So if you’re looking for some Japanese food to try when you’re in Japan, you may give a taste to taiyaki.
This is a type of snack that you can find all over Japan, which you can also find at food stalls that are made fresh in front of you.
It’s basically a sort of waffle or “cake” (or waffle cake!) that comes with a filling.
The “classic” taiyaki is with an “anko” filling, with anko being a red bean paste.
But at food stalls you come across on the street in Japan, including in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Takayama, and Matsumoto.
And there are typically many different filling flavors to choose from.
You can kind of think of it similar to cream-filled donuts.
Japanese language tip: (type of) FISH and GRILLED
Tai is the name of a specific type of fish.
Yaki basically means grilled.
You might see yaki as a part of some foods.
You wouldn’t use yaki on its own, but in the case that it’s attached to these words, it refers to the food being grilled in some form.
So quite literally, taiyaki is grilled fish.
But in this case, there is no real fish that’s in this Japanese street snack.
Instead, it’s in the shape of a fish. And more specifically, it’s in the shape of the fish called tai.
Taiyaki made right in front of you
If you find a taiyaki shop, you might be able to watch the taiyaki be prepared! This means you can get fresh taiyaki, fresh off the grill!
This was at the Saturday morning market in Takayama along the Miyagawa River.
And then for another taiyaki shop…
At this shop on a little street called Nawate Street in Matsumoto, you don’t get as close up of the taiyaki being made in front you, but you can see that you are getting freshly made taiyaki too!
And if you’re into Japanese snacks, you can even find cooking classes in Japan that will teach you how to make Japanese snacks!
Taiyaki shop menu
And how much does it cost?
Some taiyaki might be a “regular” size, whereas others might be a “mini” size, but it will generally be around 100-200 yen (US$1-2) for a single person snack size.
So at this taiyaki shop in Matsumoto with normal size taiyaki, you can choose from a number of different flavors including red bean paste, custard cream, curry, cream cheese, strawberry milk cream, spicy beef, and tapioca.
Not all flavors may be ready when you arrive, so it also may require waiting for certain flavors to be made!
And in Takayama…
This taiyaki pop-up shop at the morning market had mini taiyaki. For easy calculation, you can think of 100 yen as being US$1.
HAPPY EATING TAIYAKI IN JAPAN!
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Among the top things people get specific for a trip to Japan
- JR pass for quick and easy long distance train travel (see price here and see here how to calculate train routes to figure out it's worth it for you)
- Travel insurance for natural disasters just in case especially for travel disruptions (see price here and see here for past natural disaster that affected foreigners)
Food in JapanIf you are in Japan for FOOD, then be sure to see where to try different types of Japanese food! (Sometimes for cheaper!)
And also have a look at some of these cooking classes in Japan too.
When the JR pass is worth itIn general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it. But here's how to calculate it to be sure. See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor.
Natural disasters in JapanUnfortunately, Japan can be prone to natural disasters which means risk for travel delays. So be sure to look at travel insurance for natural disasters.
My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon. There have been a few typhoons that have hit Japan in the past couple of years and they can cause real travel disruptions!
See how much insurance costs for your trip.
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