Okonomiyaki are savory Japanese pancakes. They are traditionally prepared to use up leftovers at home. The matsuri version is usually packed with filling items such as thick cut bacon.
American carnival classics such as cotton candy (watame) and candy apples are matsuri favorites. Yatai cotton candy comes wrapped in a plastic bag decorated with jpop bands or popular cartoon characters.
Yaki Imo are baked sweet potatoes cooked over a wood fire. Yaki Imo trucks and carts fitted with wood stoves can be found all over the Japan. The trucks may drive around slowly repeating "yaki imo ... yaki imo ... yaki imo" on a loudspeaker. This is either annoying or charming depending on your outlook. Most people become nostalgic about them. They are an aspect of old Japan that's quickly fading into the past.
It's difficult to imagine how many crepe shops there might be in Japan. Certainly over 10,000. Many are trucks or street stalls. Crepe shops are usually surrounded by high school girls seriously contemplating the vast menu.
Imagawayaki resemble a thick-pancake with a filling of red bean paste, custard, cheese, meat, potatoes or curry. They are known by more than 20 different names depending on region of Japan, type and brand name.
Japanese business districts attract bento yatai. They open for an hour or two at lunch on business days. The best of them sell out in 10 or 15 minutes.
Onsen tamago are eggs that have been cooked by a natural onsen hot spring. The slow cooking process gives the egg a texture like custard. It's typically served in dashi and soy sauce.
Baked potato with skin peeled topped with butter.
Corn grilled with miso, butter and soy sauce on a stick.
Japan is obsessed with mild curry similar to a spicy gravy. It's a staple of the Japanese diet. It's common to eat it twice a week.
Banana coated in chocolate and sprinkles on a stick.
Fish shaped cakes filled with custard, chocolate or cheese.
Fukuoka is known for its many excellent ramen noodle yatai.
Savory ball-shaped pancakes with octopus at the center topped with mayonnaise, ginger pickles and fermented fish flakes.
Fried wheat noodles with pork in a thick, sweet sauce.
Baked fish, often mackerel, on a stick. Saltier than salt itself.
Kasutera is a Japanese sponge cake inspired by Portuguese Pao de Castela. Bebi Kasutera are the bite sized or "baby" version of this popular cake.
Oden is a winter dish of meats, fish and vegetable items stewed in a light broth for a very long time. Good for warming up on a cold night. Oden yatai are often surprisingly lively.
A bun with Japanese curry in the center. Similar to a curry donut.
Senbei are Japanese rice crackers that come in hundreds of varieties both sweet and savory. Yatai offer fresh grilled senbei that are a step up from packaged senbei. The town of Nara has senbei yatai for tourists who want to feed the town's many deer. This practice has turned these quiet animals intosenbei crazed troublemakers.
Japanese mochiko dumplings on a stick. Typically in a shoyu and sugar sauce.
Kakigori is Japanese shaved ice that's considered a summer classic that hasn't changed much in the past 50 years. It's typically topped with flavored syrups and condensed milk.
Ichigo Ame are the strawberry version of candy apples. Japanese strawberriesinclude several usually large types that are ideal for mounting on a stick. Ichigo Ame are somewhat rare and are easiest to find at the height of strawberry season.
French fries, the American classic. Much the same in Japan.
The Japanese believe that kyuri (cucumbers) cool you down. Cucumbers on a stick with a little miso paste is the perfect food for hot summer nights.
Ramune is a lemon-lime soft drink that comes in an interesting glass bottle sealed with a marble at the top. It's a classic that dates back to 1876 and is most commonly available from street vendors.