Japanese Street Food: Top 15 Delicious Dishes You Shouldn’t Miss

When traveling to some Asian countries like Vietnam, Taiwan or Thailand, it is pretty easy for tourists to try some local street food on the streets or in some night markets. But in Japan, there is something different. Japanese street food culture is less popular than that of other countries. In fact, there are not many stalls selling food on the streets of Japan. But it doesn’t mean tourists don’t have an opportunity to try the street food here as there are hundreds of festivals happened every year in Japan and they are the best places for tourists to experience the diversity of street food as well as discover the cuisine of the land of the rising Sun. If you are planning for a foodie adventure in Japan, here are 15 must-try street food dishes to look out for.

A List Of Japanese Street Food You Definitely Need To Try!

This list includes sweet and savory on-the-go dishes. All of them are cheap, yet high-quality and super yummy.

1. Baby Castella

Castella is a type of Japanese sponge cake. This cake is one of the dishes popular as gifts or omiyage souvenirs. The baby versions of Castella do not make fancy gifts, but they are really fun. Hot, fresh and baked in front of customers, they are voted as the best sweet street food of Japan.

Japanese street food

Baby Castella are cute and fun to eat,

Castella is made from basic ingredients, including flour, milk, eggs, and honey. The baby versions have the taste like pancakes or fresh waffles, but come in various shapes: round shape or Pikachu, Doraemon, Dorami shapes and so on.

Baby Castella is often sold at Yatai food stall at festivals at a temple or shrine so you can go there and see what you can find.

Price: JPY 500 to JPY 2000 ($ 4,5 to $18) depending on the amount you buy

2. Yakisoba

Next in our list is one of the Japanese noodle stir-fry dishes, Yakisoba. This type of noodle is made from ramen-style wheat noodles, which are stir-fried with small pieces of pork and several vegetables like onions, carrots, and cabbage.

Based on Chinese noodle, Yakisoba is poured with a seasonal special sauce, giving the noodles their spicy flavor and distinct tangy. Typically, the noodles are topped with red pickled ginger, fish flakes, and seaweed flakes, making Yakisoba is the perfect choice for snacks or a light meal.

Take a look at the video below to know how to make Yakisoba:

Price: JPY 500 to JPY600 ($4,5 to $5,4)

3. Takoyaki

Takoyaki is a famous Japanese street food originally coming from Osaka city. In Japanese, Takoyaki means “fried Octopus”, a worthy name for this well-known dish containing fried balls of batter filled with tempura pieces, ginger, green onions, and octopus. Usually, the crispy takoyaki balls are topped with more fish shavings, mayonnaise, green onions, and a specific takoyaki sauce which is the same as Worcester sauce. Even Takoyaki contains octopus, its taste is pleasantly gooey and actually surprisingly mild. Takoyaki can be found pretty easily in many Japanese cities, especially in Osaka city where the dish was born.

How Takoyaki is served in Japan? Check out the video below:

Price: JPY 500 to JPY600 ($4,5 to $5,4)

4. Dango

It should be a mistake if we don’t mention Dango in the list of must-try Japanese street food. Dangos are round dumplings made from firm glutinous rice flour and water, boiled until the dumplings are firm. Normally, they are served on a skewer and seasoned with various savory or sweet sauces or flavored pastes. One of the most popular versions of the dish is Mitarashi Dango which are the rice dumplings grilled and covered in a soy-based sauce. These delicious snacks are often sold outside Shinto shrines.

Japanese street food

Dango are round dumblings made from firm glutinous rice flour and water.

         SEE MORE:

Price: JPY 150 – JPY 300 ($1,35 to $2,7) per one dango depending on what kind of dango you eat

5. Karaage

Karaage, or Japanese fried chicken, can be used as a main dish or snacks that most people from children to elderly love to eat. Karaage is made by marinating bite-size pieces of chicken in soy sauce, sake, garlic and ginger before covering them with potato starch generously. When fried, the potato starch transforms into an extreme crispy shell covering a flavorful juicy chicken bite.

Japan street food

Karaage, or Japanese fried chicken, can be used as a main dish or snacks.

Price: JPY 150 per 100 gram ($1,35 per 100 gr)

6. Okonomiyaki

On your Japanese street food adventure, Okonomiyaki is a healthy snack that you shouldn’t miss. Okonomiyaki is sometimes known as the Japanese pizza as it is made like a pizza. Okonomiyaki owns a firm base and is stacked with plenty of meats and vegetables on top. The base of Okonomiyaki is made from cabbage, eggs, and flour and is baked on a grill. Okonomiyaki is sold as a popular dish in the Kansai area. And according to many locals, the best Okonomiyaki is said to be found in Hiroshima or Osaka. If you don’t have a chance to visit these places above, don’t worry as Tokyo’s street vendors also sell this dish at a very reasonable price with high quality.

Japanese street food

Okonomiyaki is sometimes known as the Japanese pizza.

Price: JPY 500 to JPY 600 ($4,5 to $5,4)

7. Taiyaki

Taiyaki is a fish-shaped pancake filled with red bean paste. This dish has a pretty crispy exterior and a very soft interior inside which can also be filled with Nutella, chocolate, cream, matcha or custard. Taiyaki is also available with savory versions of snack, filled with vegetables, sausages, cheese or potatoes. Taiyaki batter is made of baking soda, flour, sugar, and salt, which is baked in detailed fish-shaped molds, giving the finished Taiyaki its specific shape.

Japanese street food

Taiyaki is Japanese fish-shaved cake.

Price: JPY 150 ($1,35)

8. Korokke

Like crepes, Korokke is made based on a classic French dish. Containing cream sauce or mashed potatoes covered by a breaded and deep-fried patty, this dish is inspired by French croquettes. Quite greasy and casual, korokke can be made with many other fillings based on certain regions. When you buy korokke from Japanese street food vendors, it is wrapped in paper to make it easy to hold and eat.

Japanese street food

Korokke is made based on a classic French dish.

Price: JPY 100 ($0,9) for Vegi Kokokke

          JPY 300 ($2,7) for Beef Kokokke

9. Kakigori

Kakigori is a Japanese shaved ice dessert flavored with syrup and a sweetener, often condensed milk. If you travel to Japan in summer, Kakigori will be a must-try dessert for you. It is sweet, refreshing and perfect when you do not really have an appetite due to the heat of summer. It is served with sweet, various flavored syrup, such as melon, grape, green tea, lemon, cherry, strawberry, “Blue Hawaii”, … Some vendors sell colorful varieties by using two or more syrup types. Kakigori is sold everywhere in Japan, especially at fairs and summer festivals.

Watch the video below to see what tourists talk about Kakigori:

Price: JPY 250 to JPY 500 ($2,25 to $4,5)

10. Watame

Another popular Japanese street food is Watame, a cotton candy preferred by children. This candy is often sold at festivals and comes wrapped in a plastic bad decorated with popular cartoon characters or J-POP bands.

Japan street food

Watame is a type of Japanese cotton candy sold on the streets or at festivals.

11. Onsen Tamago

Eggs which have been cooked by a natural onsen hot spring are called Onsen tamago. This slow cooking method turns the eggs into a texture like custard. Onsen tamago is often served in Soy Sauce or Daishi.

Japanese street food

Onsen Tamago is often served in Daishi or Soy sauce.

12. Choco Banana

If you have a sweet tooth, choco banana is definitely a Japan street food you should try. Basically, this dish is a banana covered chocolate on a stick and it is often eaten at Japanese summer festivals. it can be covered in strawberry or white chocolate, milk and is often kawaii and colorful.

street food in Japan

Choco banana is a Japanese street food for people who have a sweet tooth.

13. Kare Pan

Kare pan is Japanese bread filled with various types of savory ingredients. It is made from slightly sweet dough which has been breaded and deep-fried and the center of the cake is rich Japanese curry. Compared to other Asian curries, Japanese curry is pretty different, with a comparatively mild flavor and a dark color.  With a soft interior and a superbly crispy outside, this dish makes for an unusual but delicious Japanese snack.

japanese street food

Kare pan is tasty Japanese snack.

14. Yaki Tomorokoshi

Many foreign tourists fall in love with a type of Japanese street food which is called Yaki Tomorokoshi (grilled corn). The corn is boiled and then grilled with miso, giving it a pleasant smoky char. It is often served with butter, soy sauce, and brings out a sweet, yet umami-filled flavor. Compared to other street food choices, this dish is much healthier.

Want to know the way to make Japanese grilled corn? The video below is here for you:

15. Agemanju

To know what Agemanju is, you need to know what Manju is first. Manju are small round steamed cakes filled with a sweet paste. Agemanju are steamed Manjus covered in a tempura batter and deep-fried. These small cakes are very tasty from the shop – sweet and hot. Just be careful not to burn your tongue and your fingers.

japanese street food

This dish is hot, sweet and very tasty.

Normal Agemanju are filled with sweet red bean. Other versions are filled with matcha, sesame, sweet potato or ume plum.

If you think the 15 Japanese street food dishes above are not enough for your foodie adventure, check out the video from Sony – the famous food expert below to know which to eat in Tokyo, Japan. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Food Expensive In Tokyo?

Tokyo, Japan is a city famous for its extremely high price. Therefore, it is easy to understand why the price of food is expensive than that of other cities. Lunch in Tokyo costs roundly JPY 1000 ($9). Some certain shops and restaurants, especially those in business areas with lots of officers, also offer “one-coin lunches” for JPY 500 ($4,5).

However, the cost of dinner here varies greatly. A normal course meal has the price of over JPY 5000 ($45) per person, while the general price for dinner at a traditional Japanese pub ranges from JPY 3,000 ($27) to JPY 6,000 ($54) per person for both alcoholic drinks and snacks.

The cheapest choice is fast food such as burgers and noodles, having the price from JYP 100 to JPY 800. ($0,9 to $7,2).

2. How Much Is A Big Mac In Japan?

A Big Mac meal in Japan varies from JPY 630 to JPY 700 ($5,7 to $6,3).

3. How Much Is Ramen In Japan?

A standard bowl of ramen from a normal ramen restaurant has the price from JPY 700 to JPY 800 ($6,3 to $7,2). A bowl of ramen with all toppings costs over JPY 1000 ($9). Other cheap ramen shops sell standard ramen from JPY 500 ($4,5).

4. How Much Is A Cup Of Coffee In Japan?

In the convenient stores, a cup of coffee costs from JPY 100 to JPY 200 ($0,9 to $1,8). In the coffee shops, the price varies from JPY 300 to JPY 500 ($2,7 to $5,4).

About Haruto Suzuki

Haruto Suzuki is a senior food and drinks blogger at Question Japan. He has a background in F&B industry and also experience of running his own Japanese restaurant in Tokyo for over 10 years. Therefore, he has a great knowledge of Japanese cuisine. So if you want to discover Japan through its unique traditional cuisine, Haruto Suzuki’s blog will be a great source of information for you.

One Response

  1. Stephany says:

    Great, thanks.
    Lots of information is covered.