Experience Japanese Food Culture: How to Enjoy Takoyaki



Japanese food culture attracts travelers from all over the world with its diversity and uniqueness. Among them, takoyaki, a well-known Osaka specialty, is one of the street foods loved by many people. Takoyaki is characterized by a crispy outside and a thick texture inside, and its deliciousness is especially enhanced when eaten hot.

Takoyaki originated in Osaka and are now enjoyed throughout Japan. The reason for its popularity lies in the simplicity of the ingredients and cooking method, but each region and restaurant has its own unique recipe, making it fun to compare and contrast. The basic ingredients are flour, eggs, water, and octopus legs.

There are many ways to enjoy takoyaki. While enjoying takoyaki standing at a food stall is one thing, trying the unusual ingredients and toppings offered at specialty restaurants is also recommended. Sauce, mayonnaise, dried bonito flakes, aonori (green laver), and many other toppings are available to enhance the flavor of takoyaki.

In this article, we will introduce all the fascinating aspects of takoyaki, including its history, types, recommended ways to eat takoyaki, and famous restaurants you should visit. When you visit Japan, we hope you will taste authentic takoyaki and experience its unique food culture. We hope you will enjoy the depth of Japanese food culture and its charms to the fullest through takoyaki.


The history of takoyaki dates back to the 1930s, when it is said to have originated in Osaka. The original takoyaki is said to have been invented by the founder, Tomekichi Endo, at a restaurant called “Aizuya” in Naniwa-ku, Osaka City. Originally, a dish called “rajioyaki” was popular in this area, in which beef and konnyaku were baked in a dough made of flour and soup stock. Tomekichi Endo, inspired by this radzio-yaki, began offering takoyaki, a dish baked with octopus instead of beef.

Takoyaki quickly spread throughout Osaka as an easy-to-prepare street food. Especially during the postwar reconstruction period, takoyaki was loved by many people as an easy and inexpensive food. With the spread of takoyaki cookers, takoyaki became popular at home and established its position as Osaka’s soul food.

In the 1970s, takoyaki spread nationwide. Starting in the Kansai region, it gradually became popular in the Kanto region and other parts of Japan. Takoyaki chain restaurants also appeared during this period, and takoyaki could be enjoyed throughout the country.

Furthermore, since the 1990s, takoyaki has gained international popularity and has become a favorite among foreign tourists visiting Japan. Takoyaki has evolved in its own unique way in each region, characterized by its simple cooking method and variety of toppings.

By learning about the history of takoyaki, you will understand its profound culture and evolutionary process, and enjoy takoyaki even more. When you visit Osaka, be sure to taste authentic takoyaki and experience its history and charm.


Many variations of takoyaki have emerged from its simple basic form. Each region and each store has its own unique twist on takoyaki. Here are some typical types of takoyaki.

Original Takoyaki

Basic Takoyaki.
The basic form of takoyaki is made by adding chopped octopus legs, tenkasu, green onion, and red ginger to a batter of flour, water, and egg. The takoyaki is then cooked into a round shape in a special takoyaki cooker and topped with sauce, mayonnaise, dried bonito flakes, and aonori (green laver). The characteristic texture is crispy on the outside and thick on the inside.

Variety of Ingredients

Modern Takoyaki.
Modern Takoyaki is a basic takoyaki with a variety of ingredients added. By adding cheese, bacon, shrimp, squid, and other favorite ingredients, you can enjoy your own original takoyaki.

Akashiyaki is a type of takoyaki that originated in Akashi City, Hyogo Prefecture. Unlike basic takoyaki, Akashiyaki is characterized by its soft dough with a lot of eggs, and is eaten dipped in soup stock. The texture melts in your mouth and the flavor of the dashi broth is a perfect match.

Variation of toppings

Takoyaki with Sauce.
The most common topping is thick sauce. Drizzle the sauce generously over the takoyaki and sprinkle mayonnaise, dried bonito flakes, and aonori seaweed on top for a rich flavor and texture.

Takoyaki with Ponzu Sauce
Takoyaki topped with ponzu (Japanese citrus juice) has a refreshing flavor. Especially during the hot season, the acidity of the ponzu vinegar enhances the flavor of the takoyaki, making it refreshing and easy to eat.

Salted Takoyaki.
Takoyaki with just salt is also popular. Salted takoyaki allows you to enjoy the original flavor of the ingredients and enhances the flavor of the octopus. In particular, using coarse salt, green tea salt, or other special salt will enhance the flavor.

Regional Specialties

Osaka Style.
Osaka’s takoyaki is characterized by a crispy outside and a tender inside, and is usually topped with sauce, mayonnaise, dried bonito flakes, and aonori (green laver). While there are many takoyaki stores in the area, you can enjoy the originality of each store.

Tokyo Style.
Tokyo’s takoyaki are characterized by a slightly hard texture, crunchy on the outside and firm on the inside. A light, refreshing flavor is preferred, such as ponzu (Japanese sauce made from ponzu citrus juice) instead of sauce.

By trying these different types of takoyaki, you will experience the diversity of takoyaki and its depth. When you visit Japan, be sure to enjoy the many different styles of takoyaki and savor their charms to the fullest.

Manners and Eating

When enjoying takoyaki, it is important to know a few basic manners and the proper way to eat it in order to enjoy its taste even more. Here we will introduce the manners and etiquette for eating takoyaki.

Proper way to eat takoyaki

1.Be aware of the temperature.
Takoyaki is often served hot. Even if the outside is crispy, the inside is very hot, so care should be taken when eating it. It is common to let it cool down a little before eating it in one bite. Enjoying the heat is one of the best parts of takoyaki, but be careful not to burn yourself.

2.How to use toppings.
A variety of toppings are available for takoyaki, such as sauce, mayonnaise, dried bonito flakes, and aonori (green laver). These can be freely combined and enjoyed, but we recommend experimenting with small amounts to find your favorite flavor. A generous amount of sauce gives the dish a rich flavor, while a splash of ponzu (Japanese citrus juice) gives it a refreshing taste.

3.How to use chopsticks and toothpicks.
Takoyaki is usually eaten with chopsticks and toothpicks. If using a toothpick, stick it into the center of the takoyaki, lift it up, and allow it to cool before eating. When using chopsticks, the same rule applies: grab the takoyaki firmly and eat it in one bite.

Etiquette and Manners at Mealtime

  1. Eat quietly.
    When enjoying takoyaki at a food stall or store, it is important to eat quietly and with consideration for the customers around you. Especially at a yatai, you will be eating standing up, so the distance between you and those around you will be close. By eating quietly and without making noise, you can maintain harmony with 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 food). This is an important manner of expressing gratitude to the owner or staff who prepared the food. This is especially important at food stalls, where you are in close proximity to the owner, and this phrase is key to building a good relationship with the owner.
  3. Disposal of Garbage.
    After finishing your meal, be sure to properly dispose of your garbage in designated areas. Many food stalls and event venues have trash cans, so be sure to dispose of your finished containers and toothpicks in the trash cans.

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

Recommended restaurants

Takoyaki is a street food representative of Osaka, and many famous restaurants exist. Here are some recommended takoyaki restaurants that visitors to Japan should definitely visit.

Takoyaki Doraku Wanaka

Takoyaki Doraku Wanaka is a popular takoyaki restaurant located in Namba, Osaka. The takoyaki is characterized by its exquisite texture, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, and is loved by both tourists and locals alike.

Recommended Points

  • Various Menu: In addition to the standard takoyaki, Wanaka offers a variety of takoyaki with cheese or full of green onions.
  • Access: Within walking distance of Namba Station, making it easy to stop by between sightseeing.

Takoyaki Aizuya

Aizuya, considered the originator of takoyaki, is a long-established restaurant established in 1933. The main store is located in Naniwa-ku, Osaka City, and continues to preserve the traditional taste.

Recommended Points

  • Historical value: As the birthplace of takoyaki, it is worth a visit.
  • Special sauce: The takoyaki is characterized by its simple takoyaki without sauce and with the flavor of the dashi broth.


Located in Tennoji, Yama-chan is a famous restaurant loved by the locals. The freshly baked takoyaki are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Recommended Points

  • Various toppings: In addition to the standard toppings of sauce, mayonnaise, dried bonito flakes, and green laver, you can enjoy original flavors.
  • Homey atmosphere: The restaurant has a homey atmosphere where you can relax and enjoy your meal.

Takoyaki Juuhachiban

Located in Dotonbori, Osaka, Takoyaki Juuhachiban is a popular restaurant visited by many tourists. It is characterized by its crispy outside and tender inside.

Recommended points

  • Center of tourist attractions: Located in Dotonbori, it is easy to stop by during a break from sightseeing in Osaka.
  • Original taste: With our original recipe and secret sauce, you can enjoy takoyaki different from other restaurants.


Gindaco is a nationwide chain of takoyaki restaurants offering a consistent quality of takoyaki. Gindaco can be easily enjoyed in Osaka and other places in Japan.

Recommended Points

  • Crunchy texture: Our unique deep-frying method gives the takoyaki a crunchy outside and a tender inside.
  • Easy to enjoy: Since there are stores all over Japan, you can easily stop by while sightseeing.

Each of these takoyaki restaurants has its own unique charm and is well worth a visit. When you visit Osaka, be sure to taste authentic takoyaki at one of these restaurants and experience its delicious taste and unique food culture.


What you can gain through your experience at a restaurant

Despite its simple appearance, takoyaki is a typical Japanese street food that offers a wide variety of flavors depending on the ingredients, cooking method, and toppings. The experience of eating at a takoyaki restaurant is not only a chance to enjoy the crispy outside and the tender inside, but also to watch a chef cook the takoyaki right in front of your eyes. In particular, a visit to one of Osaka’s famous takoyaki restaurants will give you a special opportunity to taste authentic takoyaki.

A step toward a deeper understanding of Japanese food culture

Takoyaki has become a beloved dish not only in Osaka but also in other parts of Japan. Through takoyaki, you can experience the diversity of Japanese food culture and the unique characteristics of each region. By learning the history, types, and manner of eating takoyaki, you can understand its depth and enjoy it even more. In addition, choosing beverages that go well with takoyaki will make the entire meal more satisfying and is a step toward a deeper understanding of Japanese food culture.

By enjoying takoyaki, you will be able to fully appreciate the richness of Japanese food culture and its charms. We encourage you to taste authentic takoyaki and experience its unique food culture during your visit to Japan. You will be able to experience a part of Japan’s food culture as well as the delicious taste of takoyaki.