Beautiful cherry blossoms and the Japanese have “cherry blossom viewing picnics” in parks around Japan. This is also a time when the street vendors set up stands near Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.
Fish (Ayu) on a stick.
Good old fried chicken, but Japanese style (a little soy marinade)
After our trip back from Atami we had lunch at McDonald’s and I am not ashamed to say we enjoyed it. I knew Steve was being a good sport eating rice and fish a couple times a day so a burger and fries was a welcome break for him. McDonald’s in Tokyo is so busy there is a special worker who keeps traffic flowing in the dining area. She shouts out when a seat is available to keep the people in line from rushing in. We observed the Japanese eating much smaller portions of food that what you’d see in America. A small burger and coffee–no supersized giant drinks or fries.
On to Yasukuni Shrine and the street foods. We walked around for hours and came upon the street of food vendors. I was amazed to see the different types of street foods I had not seen when I lived in Japan years ago. There was grilled corn, yakitori, oden, squid on a stick, mochi on a stick, yakisoba, okonomiyaki, hiroshimayaki (okonomiyaki with yakisoba mixed in), takoyaki, Korean chijimi, fish on a stick, sweet potatoes, fried chicken, organ meat stew, edamame, cucumbers on a stick, and hot dogs on a stick.
I love Japanese street & festival food. I wish I could have tried everything but at least I have a picture in my mind of the various foods and I had Steve take some video footage for me.
I plan to re-create as much of it as I can in the coming months. I have already made yakisoba, yakitori, okonomiyaki, and takoyaki since I’ve been back.  
3 replies
  1. Nigel
    Nigel says:

    I am, in fact attempting to make okonomiyaki for dinner tonight, so it's serendipitous that I come across your post!

    I grew up in Canada but I'm having a hard time remembering the kind of food we had at local fairs. What would you characterize as Western "festival" food? Would you say that the Japanese version is healthier than its counterparts in the West?

  2. Julia Dunaway
    Julia Dunaway says:

    How did your okonomiyaki turn out? I have been experimenting with it and have developed a really good recipe which I am planning to blog about very soon.
    Western festival food generally is less healthy than the Japanese choices. Here is Texas we have corny dogs, everything fried in batter, funnel cakes (fried), giant cinnamon rolls, big ice cream bars, burgers, cones of fries, etc.
    The portions are also smaller in Japan and many things have vegetables in them such as yakisoba, okonomiyaki.
    I'll try to post a video of the festival food sometime. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Nigel
    Nigel says:

    I would love to take a look at your okonomiyaki recipe! Do you have any favorite ingredients?

    Mine turned out fairly well; it tasted great, but ended up looking like more or less just a pile of random (delicious) food.

    With that said, I was trying to do Hiroshima okonomiyaki which are more like a layer cake. The standard Osaka style just has everything mixed together, so that's a lot easier. I'll blog about the experiment soon.

    Incidentally, I don't know if you've run across them yet but corn dogs are known in Japan as "American dogs"….

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