Street food in Tokyo / Kyoto?
Will be spending two weeks in the Tokyo / Kyoto / Osaka areas for two weeks. I'l be with my 16 year old son who is a fairly adventurous eater and we have always enjoyed street stall food. What areas would you recomend for us to try? Are there particular streets or alley ways that would be good for a couple of gaijin to try?
If you're in Tokyo on a Sunday, you may want to head over to Harajuku and Yoyogi Park. On Sundays, kids dress up in cosplay and hang around to be seen, others dance in groups -- something a 16-year-old may be interested in anyway. Because there's lots of people hanging out in the area, there are, of course, food booths, mainly of the takoyaki/okonimyaki/yakisoba type. There weren't that many when I was there last, but it was in January. I expect there may be more in warmer weather. Afterwards you could visit the Meiji shrine or cross over to Takeshita-dori and have a crepe for dessert.
I'm sure it's not what you're looking for in Japan, but some of my favorite street food in Tokyo were those donor kebab trucks that are parked around the city. I'm not sure if they're still around, but when you're drinking or coming out of a club, or just hungry and don't want to sit down, they REALLY hit the spot.
They're pretty good. But my favorite was the rotisserie chicken guy that used to park across from the ROI Building in Roppongi. He would roast potatos under the chicken and all the drippings would fall on to them and make a chicken/ potato set very greasy and delectable...Only negative thing was the pile of carcasses that used to accumulate on that block....Probably why he didn't last long...
There are several threads on this topic. I would do a search...Tokyo's not really a street stall city. People think "Tokyo=Japan=Asia=street stall", but that's not really the case. The "depachika" are really the best place for a street foodish experience. You can also try the Ameyoko "market" in Ueno. If you're OK exposing your son to teetering, drunk salarymen, there are many "yokocho" areas that have small counter drinking and eating establishments. Do a search for "tachinomi". One area that comes to mind is "Omoide Yokocho" which is just outside of the West exit of Shinjuku station. There's more of that tucked into the alleyways of Kabukicho, on the other side of the station as well. Every little area actually has a few alleys like this- some larger than others. Just keep in mind they are not really family friendly, though not overly intimidating either.
On the east side of the city, "Shitamachi" neighborhoods like Shibamata and Koiwa will have street food. As will Nakano, back on the west side, 10 minutes from Shinjuku. You'll have to poke around on Google and look for blog postings. There's a lot of coverage for these type of spots, but it's mostly in Japanese.
I second Omoide Yokocho (Piss Alley). Two friends are visiting Tokyo for the first time and I took them there on Weds. I think total, there may be about 20-30 restaurants and a good number of them seemed happy to see a group of foreigners walking around. I had to turn down a few until we decided to give up and just try one.
As posted in another topic earlier today:
Sammy's Ebisu Place is a great, Chowhound-y stop in Osaka, with three floors of street stalls in a food-focused mini-theme park. http://www.examiner.com/a-1036082~Osa...
And I think you'll have fun in Nishiki Market in Kyoto - you'll find takoyaki, mochiyaki, etc. And then there's the Ramen Alley inside Kyoto Station (on the 10th floor of the Cube complex).
There aren't really "street food" areas in Kyoto. Your best bet would be to hit a festival or temple market and sample the different foods stalls there. It's the closest to street food you'll find.
If you'll be in Kyoto around the 21st, the Toji Flea Market is held every month on that day. There will be plenty of food stalls.
There's also Nishiki, but that's not really street food style, in my opinion. You can certainly find a lot of food there, though.