This list of Japanese street foods will sweep you away on a culinary adventure.
From sticky candied fruit to crispy cabbage pancakes, they’re all delish!
Where do I even start with my love for
Where do I even start with my love for Japanese cuisine? There’s a reason the country is known to be a gastronomy paradise, after all.
But if you think Japanese street foods stop at sushi and ramen, get ready to have your mind blown!
Below you’ll find a detailed guide to 27 of the best street foods in Japan. I’m talking onigiri, gyoza, takoyaki, ikayaki, and more!
Meshiagare! Bon appétit!
27 Most Popular Japanese Street Foods & Must-Try Dishes
Takoyaki might be one of Japan’s most famous street foods.
Each little golden ball contains a mixture of dough and grilled octopus. But my favorite part has to be the incredible toppings.
Between the healthy dose of soy sauce, Japanese mayo, and bonito flakes, I hope your palate is ready for a tasty treat.
Have you ever been lucky enough to try okonomiyaki? If not, I can’t recommend it enough.
It’s seriously my favorite dish on the whole list! And it’s just a mix of flour, shredded cabbage, eggs, and meat.
I say “just,” but when it’s fried like a pancake, it’s crispy on the outside and wonderfully textural on the inside.
And just like takoyaki, you’ll go heavy on the garnishes.
Expect a generous helping of scallions, pickled red ginger, and okonomiyaki sauce slathered on top.
Every mouthful of this classic Japanese dish oozes with rich, umami flavors. Try it once and you’ll crave it all the time.
3. Yakitori (Japanese Skewered Chicken)
The next time you’re hosting a party, add this popular Japanese street food to the menu. Your guests will go nuts for the rich, savory finger food.
It looks like regular grilled chicken skewers, except you’ll marinate these bad boys in a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, and sugar.
And the result is out of this world.
Perfectly charred chicken skewers full of sweet, smoky flavors? I’ll take a plateful, please!
How cute is this Japanese street food?
If you’re unfamiliar, taiyaki is a traditional fish-shaped cake loaded with a mouthwatering red bean paste.
Best served warm, the consistency is a little like a waffle. But the filling is the real star.
You can buy anko (red bean paste) and the waffle maker online. Once you have those, they’re a breeze to whip up.
5. Kushikatsu (Kushiage)
Originating in Osaka, this popular street food has become beloved by the locals. After one bite, you’ll see why.
Kushikatsu consists of skewered meat and vegetables breaded and deep-fried to perfection.
The best part is the sauce. You’ll need Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, and sugar. Whisk it up and serve!
6. Kinkan Kanro-ni (Japanese Candied Kumquats)
Kinkan Kanro-ni (Japanese candied kumquats) are sweet little nuggets you’ll quickly become obsessed with.
They’re not crunchy but rather chewy with a deliciously sweet and sour finish.
I love them as is, but they’re a yummy addition to desserts – like the panna cotta recipe featured here.
7. Wataame (Cotton Candy)
In America, cotton candy typically makes appearances at fairs or carnivals.
But in Japan, you can find this colorful concoction at street vendors throughout the country. That said, wataame is a staple during the summer.
It’s a popular accessory to tote while strolling the summer sidewalks. And you won’t believe the fun shapes and colors you can find!
Every mouthful evaporates on your tongue with sugary deliciousness.
8. Imagawayaki/Obanyaki (Wheel Cake)
Just like the name suggests, this cute cake resembles a wheel. All you need is one bite to roll away into dessert paradise.
It’s crispy and flakey on the outside with a scrumptious red bean paste at the center.
Ready in under an hour, they’re a super fun and unique treat for any occasion.
Onigiri has to be one of the easiest, tastiest Japanese snacks out there. In fact, the most basic version requires just two ingredients: sushi rice and seaweed.
Of course, it’s better with fillings!
The most popular options include salted salmon, pickled plums, or canned tuna. But you can fill onigiri with whatever your heart desires!
Better yet, it’s a terrific way to use up any rice leftovers. They’re super portable and perfect for stowing away for a quick pick-me-up.
Melonpan is a type of sweet Japanese bun with a gridline pattern on top. Think hot-crossed buns but even tastier.
I think the taste and texture resemble a cookie rather than bread. And they’re super tasty with your mid-morning coffee.
The best part is the sugary topping that creates a sweet crunch in every bite.
Gyoza are a classic Japanese street food popular with the late-night crowd.
Each bite is juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. And they come in so many yummy flavors!
To ensure they’re perfectly cooked inside but still crunchy on the edges, you’ll pan-fry and then steam them.
It sounds like a pain, but it’s effortless. I promise it’s nothing you can’t handle.
Stuff them with ground pork, mushrooms, chicken, or tofu. Just don’t forget the dipping sauces!
12. Mitarashi Dango
If you’ve never heard of mitarashi dango, allow me to rock your world.
This sweet and savory dish consists of soft rice dumplings bathed in tangy soy sauce glaze.
You’ll appreciate all the different textures and flavors, from chewy and charred to surprisingly sugary.
Since they’re served on a stick, they make the perfect companion for strolling Tokyo’s streets.
13. Yaki Tomorokoshi (Japanese Corn on the Cob)
If you think seasoning corn on the cob stops at butter and salt, you’re in for a treat!
Yaki tomorokoshi takes plain old charred corn to another level with miso, butter, and soy sauce.
The result is an umami-rich snack that you’ll want at every BBQ from now on.
14. Japanese Ice Cream (Soft Cream)
Japanese ice cream (aka “soft cream”) resembles soft-serve ice cream with a unique twist.
It generally rests at around 23 degrees Fahrenheit (-5°C), giving it a deliciously melted quality that tastes unlike anything else.
You’ll discover that Japanese ice cream actually isn’t that cold. Instead, it’s just frosty enough to cool you down while melting deliciously on your palate.
Who doesn’t love a piping hot bowl of ramen?
I crave this rich, savory broth with soft noodles and fatty pork as soon as the weather gets chilly.
And you’ll find ramen joints scattered throughout Japanese cities and villages. The service is always quick, making it a superb on-the-go meal.
Unfortunately, recreating homemade ramen is pretty labor intensive; the broth alone can take 1-2 days to make.
So if you ask me, it’s better to leave it to the professionals. But if you’re up for a challenge, give it a shot!
16. Ikayaki (Japanese Grilled Squid)
If you love meat on a stick, you’ll love ikayaki.
It’s a simple dish that yields delectable results. And all you have to do is marinade squid, grill it, and serve.
It’s as easy as that!
Traditionally served with lemon and a beer, ikayaki is a tasty snack or light dinner.
17. Japanese Crepes
Japanese crepes are ideal for anyone with a sweet tooth.
They’re slightly crisper than their French counterparts and just as light and delicious. They’re also filled with raw ingredients rather than cooked.
You’ll find many different fillings for Japanese crepes, including fruit, ice cream, yogurt, and more.
18. Senbei (Rice Crackers)
If you consider yourself a cracker connoisseur, you need to try senbei.
These crispy rice crackers are full of umami flavors, thanks to the addition of soy sauce and black sesame seeds.
You’ll experience an unforgettable crunch every time you pop one of these little guys into your mouth. Serve with your favorite dips.
19. Shu Cream (Japanese Cream Puff)
Do you obsess over cream puffs? If the answer is yes, you’ll go bananas for shu cream.
These Japanese cream puffs combine everything you love about the classic dessert: airy pastry, rich custard, and a dusting of powdered sugar.
You’ll also find other custard variations, including green tea, strawberry, and coffee.
20. Shioyaki (Salt Grilled Fish)
If you’re a purist when it comes to seasoning, you’ll appreciate shioyaki.
To create this simple-yet-delicious dish, season your fish of choice with salt, soy sauce, lemon, and grated daikon (radish).
Grill your fish over a charcoal pit, and that’s it!
You can have this Japanese street food ready for chowing down in no time.
21. Yaki Imo (Baked Japanese Sweet Potatoes)
Are you intrigued by a sweet potato that tastes like cake? Then keep reading.
Japanese sweet potatoes are more creamy and sugary than their orange cousins. And you’ll also notice the exterior is purple, and the flesh is white.
The texture of a baked Japanese sweet potato is starchier and drier, almost likened to a fluffy cake.
Is your mouth watering? If so, definitely give yaki imo a try.
22. Choco Banana
The next time you’re craving something cool and sweet, try choco bananas.
It’s as straightforward as freezing bananas on sticks and dipping them in melted chocolate.
Top with chopped nuts, sprinkles, or a caramel drizzle. Yum!
You can also experiment with different flavors. For example, you’ll find bananas covered in matcha, strawberry, and white chocolate in Japan.
23. Kakigori (Shaved Ice)
Kakigori is one of the best ways to stay cool during Japan’s warmer months.
You create this treat by spinning a chunk of ice over a blade. The shaved ice is light and delicate.
Pile it into a container, then top it with everything from matcha tea to red bean paste.
It’s an elegant dessert that’s practically calorie-free.
24. Korokke (Japanese Croquettes)
Have you ever tried korokke? You’re about to!
Imagine sinking your teeth into a crispy croquette loaded with mashed potatoes, sautéed ground beef, and onions.
If this makes your mouth water, you’ve gotta give this recipe a shot.
25. Nikuman (Steamed Pork Buns)
If there’s one Japanese street food I’m always craving, it’s nikuman.
Also known as steamed pork buns, they’re a rich delicacy jam-packed with comforting flavors.
I mean, who wouldn’t love biting into a soft, doughy bun packed with pork, mushrooms, scallions, and cabbage?
If your stomach is grumbling, check out this recipe. It’s surprisingly easy to make at home.
26. Curry Rice
Did you know curry rice is considered to be Japan’s national home-cooking dish?
A cozy dish of a roux-based stew, warm curry spice, and soft rice, it’s just as scrummy as it sounds!
It’s an easy meal that will warm you up on any chilly eve. Serve with breaded and fried chicken for a complete meal.
If stews are your love language, get ready to meet your new favorite dish.
Oden is a one-pot meal that includes multiple ingredients, such as daikon, boiled eggs, and fishcakes (to name a few).
These umami-rich additions bathe in a light, soy-infused dashi broth. How can it get any better than that?
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?