Incredible Tokyo Street Food You Need To Try

Tokyo’s street food scene is a big part of what makes the city exciting, especially with its affordable and tasty options. Street food stalls, also called yatai, are everywhere, offering fresh food made right in front of you. Some of the best places to check out street food are Ameyoko in Ueno, Tsukiji Fish Market, Yanaka Ginza (which I really like), and Takeshita Street in Harajuku. Each area has its own special dishes.

In this food guide, I’ll walk you through what street food to try in Tokyo, where to find it, and what it tastes like. You are welcome to integrate this into your main Tokyo itinerary to ensure you know what to snack on while exploring the city. By the end, you’ll be a street food connoisseur!

Tips for enjoying street food in Tokyo

You will need cash (Japanese yen) when paying for street food in Tokyo or anywhere else in Japan. It’s extremely rare that vendors will accept cards.

If you don’t speak Japanese, you can point at the item you want to buy and show on your hand how many items you want.

When you get your street food, it’s polite to eat it in the designated area next to the stall you bought it from. Walking and eating at the same time is considered rude in Japan, so it’s important to follow this local custom.

After you’re done eating, return any sticks or packaging to the vendor, as they take care of disposing of the waste from their food.

Be prepared to queue as popular street food stalls usually have long lines, but these go really fast and the wait it’s well worth it.

Some stalls offer seasonal or special items that are not available elsewhere or at other times of the year. This is especially relevant during a matsuri.

Takoyaki also known as Octopus Balls in Ueno Tokyo
Takoyaki also known as Octopus Balls in Ueno Tokyo


Takoyaki are round Japanese snacks made with a tasty batter and bits of grilled octopus inside. They’re often called Octopus Dumplings and are a popular, budget-friendly food that leaves you wanting more.

These snacks get extra flavor from a mix of toppings. They’re covered with a sweet and sour sauce, Japanese mayo, shredded seaweed (nori), and either green onions or bonito flakes, which are fish shavings.

Ameyoko in Ueno is a great place to find takoyaki and there are stalls selling them year round.

Piece of Yakitori from Kufuraku Ginza main shop in Tokyo
Piece of Yakitori from Kufuraku Ginza main shop in Tokyo


Yakitori is basically skewered, grilled until it’s just right. It’s not unusual to find all kinds of offal parts, as it’s not always just chicken breast or thighs. Yakitori can be found everywhere in Tokyo, especially at food stalls and casual bars known as izakayas.

If you’re looking to try some yakitori, head over to Omoide Yokocho in Shinjuku. It’s a tight alley also called Memory Lane or Piss Alley, packed with small bars and eateries that serve up yakitori.

Get a Shinjuku food tour to experience yakitori and street food without the hassle of a language barrier.

Making okonomiyaki in Sometaro Asakusa restaurant
Making okonomiyaki in Sometaro Asakusa restaurant


Okonomiyaki is a Japanese pancake made with a batter of flour, water, and grated yam, and then mixed with things like cabbage, bamboo shoots, eggs, bacon, seafood, and meat.

It’s cooked on a grill and topped with things like seaweed, ginger, sauce, mayo, and bonito flakes.

Okonomiyaki is a popular street food, but you can find it in sit-down restaurants as well, where you normally make your own okonomiyaki at the table.

For a great okonomiyaki experience in Tokyo, I recommend Sometarō restaurant in Asakusa.

Japanese local selling dango
Japanese local selling dango


Dango are sweet rice dumplings, served on skewers, and made from mochiko, a type of glutinous rice flour. These chewy, slightly sticky dumplings are then coated with toppings or sauces, such as sweet soy sauce, red bean paste, or kinako (roasted soybean flour).

For delicious dango, check out the stalls near Nakamise-Dori, leading to Senso-ji Temple.

Crazy Crepes purchased from Harajuku filled with cream, berry sauce, white cheesecake and fruits
Crazy Crepes purchased from Harajuku filled with cream, berry sauce, white cheesecake and fruits

Crazy Crêpes

Crazy Crepes are a fun twist on traditional French crêpes, loaded with all sorts of sweet fillings. They’re super thin pancakes wrapped around a mix of fruits like strawberries and bananas, plus treats like whipped cream, matcha, and ice cream.

The variety is huge, and yes they are a delicious (yet highly caloric) treat. Harajuku, especially Takeshita Street is famous for these crêpes, with spots like Marion Crêpes and SWEET BOX being some of the best places to try them.

Greg from You Could Travel holding a rainbow cotton candy from Totti candy factory in Tokyo
Greg from You Could Travel holding a rainbow cotton candy from Totti candy factory in Tokyo

Cotton Candy

The rainbow cotton candy is a massive, colorful treat that’s as fun to look at as it is to eat. This oversized cotton candy, features layers of bright colors resembling a rainbow. It’s made by spinning regular cotton candy sugar in many different colors and layering them to create a rainbow effect.

One of the best places to get your hands on this photogenic snack is at TOTTI Candy Factory in Harajuku.

Roasted and ready to eat sweet potato in Japan
Roasted and ready to eat sweet potato in Japan

Roasted Sweet Potato

Sweet potato street food in Japan, called “yaki-imo,” is roasted sweet potatoes. They’re cooked slowly until very soft and sweet. You can buy them from street carts and trucks, especially in colder months.

Look for them in places like Ueno Park in Tokyo during fall and winter. If you love sweet potatoes and want to try them as street food in all sorts of forms, take a day trip to Kawagoe.

Greg from You Could Travel holding Tamagoyaki purchased at Tsukiji Market
Greg from You Could Travel holding Tamagoyaki purchased at Tsukiji Market


Tamagoyaki is a type of Japanese omelette that’s rolled up and served on a stick, topped with extras like fish roe. You can try this delicious dish at places like Tsukiji Market in Tokyo.

I’ve even started making tamagoyaki at home because I love its flavor so much. It’s become my go-to breakfast or a quick, protein-filled snack any time of the day.

Ikayaki on a stick served as street food in Japan
Ikayaki on a stick served as street food in Japan


Ikayaki is grilled squid on a stick, a favorite street food for seafood fans. The squid is grilled until it’s just right and usually comes with a sauce made from soy sauce and mirin.

Ikayaki is straightforward yet tasty, available in places like Tsukiji Market and Shinjuku’s alleyways.

Gyoza street food in Tokyo
Gyoza street food in Tokyo


Gyoza are Japanese dumplings that have a crispy outside and are filled with flavorful ingredients. They come with different fillings, like meat, veg or prawn, which is my favorite.

These dumplings have a thin skin and a juicy inside, and they’re pan-fried to get a mix of crispy and soft textures.

Gyozas are found on many izakaya menus and as a starter in ramen joints. For street food gyoza, head to Namja Gyoza Stadium in Ikebukuro.

Yaki onigiri with miso topping being prepared on a grill
Yaki onigiri with miso topping being prepared on a grill

Yaki Onigiri

Yaki Onigiri are grilled rice balls, a twist on traditional onigiri and a comforting street food in Japan. They’re made by grilling rice balls until crispy on the outside, which contrasts nicely with the soft rice inside.

These are prepared with sticky, short-grain Japanese rice formed into balls or triangles. They’re brushed with soy sauce, mirin, and sometimes a touch of sugar before grilling, creating a delicious umami taste. Some vendors also add fillings like pickled plums, grilled fish, or seasoned seaweed.

You’re most likely to find yaki onigiri in izakayas all around Tokyo.

Yaki tomorokoshi is a popular street food during festivals in Japan
Yaki tomorokoshi is a popular street food during festivals in Japan

Yaki Tomorokoshi

Yaki Tomorokoshi is grilled corn on the cob, a classic Japanese street food that brings back memories of childhood and family times. It’s a simple snack, great for eating while you’re out and about in Tokyo.

To make it, the corn is grilled and sometimes put on a stick to make it easy to eat. What makes it so tasty is a mix of miso, soy sauce, butter, and salt brushed on while it’s grilled.

You’ll mainly find yaki tomorokoshi at festivals and special events.

Shioyaki is grilled fish with salt on skewers as street food in Japan
Shioyaki is grilled fish with salt on skewers as street food in Japan


Shioyaki is grilled mackerel served on a stick, known for its bold and intensely salty flavor. Shioyaki is seasoned mackerel with a generous amount of salt before grilling it over an open flame or charcoal. When trying Shioyaki for the first time, be prepared for the intense saltiness and consider pairing it with a refreshing drink to balance out the flavours. Now, this one is easy, as Japan has so many vending machines with drinks for your convenience.

Shioyaki is the perfect festival treat. We’ve also found it during the cherry blossom festival at street stalls in places like Ueno Park.

Yakisoba being prepared on a hot griddle and mixed with veg and meat
Yakisoba being prepared on a hot griddle and mixed with veg and meat


Yakisoba is a popular Japanese street food made of fried soba noodles cooked with vegetables, meat, or seafood. It’s a hearty and enjoyable dish that’s great for eating outside, like when you’re sitting in Ueno Park.

A useful tip for eating yakisoba is to get good at using chopsticks. It can be a messy dish, and being skilled with chopsticks helps keep your clothes clean.

You will find many stalls selling yakisoba during matsuri in Tokyo, such as the Tori-no-ichi festival.

Chocobanana served on a stick as street food
Chocobanana served on a stick as street food


Chocobanana is a banana dipped in melted chocolate, then rolled in sprinkles or nuts, and served on a stick for easy eating. This sweet snack combines the healthiness of the banana with the decadent taste of chocolate, making it a hit.

In Tokyo, you can find chocobanana at street food stalls in areas known for their lively outdoor markets and events, and along the streets near major parks during festival times.

Taiyaki for sale in Tokyo
Taiyaki for sale in Tokyo


Taiyaki is a fish-shaped Japanese cake with fillings like custard, chocolate, sweet beans or cheese. It’s one of my favorite treats in Japan, and I always look forward to it when I’m in Tokyo. The custard-filled ones are especially popular, but all the flavors are tasty in their own way.

You can find taiyaki all over Tokyo. Some great places are Naniwaya in Azabu-Juban which opened in 1909, Hiiragi in Ebisu or Taikoubou in Chofu which specializes in savory taiyaki.

Kukushikatsu deep fried skewers
Kukushikatsu deep fried skewers


Kushikatsu is deep-fried skewers of meat, seafood, or veggies, coated in breadcrumbs for a crispy finish. They come with a tasty dipping sauce.

Kushikatsu can be found at street stalls and izakayas around Tokyo, including Yanaka Ginza. For a more upscale experience, try Hantei Nezu near Ueno Park or Kushikatsu Bon in Ginza.


In Japan, the corn dog, a popular American street food, has become a favorite snack too. It’s a sausage coated in a thick layer of cornmeal batter and then deep-fried until golden and crispy. Japanese corndogs are made with a slightly sweeter batter and encase sausages and cheese too.

I’ve only ever found corndogs at festivals in Tokyo, and never on a set menu or on a permanent street food stall.

Matcha Kakigori served mainly in the summer with a side of tea in Japan
Matcha Kakigori served mainly in the summer with a side of tea in Japan


Kakigori is a popular Japanese dessert of finely shaved ice topped with sweet syrups, and sometimes condensed milk or fruit. It’s great for cooling off or for a sweet treat while you’re out in Tokyo. Flavors like matcha and strawberry are classics. The key is the ice’s super fine texture, which makes it melt in your mouth.

You can find kakigori at street stalls, cafés, and shops around Tokyo, with some places adding their own twist, like natural fruit juices or new toppings. For a truly authentic taste, head to the Yanaka Ginza area.

Panda steamed buns in Yokohama Japan
Panda steamed buns in Yokohama Japan

More Street Food

I’ve covered the most popular street food you’re likely to find in Tokyo on your visit, but there are a few more Japanese foods which, I think, are worthy of mentioning (and eating!).

Mochi is a super popular Japanese dessert made found glutinous rice that’s pounded into a sticky, chewy texture. It’s shaped into balls and filled with sweet fillings like red bean paste. You’ll find them for sale in every shop around Tokyo.

Senbei are Japanese rice crackers made from rice flour, either grilled or baked. You can find soy sauce senbei or even delicious squid senbei. Sometimes, you can even find them as sandwiches, with a delicious seafood filling. You’ll likely find them at food stalls, but Kawagoe and Enoshima are popular places for them.

Matcha Ice Cream has a distinctive green color and a rich, earthy flavor that’s slightly bitter, balanced by the sweetness of the ice cream. One of the most interesting places to try matcha ice cream is at Suzukien Asakusa.

Steamed buns called “bao” or “manju” in Japan, are soft, fluffy buns made from a yeast-leavened dough and cooked by steaming. These buns have a moist, tender texture and can be enjoyed as a snack or a meal on their own. The most popular place for steamed buns is actually Yokohama.

For distinctive Japanese snacks, it’s always a good idea to visit konbini stores (convenience stores like 7-Eleven, Lawson or Family Mart). They serve a range of chocolates, sweet and savory treats.

To try unusual street food in Tokyo, head to Washita Shop in Ginza and shop for traditional Okinawan food like sea grape caviar, fried seaweed and whitebait.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most popular street food in Tokyo?

The most popular street food in Tokyo has to be takoyaki, a delicious snack made from octopus-filled dough balls. Cooked to perfection in a specially designed moulded pan, Takoyaki offers a delightful contrast of textures – crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The dish is usually served with a flavourful sauce, mayonnaise, green onions, and nori, as well as bonito flakes. Other popular street foods in Tokyo include Yakitori (grilled skewers), Okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes), and Dango (sweet rice dumplings).

Is there street food in Tokyo?

Absolutely! Tokyo has a thriving street food scene that attracts so many tourists with its unique dishes, affordable prices, and fresh ingredients. Street food vendors can be found throughout the city, often congregating in popular districts such as Ameyoko in Ueno, Tsukiji fish market, Yanaka Ginza, and Harajuku.
Many of these areas are known for their signature street foods, and exploring these lively neighbourhoods is an excellent way to sample the best of Tokyo’s dishes. From savoury snacks like Yakitori and Takoyaki to sweet treats like Taiyaki and Crazy Crêpes, Tokyo’s street food scene fantastic.

What is the famous street food in Japan?

Japan’s street food culture varies by region, but some iconic and famous dishes have gained popularity nationwide.
Takoyaki, dough balls filled with octopus, is a beloved snack that originated in Osaka and is now enjoyed across the country, especially in Tokyo.
Yakitori, skewered and grilled meats, are a classic Japanese street food choice, often served at izakayas and local bars.
Okonomiyaki, savoury pancakes filled with a variety of ingredients such as cabbage, seafood, or meat, is another popular dish, with regional variations like Hiroshima-style and Osaka-style.
Ramen, a noodle soup dish, and Sushi, vinegared rice with an array of toppings, can also be enjoyed as Japanese street foods, although they are more commonly associated with sit-down restaurants.

Which city in Japan has the best street food?

Many cities in Japan have a thriving street food scene. Tokyo, the capital of Japan, offers an extensive range of street foods in districts like Ameyoko in Ueno, Tsukiji fish market, Yanaka Ginza, and Harajuku.
Osaka, another foodie hotspot, is famous for its Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki, and Kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers). Kyoto, known for its rich cultural history, also has its own lively street food scene, with popular choices like Yatsuhashi (sweet rice cracker) and Mitarashi Dango (rice dumplings in sweet soy sauce). You won’t want to miss Nagoya with its special red miso dishes.

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Cory from You Could Travel entering Senso-ji in Tokyo, Japan

Cory Varga – Cory is a published travel writer and award-winning photographer. She travels full time with her husband and is passionate about creating in-depth travel guides. Cory published her first book on Japanese customs and manners because she’s obsessed with everything Japan. She has visited hundreds of destinations and has lived in 7 different countries. Cory is multilingual and an alumna from The University of Manchester.


7 responses to “Incredible Tokyo Street Food You Need To Try”

  1. Now you make me hungry just by reading this post! :9

    1. I love Japanese food too, I got so hungry writing this.

  2. Thanks for the suggestions. I’m going in April and so far I’ve read that there is not much English spoken/menus don’t have English. Did you run into trouble with this and how did you work around knowing what you were ordering and actually doing it?

    1. Hi Meagan,

      Thank you for your message. Most places have pictures next to most items on the menu so you can sort of figure out what you order. It’s wise to download google translate on your phone and make sure you have access to it offline. That can help sometimes.
      But we didn’t have any issues ordering, even in places where no English was spoken.
      You will have lots of fun, and you can’t go wrong with any food in Japan 😉

      Kind Regards,


  3. Next time you go to Japan I recommended going to Hokkaido, the food there is simply lights out amazing. It really is Japan true culinary place. Mention Hokkaido to native Japanese and almost always first thing out of their mouth will be something about how awesome the food is in Hokkaido.

  4. On your travel page, you asked about what’s in IKAYAKI sauce. It is mostly made of soy sauce and mirin. Mirin is basically a sweetened Sake. To it, various seasonings are added and exact content is considered a trade secret. If I were to make it, I’d start with soy sauce, mirin, and squeeze of lemon. Then a bit of black pepper. Dunk it in, grill, dunk it in, grill….

    1. Thank you so much, Taka! I LOVE it! <3

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