Japan loves its four seasons, and this is reflected in their food. When the scenery changes the food stalls change as well. Here’s some of the most popular winter-themed Japanese street food that you can try as you check out the illuminations or other winter festivals.
Japan Winter Street Food: Yakiimo (Baked Potato)
If you’re in Japan during the winter season you might have seen street vendors roast potatoes on coals. There are even yakiimo carts with a real fire. You’re lucky if you spot one! Most of the time they are standard sweet potatoes, but Japan has a large variety of potatoes that differ in taste. It’s wrapped in tinfoil and baked with its skin. This warm and sweet snack is delicious on a cold winter day, and the roasted skin makes the outside nice and crispy. Just follow your nose to find this popular Japan winter street food!
Japan Winter Street Food: Nikuman
These meatbuns can be eaten all year round but are consumed more frequently during the winter season. The main reason is that they’re warm, delicious and fit comfortably in your hands. These Japan winter street snacks double as personal meat-filled pocket heaters! You can buy these at special stands or at any convenience store. Besides the traditional niku-man (meat bun), there are also an-man (sweet bean paste bun), pizza-man (tomato meat sauce and cheese bun), curry-man, and even chocolate-man.
Japan Winter Street Food: Oden
There is no clear way to describe oden, as it consists of various ingredients in a clear broth. Moreover, these ingredients differ per region or have different fillings. The best way to describe oden is to eat it yourself. When it gets colder, oden stalls will pup up everywhere but you can also buy it at the convenience store. Usually there is a container size you can choose from and a variety of ingredients. Take the ones you like, add some broth and bring it to the register.
Japan Winter Street Food: Grilled Fish
Also available all year round, but some fish reach their peak of taste during Autumn and Winter. Enjoy a variety of skwered fish roasted over an open fire. You can usually find these stalls at a festival or near a shrine. Some of the best fish in Japan during autumn and winter are sanma, saba, aji, kohada, and katsuo.