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Gourmet on the Go: Where to Find the Best Street Food in Japan

Japan's culinary landscape is adorned with a diverse array of budget-friendly street foods and sweets, offering a wealth of options that cater to various tastes and cultural curiosities. From the iconic ramen and takoyaki to the delightful taiyaki, okonomiyaki, yakitori, tonkatsu, croquettes, gyoza, and udon, the options seem limitless. Embracing the tradition of pausing at market stalls for a quick and satisfying street snack is a popular pursuit, and while renowned markets like Tokyo's Tsukiji outer market, Kyoto's Nishiki market, and Osaka's Kuromon markets remain essential destinations, there exists a trove of equally delectable off-the-beaten-path street food hot spots. Here are just a few must-visit places to savor Japan's rich street food offerings on the go.


Takayama Sanmachi Street (Gifu)

In the heart of Takayama's Historical District lies Sanmachi-dori, the vibrant epicenter of the castle town boasting Edo-era architecture and enduring shops. This bustling area showcases a myriad of establishments, from traditional Japanese sweet stores and craft shops to vendors offering local delicacies like 'mitarashi dango' and skewered Hida beef. The renowned Hida Beef, a Japanese wagyu delicacy synonymous with the Hida region, is a must-try when visiting Takayama. For a quick and casual indulgence, street food versions are available, such as the delectable Hida Beef Sushi or the convenient Hida Beef Kushi-yaki. Additionally, bite-sized taiyaki introduces a unique twist to the traditional fish-shaped cake, offering on-the-go delights with various fillings like azuki red bean paste, chocolate, sweet potato, custard, cheese, and sausage. Exploring Takayama without savoring these culinary delights is simply incomplete.

Learn more: https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/152/


Omicho Market (Ishikawa)

Celebrating its 300-year legacy, Kanazawa's Omicho Market stands out as Ishikawa Prefecture's street food haven, fueled by daily deliveries of fresh seafood and shellfish from the Sea of Japan. Open from 9 a.m. to around 5 p.m., this bustling market attracts a diverse mix of local chefs, shop owners, city dwellers, and tourists eager to explore its 170 street food stalls and walk-in stores. Nestled in covered corridors and intersecting hallways, Omicho Market emerges as a vibrant street food hub, offering Kanazawa's residents and visitors an enticing array of street delicacies—fresh fish, succulent meats, flavorful oysters, zesty pickles, crisp produce, tempting sweets, aromatic sake, rich coffee, and a plethora of other delectable treats.

Learn more: https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/1398/


Okage Yokocho (Mie)

In the heart of Oharaimachi, just a stone's throw from Ise Jingu's inner shrine entrance, lies Okage Yokocho—a kilometer-long street adorned with nostalgic Edo and Meiji architecture. This bustling street hosts around sixty establishments during peak times, drawing crowds eager to savor traditional delights. Akafuku mochi, a coveted delicacy, takes center stage, originating from the 1877-established original shop across Oharaimachi-dōri. Mitarashi-dango rice dumplings, with diverse flavors, are freshly prepared on-site, while Ise Shouronpo offers sticky puddings with a rich soy sauce infusion. Notably, Matsusaka beef, a local specialty, graces the streets through beef skewers and Matsusaka bone soup making Okage Yokocho a vibrant hub for wagyu and street food enthusiasts.

Learn more:  https://www.iseshima-kanko.jp/en/see-and-do/2021


Hakodate Asaichi (Hokkaido)

Adjacent to JR Hakodate Station, the Hakodate Morning Market serves as the gastronomic hub of the city, offering an array of delights. Notable spots include Donburi Yokocho Market and Hakodate Morning Market Plaza, where seafood donburi, featuring the finest catches like crab, salmon, and squid, can be savored. With almost 300 establishments attracting 1.8 to 2 million visitors annually, this market is a short walk from the station, making it a must-visit destination. Engage in squid fishing and witness the preparation of your catch on-site. For a taste of Hakodate kaisendon, head to Donburi Yokocho Alley, where interpreters are available for guidance. The market also showcases Hokkaido's dairy farming specialty with locally sourced soft-serve ice cream, a delicious testament to the region's prosperous dairy industry.

Learn more: https://en.visit-hokkaido.jp/destinations/the-freshest-seafood-at-dawn-enjoy-the-famous-hakodate-morning-market




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