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Taiyaki and Imagawayaki - Japanese Encyclopedia

Taiyaki and Imagawayaki - Japanese Encyclopedia

Translated by Hilary Keyes

Written by ニコ

2016.08.17 Bookmark

Made from dough filled with sweet red bean paste, taiyaki and imagawayaki are two popular Japanese sweets. Let's learn a bit more about these delicious treats!

Taiyaki and imagawayaki are popular Japanese snacks made from fluffy dough and filled with a generous helping of anko!

But what are the differences between these two snacks? Let's take a closer look at these delicious treats.

The Difference Between Taiyaki and Imagawayaki

The biggest difference between taiyaki and imagawayaki is their shape. Taiyaki are shaped like fish, while imagawayaki are round. But with identical ingredients and filling, how did this difference in shape arise?

Historically, imagawayaki have been around the longest; Imagawayaki were first eaten in the Edo era while taiyaki were made almost 100 years later, during the Meiji era.

The History of Taiyaki and Imagawayaki

It's said that imagawayaki has its roots in Kanda, Tokyo. 200 years ago, in Kanda's Imagawabashi neighborhood, there was a sweet shop that sold red bean paste filled buns. Over time, they became known as imagawayaki. These simple flour buns filled with anko quickly became a popular mid-afternoon snack!

Taiyaki were also first made in Tokyo. They were invented by a man named Seijirō Kanbei, who was originally from Osaka, but later came to Tokyo for business. His own imagawayaki shop was not doing very well, until he tried shaping the snacks into fish. Not just any fish, but a 'tai' or red sea bream, which is considered an auspicious dish in Japan and is eaten mainly to celebrate different festivals and events. These fish-shaped sweet buns won over the masses and have been sold ever since.

Seijirō Kanbei's original shop Naniwaso Honten is still in business, and is located in Azabu Jūban, Tokyo . This is a must visit shop for fans of taiyaki and its creator.

Unusual Taiyaki and Imagawayaki?

Both imagawayaki and taiyaki are best known as anko filled sweets, but in the 20th century, varieties made with custard cream, whipped cream, chocolate, and jams also became popular.

Savory types with sausage, cheese and even corn-filling can also be found. There are pizza and okonomiyaki filled taiyaki, too!

If you'd like to try one of these unusual treats, head to Gintai in Tokyo's Meguro ward, where you can order the pizza taiyaki. If you go to Kichijōji, you should visit Gin-no-an, a shop that serves taiyaki made from croissant dough.
When you visit Japan, be sure to try a few different types of taiyaki - you'll enjoy them!

Go to the Museum!

If you'd like to know more about the history of taiyaki and imagawayaki, there's is an interesting place that you should visit.

The Adzuki Museum, managed by the famous imagawayaki manufacturer Gozasōrō, is the perfect place to learn more about these sweet red beans, and the role of Gozasōrō in the history of imagawayaki. You can also take part in a class on making your own Japanese sweets!

In the museum gift shop you can purchase imagawayaki-themed cell phone straps, imagawayaki shaped erasers and plenty of other unique souvenirs too. If you are really interested in getting some insight into Japanese food culture, be sure to check it out!

For more on taiyaki and other Japanese sweets:

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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