Naniwaya Cafe

Naniwaya is a prominent taiyaki store that was established by Seijiro Kanbe in 1909 which has a history of more than 100 years. Naniwaya is located near Azabujuban Station in the Azabujuan shopping district in Tokyo.

Naniwaya is named after Naniwa, which is another name for Osaka. This particular name was chosen because the first owner was from Osaka. Since the establishment in 1909, the traditional cooking method of Naniwaya’s taiyaki has been passed down three generations and is still used today.  The sweetened red bean paste, which is stuffed in taiyaki, takes 8 hours to make and is made fresh everyday. The first floor is where the taiyaki is made and where you can order food to take out. The second floor is a café, where several food and drink options are available in addition to taiyaki. Also, there is a table outside for dogs and their owners to enjoy food and drinks together.

The famous Taiyaki at Naniwaya was the inspiration of a big hit song, “Oyoge Taiyaki kun” which means “Swim Taiyaki.” There are many Taiyaki stores in Japan, but the taiyaki at Naniwaya is quite different from others in several ways. At Naniwaya, each taiyaki is made individually using a special pan manufactured only for Naniwaya while at other stores they bake several taiyakis at once with a frypan. Another difference of Naniwaya’s taiyaki is the breading is thinner and crispier than other taiyakis.  Sweetened Red Beans are not too sweet therefore, Naniwaya’s taiyaki are popular among men as well. When you are walking on a street of Azabujuban, sometimes you can see a businessman eating a taiyaki while walking toward Azabujuban Station. Because the taiyaki is so popular when ordering more than one taiyaki it can take about an hour.Taiyaki costs 150 yen each.

Even though, in the last 100 years, mass production has replaced most traditional cooking methods, Naniwaya kept the traditional way of making taiyaki one at a time.  Their products gained the support of Japanese people and has been considered one of the top three Taiyaki stores in Tokyo.  This proves that traditional methods can still thrive in a mass producing society.

The song, “Swim Taiyaki.”

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