Takoyaki is very popular Japanese local casual food (also called b-class food in Japanese) originally developed in the western part of Japan, especially Osaka.
a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan. It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus (tako), tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion. Takoyaki are brushed with takoyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce) and mayonnaise, and then sprinkled with green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito (katsuobushi). There are many variations to the takoyaki recipe, for example, ponzu (soy sauce with dashi and citrus vinegar), goma-dare (sesame-and-vinegar sauce) or vinegared dashi.
It’s more popular in the Kansai (western Japan) region, and in Kanto (around Tokyo) region, takoyaki is more popular food as a omatsuri (summer festival) food, and perceived as a food eaten during summer. However, there are few famous takoyaki stands in Tokyo which serves takoyaki throughout the year.
1. Gindako (銀だこ）
Gindako is a popular chain takoyaki stand all over Japan. Started in 1997, now there are over 300 stores all Japan, and in many major cities such as Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Akihabara. They also have spread their business to Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore.
Their speciality is unique flavor such as “cheese mentaiko”, “ebi (shrimp) tartar”.
2. Ginza Fukuyoshi (銀座ふくよし）
Fukuyoshi, located in the east district of Ginza, serves traditional Kansai style takoyaki. They blend dashi in the batter, which makes rich taste even without sauce. The takoyaki is very fluffy but yet crunchy outside.
There are also chairs and tables inside, where you can order some drinks and other food as well. Inari sushi is another speciality of them, so you might want to try one if you are eating inside.
6 min walk from Ginza station
3-12-19 Ginza Chuo-ku Tokyo
11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
5:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. (next day)
Saturdays and Sundays
11:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
3. Tempu (天風) Shibuya
Tempu has just started their business on 2014, but it became so popular just in a year. It’s an izakaya style takoyaki restaurant, with beers, sake and oden. They also allow you to order take outs, make phone call in advance and you would not have to wait.
6 min walk from Shibuya station
1-5 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
6:00 p.m. – 3:00 a.m. (next day)
Sundays and National Holidays
6:00 p.m. – 0:00 a.m.
4. Takohachi (たこ八) Ginza
Takohachi originally started their business in Osaka. From 1979, they expanded their business in the Kansai district, and now you can enjoy their takoyaki in Ginza. Takohachi’s style of eating Takoyaki is dipping the balls into dashi. Putting sauce on takoyaki is a newer style that developed after 1950, takoyaki was originally eaten by dipping into dashi. Takohachi put values on traditional style and do not let customers eat with sauce.
5 min walk from Ginza station
7-2-12 Ginza Chuo-ku, Tokyo
6:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. (next day)
6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
5. Takoazabu (蛸あざぶ) Omotesando
Takoazabu is another izakaya style Takoyaki restaurant. They have 11 kinds of takoyaki menu! Basic, sauce, pepper and lemon, garlic, and also truffle! You could find the most creative takoyaki in Tokyo here.
8 min walk from Omotesando station
3-40-3 Jingumae Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
6:00 p.m. – 0:00 a.m.