Mono, and Donburi-Bachi

Speaking of Donburi, have you ever heard that there are 3 Japanese terms associated with it? They are “Don (丼)”, “Donburi-Mono (丼物)”, and “Donburi-Bachi (丼鉢)”. Actually, these 4 Japanese words partly have the same meaning, so today let me explain the difference in specific meaning between them.

Donburi (丼) and Don (丼)

Donburi and Don mean the same thing. In other words, Don is the abbreviation for Donburi and typically used in the name of Japanese rice bowl dishes as a suffix, like “Katsu-Don (カツ丼)” and “Maguro-Don (マグロ丼)“.

Donburi-Mono (丼物)

Donburi Mono

There are 2 meanings in Donburi and Don. As you can guess from the above, Japanese rice dishes served in thick bowls with depth are one, and “Donburi-Mono (丼物)” is the Japanese term for this meaning.

Donburi-Bachi (丼鉢)

Donburi Bachi

The other meaning only refers to the container itself, or thick Japanese food bowls with depth. The meaning of Donburi and Don includes Donburi-Mono, so in order to solely mean the bowl itself, we use the word “Donburi-Bachi (丼鉢)”.

Donburi-Bachi are traditionally ceramic bowls, but in modern times it is often made from plastic. Besides, although Donburi-Mono are Japanese rice dishes served in Donburi-Bachi, Donburi-Bachi isn’t only for Donburi-Mono.

Specifically, Donburi-Bachi refers to thick Japanese bowls with depth used to serve rice dishes (Donburi-Mono), soups, and noodle dishes (Ramen, Udon, and Soba) in particular.

(Reference pages of this article : Wikipedia , 丼物, 丼鉢 )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. I want to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures and trivia.

2 Responses

  1. English man says:

    What is donmono or don? Its called this in s01e06 of shokugeki no souma but i cant find any info on google about just “donmono”? Ive found donbashimono and oyakodon. So now im just confused 🤔

    • Tomo says:

      Thank you for the comment!

      The Japanese word “丼” has 2 readings, Donburi and Don, and the term Don-mono is written as “丼物” in Kanji Chinese characters.
      Hence, Donburi-mono and Don-mono have the same meaning.

      In the same way, Don-Bachi-Mono is written as “丼鉢物” in Kanji. Japanese rarely use the term “Don-Bachi-Mono (丼鉢物)” in daily life, but I guess the term refers to rice dishes served in Donburi-Bachi, in other words Donburi-mono.

      “Oyakodon (親子丼)” is a common Japanese rice bowl dish known as chicken and egg bowl in English. Donburi-Mono includes Oyakodon, Katsudon, Tendon, Gyudon, Kaisendon and so on, because these Japanese rice bowl dishes are served in Donburi-Bachi.

      I hope this will help.

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