15 Weird af Things (And Places) To Eat In Japan
We jetted to Japan to give you a roundup of some of the country’s most weird and wonderful things (and places) to eat...
It’s no big secret that Japan is famous for its food... but as well as the delicious sushi, sashimi, yakitori, ramen, katsu and udon, there’s loads of totally bonkers food too. So, we jetted to Japan to give you a roundup of some of the country’s most weird and wonderful things (and places) to eat...
Head to any food market in Japan and you’re pretty likely to be offered octopus lollipops - little red baby octopus with a quail’s egg inside its ‘head’. Each to their own!
Uni (raw sea urchin)
At the food markets, you’ll probably also see ‘uni’ - that’s sea urchin to you and me. If you want to try one, they’ll cut the live sea urchin open in front of you, snip off some of the spines and you can spoon out the orange parts (they’re the reproductive organs FYI) to eat raw. Nice.
That’s right, raw chicken. Our local guide told us it’s safe to eat chicken sashimi as long as it’s really fresh and, somewhat surprisingly, it didn’t make us sick (yes, we actually tried it!) but even so: Do. Not. Try. This. At. Home.
Still, it wasn’t the best thing we’ve ever eaten. Next time, we’ll probably stick to salmon sashimi!
Conveyor belt sushi
Not only did I tick another thing off the #bucketlist (eating #sushi in #japan).... I did it in a conveyor belt restaurant where you order by ipad!! 🍣🍣🙆🙆🙆🍣🍣 #30before30 #30by30 #sushirolls #tokyo #igtokyo #igjapan #travel #instatravel #travelgram #travelporn #holiday #vacation #travelling #traveljourno #traveljournalist #japanesefood #food #instafood #foodporn #foodgasm #dinner
Waitresses are overrated. Why tell a person what you’d like to eat when you can order through an iPad and have your meal delivered straight to you on a conveyor belt?
Are you brave enough to try Fugu (poisonous blowfish)? The poison - contained in the liver, ovaries and eyes of the fish - is more poisonous than cyanide and can get into the flesh if prepared incorrectly. It’s so dangerous that, in Japan, restaurants have to have a special license just to keep the blowfish on the premises.
If you start to feel numb all over after eating one of these, you’ve got just two hours left so get to a hospital STAT. Thankfully, when we tried Fugu sashimi in the Kuromon Ichiba food market in Osaka, we lived to tell the tale. Phew!
#osaka is known for its delicious #Takoyaki aka Octopus balls: balls of batter with diced #Octopus inside & dried Bonito flakes on top - sounds weird but it's super yummy! 🐙🐙🐙🐙🐙🐙 #japan #igjapan #osakaeats #travel #instatravel #travelgram #travelporn #holiday #city #food #instafood #foodporn #foodgasm #seafood #streetfood #octopusballs
The idea of octopus dumplings might seem strange but takoyaki are actually pretty delicious. A speciality street food in Osaka, you’ll see them being made all over the city. The golf ball-sized snacks are made by cooking batter with octopus tentacles inside on a special grill and, once cooked, topping with special sauce and dried Bonito flakes. Nom.
Nara Zuke (pickled cucumber)
Not gonna lie, when we visited the Nishiki food market in Kyoto with the guys from The Dragon Trip, this nara zuke (cucumber pickled in sake leaves) looked anything but appetising. We’re not going to mention what it reminds us of.
A controversial one: you’ll probably come across whale meat while in Japan, despite the international ban on whaling. We’re definitely not endorsing this one.
Probably one of the weirder cafes we’ve heard of but, for some reason, it’s massively popular all over Japan. Instead of picking from a menu, browse the tins of food on the supermarket-style shelves. Pick your dish and eat it cold from the can. Yeah, we’re not sure why either…
Japan is full of weird flavoured sweets - from wasabi Kit Kats to giant rainbow ‘dream’ Pocky (which includes melon and grape Pocky among others) and matcha green tea flavoured… everything!
OK, granted, we do have cat cafes in the UK but you can’t visit Japan - the home of cat cafes - and not visit one. And, if you’re not a cat person, there are also dog cafes, owl cafes, goat cafes and even a hedgehog cafe.
‘Bacon and eggs’
Ingenious problem solving - #Okonomiyaki (#japanese savory pancakes and speciality in #osaka) are impossible to eat on the move... So this place combined them with #taiyaki (fish shaped cake usually with sweet fillings like red bean paste or chocolate). And so #okonomitaiyaki was born - #bacon and #eggs on the go? Yes please - soo #tasty! 🐠🍳🐠🍳 #food #japanesefood #japan #igjapan #osaka #igosaka #madeinjapan #japaneats #travel #instatravel #travelgram #travelporn #holiday #food #instafood #foodporn #foodgasm #yolkporn #takeout #takeaway #snack #japanesesnack #baconandeggs
A twist on the bacon and eggs we know at home. In Osaka, okonomiyaki is a popular savoury pancake which translates as ‘grilled as you like it’ (i.e. throw in whatever ingredients you want). But they’re too messy to eat on the move. So, Kogashin in Tenjinbashisuji Shotengai combined them with a taiyaki (another popular Japanese snack: a fish shaped cake filled with red bean paste). And voila - bacon and eggs to eat on the go. Genius.
Anyone who’s visited Tokyo will tell you the robot restaurant is a can’t miss: an explosion of lights, neon, bikinis and robot battles. Be warned, though, while the show is amazing, the food is… not. If you’re not sure where’s good to grab dinner beforehand, the guys at Viator can help.
As well as the famed robot restaurant, Japan has a load of other bizarre restaurants: the ‘Alcatraz restaurant’; maid cafes; a Catholic-themed restaurant; ‘ninja restaurants’ where waiters sneak up on you; There’s even a seafood restaurant where you sit in a ‘boat’ and catch your own dinner!
Shirako (fish sperm)
OK, so we’ll admit, we couldn’t bring ourselves to order/eat this one but, according to the guys at Inside Japan Tours, a fish’s sperm sack is supposedly a delicacy in Japan. Grim.
MTV travelled to Japan with Finnair who fly daily to Osaka via their award-winning hub in Helsinki with economy fares starting from £695 return. The Dragon Trip’s 13-day Japan budget tours from £1,499 give you a unique view of this fascinating country.