Takoyaki, octopus balls - street food in Japan. Backpacking Japan travel blog

 

So if you’re looking for some Japanese food to try when you’re in Japan, you may give a taste to takoyaki.

The “base” of this is octopus, and these are also called octopus balls in English.

 

Takoyaki, octopus balls - street food in Japan. Backpacking Japan foodie travel

 

While you can find takoyaki across Japan, including in Tokyo and Kyoto, it is especially famous in Osaka.

 

Takoyaki, octopus balls - street food in Japan. Backpacking Japan foodie travel

 

 

Japanese language tip: OCTOPUS and GRILLED

Tako means octopus.

Yaki basically means grilled.

You might see yaki as a part of some foods.

For example, okonomiyaki (another street food to try!), yakisoba… and takoyaki.

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, takoyaki is grilled octopus.

Although with takoyaki, the octopus itself is not being grilled. The octopus is basically the filling.

 

 

Takoyaki, octopus balls - street food in Japan. Backpacking Japan foodie travel

 

You may also be able to find takoyaki at grocery stores in the fresh food section for 200-300 yen (US$2-3). It’s packaged but it would have been made pretty recently. (aka cheap meal idea!)

See more on the cost of food in Japan.

 

Takoyaki, octopus balls - grocery stores in Japan. Backpacking Japan foodie travel

 

 

Takoyaki made right in front of you

If you go to a shop or a restaurant, there are places that you can watch the takoyaki being prepared!

 

Takoyaki, octopus balls - how to make fresh - street food in Japan. Backpacking Japan foodie travel

Takoyaki, octopus balls - how to make fresh - street food in Japan. Backpacking Japan foodie travel

Takoyaki, octopus balls - how to make fresh - street food in Japan. Backpacking Japan foodie travel

Takoyaki, octopus balls - how to make fresh - street food in Japan. Backpacking Japan foodie travel

Takoyaki, octopus balls - how to make fresh - street food in Japan. Backpacking Japan foodie travel

Takoyaki, octopus balls - how to make fresh - street food in Japan. Backpacking Japan foodie travel

 

 

Takoyaki shop menu

And how much does it cost?

 

Takoyaki shop with prices - how much does takoyaki cost - street food in Japan. Backpacking Japan foodie travel

Takoyaki shop menu with prices - how much does takoyaki cost - street food in Japan. Backpacking Japan foodie travel

Takoyaki shop menu with prices - how much does takoyaki cost - street food in Japan. Backpacking Japan foodie travel

 

The prices at this takoyaki shop near a train station in Osaka start at 300 yen (US$3) for 6 pieces.

You can take your pick as to how many octopus balls you want!

And this particular shop has a few other things you can buy here too, like okonomiyaki and yakisoba.

 

 

And in Kyoto…

 

Takoyaki shop with prices - how much does takoyaki cost - street food in Japan. Backpacking Japan foodie travel

Takoyaki shop with prices - how much does takoyaki cost - street food in Japan. Backpacking Japan foodie travel

 

The prices at this takoyaki shop near a major tourist attraction in Kyoto start at 500 yen (US$5) for 6 pieces.

This shop is located right near the Fushimi Inari shrine. (That’s where you can walk through 1,000 torii gates.)

 

 

Eat takoyaki as your last snack in Japan!

If you’ll be flying out of Kansai airport in Osaka, some of the pictures above are from a food stand right in front of the Izumisano train station.

This is a train station right before the bridge to Kansai airport.

So if you have a flight that will be departing later in the day, you can make a slight detour for a stop at this train station!

 

Then once you arrive at Izumisano, you can step outside the train station…

 

Takoyaki shop near Kansai airport at Izumisano train station - street food in Japan. Backpacking Japan foodie travel

 

Head over to the takoyaki shop…

 

Takoyaki shop near Kansai airport at Izumisano train station - street food in Japan. Backpacking Japan foodie travel

 

And buy the takoyaki! (You can buy okonomiyaki too.)

Then back to the train station you go to head the rest of the way to the airport!

You’ll be getting it to-go, so you can even wait to eat it until you’re at the airport.

If this plan sounds good to you, see the map for the visual.

As you’re walking out of the train station, the shop will be on the right side.

 

HAPPY EATING TAKOYAKI IN JAPAN!

 



More quick tips for planning your trip to Japan

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The super fast train in Japan
In 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.

NEW way of buying individual shinkansen train tickets online!
I will start by saying I have NOT bought train tickets online this way (yet!) to verify this! (But it's on my list for my next trip to Japan!)

There's an online train ticket booking method that's popular for other parts of Asia, and they are just now branching out to Japan.

You can now buy train tickets online here for popular shinkansen train routes. (And some bus routes too.)

I've used this booking site for taking the train from Thailand to Malaysia, and it worked out well, so I would expect it to work out well in Japan too!

The thing is, though, that you need to pick up the physical train tickets in person.

So it won't be enough to just buy the tickets online. I had to do this in Bangkok for my train ticket - and it was easy! So again, I would think it'd be easy for Japan train tickets too.

Search for popular routes in Japan here. For example, Tokyo to Kyoto.

If you end up buying train tickets online this way, I would love to hear how it goes! Whether that's good, or if it came with some challenges!

Natural disasters in Japan
Unfortunately, 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.

See how much insurance costs for your trip.

Best travel guides for Japan
If you're at step 1 in your planning process, have a look at this Discover Japan book.

For "books" that won't take up space in your suitcase, see the best PDF guides.

See more of the best books for Japan trip planning.

Create your Japan itinerary


That's it for now!