Experience Japanese Food Culture: How to Enjoy Okonomiyaki



Japan’s food culture attracts travelers from all over the world with its diversity and uniqueness. Among these, okonomiyaki is particularly popular and a must-try experience when visiting Japan. Okonomiyaki is a dish in which cabbage, meat, seafood, and other ingredients are mixed into a flour-based batter, baked, and enjoyed with toppings such as sauce, mayonnaise, and dried bonito flakes.

Okonomiyaki is especially loved in the Kansai region including Osaka, and different styles and flavors exist in each region. Each region has its own unique charm, such as Osaka-style fluffy okonomiyaki and Hiroshima-style layered, hearty okonomiyaki.

This article will provide you with detailed information on how to enjoy okonomiyaki to its fullest, including its history, types, proper way to eat it, and recommended restaurants. We hope you will use it as a guide to gain a deeper understanding of Japanese food culture and experience its rich flavors. Through okonomiyaki, we hope you will fully enjoy the depth of Japanese food culture and its charms.


The history of okonomiyaki is said to date back to the Warring States Period (15th to 16th century). At that time, a flour-based dish called “Nogeiyaki” existed in Japan. This is believed to be the prototype of okonomiyaki. However, it was not until the Showa period (the first half of the 20th century) that it took on a form similar to today’s okonomiyaki.

During the postwar period when food was scarce, “ichisen yoshoku,” a thinly baked dish made of wheat flour dissolved in water, became widespread. This was an inexpensive and easy-to-prepare food that was popular among many people. The okonomiyaki of today began when cabbage, meat, seafood, and other ingredients were added to this “ichisen yoshoku” and baked. Especially in cities such as Osaka and Hiroshima, unique regional styles of okonomiyaki developed.

Osaka Style.
In Osaka, the most common style is to mix cabbage, meat, and seafood into the batter and bake them together. The mixing of the ingredients results in a fluffy texture and uniform baking. In Osaka, there are many okonomiyaki specialty restaurants, and each restaurant offers its own unique recipe and toppings.

Hiroshima Style.
Unlike Osaka, Hiroshima okonomiyaki is made with layers of dough, cabbage, meat, and seafood. In addition, yakisoba or udon noodles are often added, making it a hearty dish. This style of okonomiyaki is served at many restaurants in Hiroshima City and is popular among tourists.

Modern Okonomiyaki.
Today, okonomiyaki is enjoyed throughout Japan. Each region has its own unique variations, and travelers can enjoy discovering new tastes. Okonomiyaki has also become a part of Japanese home cooking as it is easy to make at home.

By learning about the history of okonomiyaki, you will be able to understand and further enjoy its deep culture and regional characteristics. When you visit Japan, please taste the local okonomiyaki and experience its history and charm.


There are many variations of okonomiyaki depending on the region and the restaurant, and you can enjoy different tastes and styles depending on where you visit. Here are some typical types of okonomiyaki.

Osaka Style

Osaka-style okonomiyaki is characterized by mixing ingredients such as cabbage, meat, and seafood into the dough and baking it. By integrating the ingredients, the okonomiyaki has a fluffy texture and cooks evenly. It is usually topped with okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, dried bonito flakes, and aonori (green laver).

Popular Ingredients.
A variety of ingredients are used, including pork, shrimp, squid, mochi, and cheese. In addition, green onions and kimchi can be added to make this dish even more flavorful.

Hiroshima Style

Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is characterized by a thinly spread dough, topped with layers of ingredients such as cabbage, bean sprouts, and pork. In addition, yakisoba or udon noodles are often added, resulting in a hearty dish. The layering of ingredients enhances the flavor of each ingredient.

Popular Ingredients
Cabbage, bean sprouts, pork, tenkasu, yakisoba (or udon), eggs, etc. The most popular dish is topping it with a generous amount of Hiroshima’s unique thick sauce.


Monjayaki is a type of okonomiyaki that originated in downtown Tokyo. Monjayaki is cooked by frying the ingredients on a griddle, then pouring the batter into the pan and simmering it. The cooked batter is usually thick and is usually eaten with a spoon.

Popular ingredients.
Cabbage, cherry shrimp, squid, cod roe, cheese, etc. Monjayaki can be enjoyed with your favorite sauce or mayonnaise.

Other variations

Negiyaki is a kind of Osaka origin, a style of grilling in which plenty of green onions are mixed into the dough. Negiyaki is seasoned simply and is usually eaten with ponzu (Japanese sauce made of citrus juice) or soy sauce. The aroma and flavor of the green onions are a distinctive feature of this dish.

By trying these different types of okonomiyaki, you can enjoy the diverse flavors and cooking styles of different regions of Japan. When you visit Japan, be sure to taste the different styles of okonomiyaki and enjoy them to the fullest.

Manners and how to eat

When enjoying okonomiyaki, knowing a few basic manners and the proper way to eat it will help you enjoy its taste even more. Here we will introduce some okonomiyaki eating manners and etiquette.

Proper way to eat

  1. How to eat on the teppan.
    At most okonomiyaki restaurants, okonomiyaki is served cooked on a teppan (iron plate). The teppan keeps the heat until the very end, allowing you to enjoy your okonomiyaki while it is still warm. When eating, the okonomiyaki is cut into pieces on the teppan and eaten using a small spatula (teko). Use this spatula to cut the okonomiyaki into bite-size pieces and bring them straight to your mouth. 2.

2.How to use toppings.
Toppings such as sauce, mayonnaise, dried bonito flakes, and aonori (green laver) are essential to okonomiyaki. These can be adjusted freely to suit your own tastes. A generous amount of sauce gives the dish a rich flavor, while mayonnaise adds a creamy touch.

Etiquette and manners during the meal

  1. Eat quietly.
    Japanese dining culture expects people to speak quietly while eating. This is especially true at okonomiyaki restaurants, where people often eat around a griddle and are close to the customers around them. By enjoying your meal while talking quietly, you should remember to be considerate of other customers.
  2. Words of thanks.
    When the meal is over, it is common to express gratitude by saying “Gochisoso sama desu” (Thank you for the meal). This is an important manner to show your appreciation to the owner or staff who prepared the food.
  3. Disposal of Garbage.
    Make sure to properly dispose of the paper napkins, topping containers, and other trash used in eating okonomiyaki in designated areas. Especially at food stalls and event sites, where trash cans are often provided, be sure to dispose of your finished food in the trash cans.

By observing these manners and eating practices, you will be able to enjoy okonomiyaki even more. It will be a valuable experience for you to feel the true flavor of okonomiyaki and to gain a deeper understanding of Japanese food culture.

Recommended restaurants

There are many okonomiyaki specialty restaurants throughout Japan, each offering its own unique charm and flavor. Here we introduce some okonomiyaki restaurants and monjayaki restaurants that we highly recommend to visitors to Japan.

Recommended Okonomiyaki Restaurants

Okonomiyaki Kiji

Okonomiyaki Kiji is a popular restaurant located in Umeda, Osaka, and its delicious taste is highly appreciated by both locals and tourists. It is especially noted for its fluffy texture and flavorful sauce.

Recommended Points

  • A wide variety of menu: From the standard pork balls and mixed okonomiyaki to unique toppings, you can enjoy a diverse menu.
  • Access: Within walking distance from Osaka Station, making it easy to stop by between sightseeing.

Tsuruhashi Fugetsu

Tsuruhashi Fugetsu is a famous chain restaurant that operates mainly in Osaka and has many fans for its high quality and stability. Its okonomiyaki is characterized by its generous portions and is especially popular among the younger generation.

Recommended points

  • Fun of grilling by yourself: The style of cooking by yourself is appealing, and the staff will carefully teach you how to cook it.
  • Access: There are many locations around Osaka, making it easy to visit while sightseeing.

Okonomiyaki Micchan Sohonten

Micchan Sohonten, a famous okonomiyaki restaurant in Hiroshima, is a long-established restaurant founded right after World War II. If you want to enjoy Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, you cannot miss this place. The thinly baked batter, plenty of cabbage and soba noodles, and special sauce are superb.


  • Traditional Flavor: The original Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is said to be the most popular and has been for many years.
  • Access: Multiple locations in Hiroshima City, easily accessible from sightseeing spots.


Botejyu is a long-established restaurant founded in 1946 and has its main branch in Sennichimae, Osaka. The name comes from the sound of flipping the okonomiyaki, “Bote”, and the sizzling sound, “Jyu”.

Recommended Points

  • Various menu: In addition to traditional okonomiyaki, monjayaki and teppan-yaki can also be enjoyed.
  • Access: Multiple locations in major sightseeing spots in Osaka, making it easy to visit.

Recommended monja-yaki restaurants

Tsukishima Monja Moheji

Tsukishima Monja Moheji is a popular monjayaki restaurant located in Tsukishima, Tokyo. You can enjoy traditional monjayaki in Tsukishima, the home of monjayaki.

Recommended Points

  • A wide variety of menu: From classic monjayaki to creative monjayaki with unique ingredients.
  • Access: Within walking distance of Tsukishima Station, making it easy to stop by during a break from sightseeing.

Monja Kondo

Monja Kondo is a long-established monja-yaki restaurant in Tsukishima, Tokyo, with an appealing traditional flavor. It has been loved by locals since its establishment.

Recommended Points

  • Traditional Flavor: Offering classic monjayaki, the flavor has been well received by many people over the years.
  • Access: Within walking distance from Tsukishima Station.

Each of these okonomiyaki and monjayaki restaurants has its own unique charm, and they are all well known and loved throughout Japan. We hope you will visit these restaurants during your trip and enjoy the variety of okonomiyaki and monjayaki flavors. You will experience the richness of Japan’s food culture.

Drinks to go with your food

When enjoying okonomiyaki, choosing the right beverage can enhance the entire dining experience. Here are some typical beverages that go well with okonomiyaki.


Beer is a beverage that goes extremely well with okonomiyaki. Its refreshing and bitter taste enhances the flavor of the rich sauce and mayonnaise. In particular, cold beer provides a pleasant contrast to the hot okonomiyaki. Japanese craft and local beers are also worth trying.


A highball is a simple cocktail of whiskey and carbonated water that goes great with okonomiyaki. The refreshing carbonation and whiskey flavor will refresh your greasy okonomiyaki. The highball goes especially well on hot summer days.

Green tea

Green tea is a drink that goes well with all Japanese cuisine and is a good combination with okonomiyaki. The refreshing flavor of green tea nicely refreshes the aftertaste of thick okonomiyaki. Warm green tea goes especially well with fatty dishes and refreshes the palate.


Cola is the perfect soft drink to enjoy with okonomiyaki. The sweetness of cola and the stimulating carbonation go well with the thick sauce and mayonnaise. This combination is especially recommended for children and those who wish to avoid alcohol.


Shochu is a traditional Japanese distilled spirit that can be enjoyed with okonomiyaki. In particular, barley shochu and potato shochu have different flavors and should be chosen according to the ingredients and seasoning of the okonomiyaki. You can enjoy them on the rocks, with water, or with hot water, depending on your preference.

Choosing these drinks will enhance the flavor of your okonomiyaki even more. We encourage you to try these drinks while traveling or dining and enjoy the flavors of okonomiyaki even more. It will be a wonderful experience to gain a deeper understanding of Japanese food culture.


What you will gain through your experience at the restaurant

Okonomiyaki is one of Japan’s soul foods and loved by many people. At okonomiyaki restaurants throughout Japan, you can enjoy traditional flavors and unique arrangements of the dish. The okonomiyaki served at monjayaki restaurants in Osaka, Hiroshima, and Tokyo reflect the unique characteristics of each region and are well worth a visit. Enjoying the process of cooking okonomiyaki on the griddle in front of you and tasting it freshly prepared and hot is a wonderful experience to gain a deeper understanding of Japanese food culture.

A step toward a deeper understanding of Japanese food culture

Okonomiyaki is a popular home-style dish and an indispensable part of the Japanese dining table. Through regional variations and different recipes for each family, you can experience the diversity and depth of Japanese food culture. Also, by learning the etiquette and eating style at an okonomiyaki restaurant, you will further deepen your understanding of Japanese food culture.

Through okonomiyaki, you will be able to sense the richness of Japanese food culture and the history behind it. When you visit Japan, please visit an okonomiyaki restaurant and experience its delicious taste and unique culture. We hope that you will truly enjoy Japanese food culture as well as the joy of okonomiyaki and create wonderful memories.