Popular Street Food In Japan

Popular Street Food In Japan

Most Popular Street Food In Japan

Street Food is hugely popular all around the world. From London to Los Angeles, Mexico to Madrid,”Popular Street Food In Japan” eating from stalls and vendors has transformed its image during the early 21st Century to become one of the coolest ways to enjoy a meal.

“Popular Street Food In Japan”. Japan is no different and is well known for being one of the global capitals for food lovers.Japan is a country that is internationally renowned for its incredible food scene. Tokyo boasts some of the greatest Michelin Starred restaurants that offer unique, one of a kind experiences well worth the plane ticket. On the other hand, the Japanese street food scene requires a bit of navigation.

There’s usually no eating on the trains or buses, no eating while walking, and no garbage cans for people looking to avoid bringing their trash home. Despite all of these societal norms and conventions, street food has carved out a distinct identity within Japan’s food culture and its street food vendors are known as Yatai. Street food stalls were once on the decline, the concept is officially making a comeback in Japan ,which is simply and indisputably one of the best places in the world to eat. Of course, the sheer variety and volume of amazing dishes can seem daunting, especially if you’re new to Japanese cuisine.

Festival Favorites

Japan is a country with many festivals and every festival features food stalls, that attract customers with their colorful displays and amazing scents.”Popular Street Food In Japan”. Streets are often filled with people moving about as they stroll leisurely and go with the flow of the crowd as they enjoy the event. Festivals are one of the few rare occasions that Japanese people can be seen eating while walking. Many festival goers often look forward to festival foods that they can eat on the go.

What are some popular Japanese street food dishes?

1. Yaki-imo

Sweet potatoes baked over a wood fire, Yaki Imo are sold by trucks and carts that traditionally drove around advertising their wares through a loudspeaker that repeated ‘Yaki Imo’ over and over. These trucks, fitted with wooden stoves that send clouds of smoke into the air, have long been seen as a nostalgic symbol of Japan’s street food past. You’ll also find Daigaku Imo, which sees deep fried sweet potato served with sweet syrup and sesame seeds or sometimes cut into chips or crisps. Also look out for another street food favourite called Jaga Bata, which is basically a regular baked potato with its skin peeled off and covered with butter.

2. Okonomiyaki

It’s everything you love in one delicious pancake. Pile all of your favourite foods together, add batter and make a pancake out of it.Well, not exactly, but try the same cooking method with ingredients like octopus, shrimp, pork, yam or kimchi, and you’ll be able to create this Japanese street food favourite that won’t be difficult to find in Japan at all.

“Popular Street Food In Japan”.With mayonnaise and sweet sauce drizzled on the top, the savoury pancake provides a hearty meal customised to your palette. Nab down the perfect combination of ingredients and allow okonomiyaki to live up to its namesake of providing “what you like,” which is exactly what ‘okonomi’ means, while ‘yaki’ translates to “grilled.”

3. Ikayaki

It might seem a little unconventional, but one bite of this yummy Japanese street food will change your mind.

“Popular Street Food In Japan”. Vendors selling squid pierced through the length of its body with a wooden skewer stick is completely normal in Japan and particularly in Osaka. Vendors grill the skewered squid and then top it off with soy sauce. Its simple recipe leaves room for customers to experience the freshness and delightfully chewy texture of the squid. This may be a simple snack, but when cooked correctly, the slimy meat transforms into a plump and tender culinary work of art.

4. Kakigori

This summer treat leaves snow cones in the dust with added condensed milk, sweetener and flavoured syrup. Sure, the add ons are simple, but they change the course of the game. The typical shaved ice transforms into a feathery soft cloud of sweet holiness. You can taste the rich sweetness as you would with ice cream, but the light consistency of the kakigori leaves your body feeling guilt free

This cool treat has been popular since 11th century Japan and even has its own day, known as Kakigori Day, every 25th of July. You can find Japanese shaved ice being sold by street food vendors, at summer festivals, and at Kakigori specialty stores.

5. Taiyaki

Don’t be fooled by the fish imprint in the sweet doe, Taiyaki has nothing to do with sea creatures and eaten as a dessert or snack, vendors regularly fill these golden fish pieces with red bean paste, custard, chocolate or cheese.

Today, many people in Japan can be seen holding the fish shaped dessert in their hands as they walk around both in and out of festivals, a sign of the popularity of this treat.

6. Senbei

Pour yourself a cup of green tea and munch on one of these delectable rice crackers. Senbei come in a plethora of sizes, shapes and flavours. The crackers are usually baked or grilled, and are enhanced with soy sauce and mirin. Senbei usually are  savoury, but can also be sweet. They are made from baked or grilled non glutinous rice and are one of the oldest and most popular foods in Japan, having been around since the Tang Dynasty.

Hugely popular and ubiquitous rice crackers that are available in hundreds of different flavours. There are many regional variations and the kind you will find at Yatai street food vendors are usually cooked over a charcoal grill.

7. Dango

These spherical Japanese dumplings are made from rice flour and blanketed with a delectable layer of shoyu and sugar sauce. Most dango prefer to stay sweet, but the level of sweetness depends on the type of dango. If you’re feeling like a light sugary snack, try the kawaii colored hanami dango, which is pink, white, and green. For those craving a bite of something heavy, rich and gooey, take a shot at the sweet potato filled ikinari dango.

8. Takoyaki

Takoyaki is a ball shaped pancake made of a wheat flour based batter. The fried dish is usually filled with seafood, such as octopus, and topped with mayonnaise, ginger pickles, and fermented fish flakes.These treats are perfectly golden fried balls with a crispy exterior and a soft and chewy inside .These savoury balls have their own special griddles equipped with cast iron moulds that help create that classic spherical shape.

9. Bento

A hot lunch spot in the business districts in Japan, bento stands are super popular and usually sell out in less than an hour. These colourful boxes are full of an assortment of meat, rice, and vegetables, and altogether offer an easy and delicious way to consume multiple dishes from one compact box. Some bentos you might find include chicken teriyaki bentos, grilled salmon bentos, beef steak bentos and even some with eggs and tempuras!

With the fierce competition from surrounding restaurants, street vendors and convenience stores, these local stands depend on loyal customers. Bento also appeals to expats and visitors who prefer more affordable and convenient meals. There’s also no need to worry about struggling with the language when pointing at your preferred box is all that’s needed.

10. Nikuman

Nikuman is widely available from street vendors to convenience stores to Chinese restaurants. These classic buns are the perfect way to warm yourself, they are typically served during the frosty winter season.

“The nikuman” are warm, juicy, and filled to the brim with pork. Although ‘niku’ refers to meat, some stores offer a variety of special fillings, such as pizza, chicken, or hamburger. All in all nikuman are one of the less outlandish street foods in Japan, so everyone from picky eaters to children will love biting into the soft buns.

11. Yakisoba

Another festival classic, noodles are expertly tossed around with two spatulas over a sizzling flat iron plate along with your choice of meat, sliced cabbage, and onion until they become perfectly cooked. Towards the end of the cooking process, a special yakisoba sauce is added to give its unique flavor.

The noodles are then topped with katsuobushi, aonori, and Japanese mayonnaise. Many people also enjoy their yakisoba with a fried egg with a half cooked yolk on top, mixing the two flavors together to create a delicious combination.

12. Yakitori

Yakitori is one of the best dishes to go along with some festival drinks. Maybe that’s why yakitori stalls and restaurants sell beer too.

Thanks to the bamboo skewers that are used as the vehicle for this food, it’s only natural that yakitori  became an iconic street food in Japan. Seasoned cooks are able to use whole chicken to provide an in depth experience for the eater.

The meat is usually grilled over charcoal which provides a subtle smoky flavor. And is finished with a special sauce or salt. These foods can often be seen in the hands of many festival goers since they can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Chicken skewers may not seem complicated, but with so many different types and flavorings, there’s more to it than you would think.

13. Crepes

Crepes have been adapted for the Japanese palate and have become a popular Japanese street food. They can often be seen in the hands of young women as well as children.

Made from a thin sheet of batter that has been cooked on an iron griddle. They are filled with sweet treats like whipped cream, chocolate or fruit that are wrapped into a cone shape to be eaten on the move.”Popular Street Food In Japan”.  Many crepe shops will have a range of variations for their customers to choose from. There are even savory crepes filled with things like sausage, lettuce, and salsa.

14. Shioyaki

While all of the Japanese street food catches the eye with beautiful, tasty looking presentations, shioyaki grilled fish skewer has a more unique presentation. This fish combines the slightly sweetfish, with salt, creating a perfect flavor combination. It is then skewered in a wave pattern and grilled to perfection.

“Popular Street Food In Japan”. The name actually comes from a cooking technique of salting and then grilling various types of fish. So you may see plenty of different types, like salmon, sea bream, or mackerel.

15. Imagawayaki

A thick pancake like dish filled with red bean paste, meat, potatoes, curry, cheese or custard. Imagawayaki can be found across Japan with different names and different fillings depending on the region.

16. Tomorokoshi

People are often surprised that corn cobs are so popular in Japan. Of course, the Japanese version is unique and delicious. It is grilled with miso, butter, and soy and served on a stick.

17. Yakisoba

Egg noodles fried with mixed vegetables and served in gently sweet and savoury Yakisoba sauce. Along with meat or vegetables, ideal for newcomers to Japanese cuisine.

18. Kare pan

Essentially a savoury donut, Kare pan is made of sweet fried dough and filled with Japanese curry. This can be an unusual, but surprisingly tasty snack if you’re expecting something sweet. Japanese curry is another hugely popular street food dish and can be found right across the country.

19. Korokke

The Japanese version of a French classic, the potato croquette, Japan’s Korokke is filled with meat. Seafood or vegetables and rolled in wheat flour, eggs. Then panko breadcrumbs before being deep fried to a golden brown.

20. Shioyaki

This is a salty fish, often mackerel, that is baked and served on a stick. A variation of this dish called tai no shioyaki. Made using salt grilled sea bream, is a traditional food at New Year’s.

Of course, in addition to this delicious and mouth watering list. There are many more incredible foods in Japan including two of the country’s favourites, sushi and ramen.

Which city has the best street food in Japan?

Tokyo and Osaka! While each city in Japan has something special to offer, these two are the ultimate foodie paradise with heaps of streets that are brimming with all kinds of tasty dishes.

Do’s and don’ts of eating street food in Japan

Here are some street food etiquette tips in Japan to help you avoid blunders during your trip:

Slurp away!

Common etiquette may tell you that loud slurping is rude, but in Japan, slurping is a show of appreciation. In Japanese culture, slurping your noodles shows how much you enjoy the meal. So the next time you eat in a ramen shop, feel free to slurp away!

Don’t eat while walking

You see it everyday people are strolling along the streets, enjoying their food. However in Japan, It’s considered somewhat rude. Many food vendors will have signs that request customers to finish their food first before hopping on the next stall.


Like any tourist hoping to visit Japan, learn the habit of saying itadakimasu before digging in your meals. The phrase means “I humbly receive,” and is a local custom for saying grace before eating.

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