How Japanese Clear Soup “Suimono” is different from Miso Soup

Miso soup and plain white rice are the quintessential comfort food most familiar to us Japanese.

In recent years, a variety of popular Japanese instant Miso soups are available on online shopping sites outside of Japan, so you might have tried those ready-to-eat authentic Miso soups before.

The Difference between Miso Soup and Suimono Clear Soup

“Suimono (吸い物)” clear soupSuimono

But have you ever eaten or heard of another common Japanese soup, “Suimono (吸い物)”? which is also known as “Osuimono (お吸い物)”.

Just as “Okashi (お菓子)” has the same meaning as “Kashi (菓子)”, in these cases “O (お)” is just the Japanese prefix for making a polite expression.

Let’s get back on track. Today, for those who don’t know much about Suimono soup, let me explain how Suimono is different from Miso soup.


As you know, Miso soup has a brown color that comes from its main seasoning, Miso soybean paste, while Suimono, or Osuimono is a kind of clear soup.

The soup broth of Suimono is made basically by seasoning “Dashi (出汁)” soup stock with soy sauce and salt. However, in addition, Miso can also be used as a seasoning for Suimono.


Both Miso soup and Suimono clear soup can contain various ingredients from seafood and meat to vegetables, mushrooms, tofu, and eggs. The ingredient in Suimono and Miso soup is generally called “Mi (実)”.

Soup Bowl 

Japanese lacquered soup bowl

Many Japanese use a wooden bowl for Miso soup, while the Japanese clear soup, Suimono is often served in a lacquered soup bowl.

Of course, Miso soup can also be eaten with a lacquered bowl and Suimono can also be served in a wooden bowl.


Miso soup is a type of “Shirumono (汁物)”. Shirumono is the generic term for the soup dishes served with rice in Japanese cuisine and can be flavored with Miso soybean paste, soy sauce, salt or a mixture of these seasonings.

On the other hand, the Japanese clear soup, Suimono is a type of “Sakana (肴)“, so it is considered an accompaniment for Sake rice wine. This is why Suimono can be seasoned with Miso soybean paste and may become browny in color.

(Reference pages of this article : Wikipedia 汁物, 吸い物 )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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