Japanese street food is most commonly found during the many festivals that happen throughout the country, and with more than 100,000 annual events there's more than ample opportunity to get your street food fix. Packed with colourful yatai or “street food vendors” street food offerings include various regional sweet and savoury delicacies.
Some popular street foods might be recognizable from your favourite Japanese restaurant. For instance, yakitori, ramen and yakisoba. But you will probably notice a significant difference in taste from their street food counterpart. You might even be surprised to find your favourite yakitori or chicken skewers come with chicken livers and skin when eaten streetside.
Other more interesting and unusual dishes which you might not have seen on a menu include: Taikayi, fun fish shaped sweet treats, or takoyaki, fried dough balls with lobster.
Japan hasn’t always been synonymous with street food, but it’s a growing trend that has slowly taken hold in Tokyo and Osaka, home to the famous okonomiyaki pancake. Kyoto can also stake a claim as historical home to the symbolic baked sweet potatoes where the vendors have cried ‘ishi-yakiimo-ya’ to announce their arrival since the 18th century.
If you plan on going to Japan soon or have simply got a street food craving have a look at this useful infographic from the House of Genjii and get the lowdown on some of the best dishes worth trying:
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