If you are wondering if fish and rice is all that makes up Japanese food, you are in for a pleasant surprise. Not only is there plenty of variety on offer, there is enough choice of wonderful dishes for vegetarians as well.
Exploring street food in Japan is quite a unique and memorable culinary experience. Street food stalls in Japan are traditionally known as yatai. They are seen in large numbers mostly during festival time but given that Japan celebrates hundreds of festivals all year round all over the country, it should not be hard to come across these food vendors selling tasty, authentic and even some rare traditional Japanese dishes.
Discover Japan’s street food culture at the yatai stalls where you can sample the best of traditional fare at very affordable prices. We have listed down our guide to the top street food in Japan that we believe are truly worth a try when you travel to The Land of the Rising Sun.
Yakiimo is a simple rustic Japanese meal of a sweet potato baked on a wood fire and served fresh and hot wrapped in brown paper. To prepare yakiimo, a satsuma-imo or Japanese sweet potato is baked whole with the skin intact. Baked sweet potato is a common street snack that is typically relished by the locals during the colder seasons in autumn and winter. Take a bite of the crispy skin and sink your teeth into the soft and sweet smoked pulp of the satsuma-imo. Yakiimo is a hearty and delicious street food that you simply must have whilst in Japan.
You are in for a bit of a fun and surprise with this favourite Japanese street food. It looks interesting and tastes super delicious. Taiyaki is shaped like a fish but is not made with any of it. This street food is actually a fish-shaped cake that has a waffle like texture on the outside and a filling of either red bean paste, cheese, chocolate or custard on the inside. Clever isn’t it! The two sides of the fish-shaped crust are baked separately and sandwiched together once the filling is added. So when you bite into a taiyaki, the lovely yummy filling just oozes out to fill your mouth with that gooey goodness. Taiyaki is really special so make sure you don’t miss out on trying one.
Similar to Satay that is of Indonesian origin, Yakitori is the Japanese version of skewering pieces of marinated meat, usually chicken, on a bamboo stick then grilling or barbecuing it on a charcoal fire till well cooked. Yakitori is a very common Japanese street food. You will come across yakitori stalls selling succulent chicken skewers not just in market places in Tokyo, but everywhere you go in Japan. The marination sauces for the chicken pieces can range from soy sauce and salt to the more exotic and sharp tasting ones such as wasabi, karashi or Japanese mustard and umeboshi which is sour pickled plum paste. Chicken yakitori is one of the safest non vegetarian street foods in Japan so if you are not a very adventurous traveller, this is definitely the one to go ahead and try.
Deep red, flaming orange, sunshine yellow, bright red and more! The sight of these brightly coloured glazed sweets being sold by street vendors is sure to attract and delight children and adults alike. Buying fruit dipped in candy syrup as a roadside treat is a popular tradition in all parts of Japan. Get yourself a few of each type - candied apricots, candied apples and if you are lucky enough to be visiting during strawberry season, then candied strawberries too. This simple and colourful Japanese sweet is sure to being a smile on your face, as you relive your childhood days of candies and lollipops.
Japan holds much fascination and charm for the first time visitor. Use our Japan travel guide to find out more about the country, visa requirements and to plan your vacation to Japan taking all aspects into consideration. Ensure that you do not leave for your trip without buying travel insurance for Japan. Making sure you buy travel insurance beforehand is necessary because it can safeguard your finances in the event of any mishap or emergency during your travel, such as an accident, loss of your luggage or passport or even trip cancellation. Insuring your overseas trip will allow you to explore and make the most of your trip to Japan.