Gomoku: Meaning of the Japanese Word

Gomoku (五目) is a Japanese word often used in the names of Japanese dishes but rarely heard in everyday life.

If I give an example, when I hear the word, what comes to my mind right away is only four things,

  • Gomoku Narabe (五目並べ)
  • Gomoku Zushi (Sushi) (五目寿司)
  • Gomoku Chahan (五目炒飯)
  • Gomoku Ramen (五目ラーメン)

Three out of them, that is, Gomoku Sushi, Gomoku Chahan, and Gomoku Ramen, are food names.

Meanwhile, the rest, Gomoku Narabe, is the name of a Japanese board game, which can be abbreviated to Gomoku. 

So what we Japanese mean by saying Gomoku in daily life is almost always Gomoku Narabe

The Meaning of Gomoku in Japanese Cuisine

Gomoku Ramen

The word, Gomoku, is composed of two Kanji characters, 五 (Go), meaning five in Japanese, and 目, usually pronounced as Me meaning eye.

But in this case, the latter is a counter word for pieces and read as Moku, and Go-Moku stands for five pieces/varieties.

However, when the word is used in the names of dishes, it has a different meaning from the original.

In Japanese cuisine, the word Gomoku can refer to a dish made with a wide variety of ingredients, which is not limited to 5 kinds. 

Thus, Gomoku Zushi, Gomoku Chahan, and Gomoku Ramen generally use more food materials than average varieties in their categories.


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.

2 Responses

  1. Besimple says:

    I love detail like this! I have occasionally heard “Gomoku” on NHK World or YouTube videos and I hope I can remember it’s meaning next time I do!

    • Tomo says:

      Thank you for commenting!
      It seems I also love to explain this way 🙂 In some cases, a Chinese character or Kanji has some different meanings. And in this case, it is worthwhile to explain the meanings of Kanjis like this 🙂

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