You won’t find takoyaki like this anywhere else in Japan.

Takoyaki octopus balls are a famous Japanese soul food that has its origins in Nishinari Ward, Osaka Prefecture, where it’s said to have first appeared in 1935. Now, almost a hundred years later, you can find many different types of takoyaki around the country, but the latest one we discovered, at a humble shop in Ibaraki Prefecture called “Oji Tako“, surprised even us when we stumbled across it.

What makes the takoyaki here so special is the fact that they’re…

▼…emerald green!

It’s surprising how much of a difference colour makes to food, because these looked totally surreal, like something out of a manga or anime. Even though the process of making the takoyaki was exactly the same as it always is, with the chef masterfully flipping the balls in a specially made iron pan, it looked very different to anything we’re used to seeing.

Having tried our fair share of weird food before, we know that sometimes something that looks unusual can be less-than-impressive when it comes to flavour, so we didn’t set high expectations for the taste when we bought a pack of eight for 660 yen (US$4.56).

▼ The takoyaki here goes by the name “Aotako” (“Green Tako”)

However, these takoyaki were a pleasant surprise, with the aroma of green onions, sauce, and mayonnaise whetting the appetite. Upon first bite, the outside was crispy and fragrant, while the inside was hot, melty, and absolutely delicious!

These balls defied their fun and unusual appearance, with a taste that showed exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail. The standout was the dough, which had a gentle sweetness that complemented the exquisite dashi stock, making it unlike any other takoyaki we’d ever tasted.

They were so good we ordered another set, this time a plain version without any sauce or mayonnaise, which allowed us to truly appreciate the beauty of the dough.

If you’re trying the green balls for the first time, we recommend trying this version.

The flavour was even better than what we’d experienced at a famous takoyaki restaurant in Osaka, which made us wonder if the emerald green element was the secret to its deliciousness.

Curious to find out what made them so good, we spoke to the owner, who told us that what gives these balls their green colour is actually…spinach!

The vegetable’s natural pigments create a vivid finish without the need for any colorants, but there was a lot of trial and error required to get the right shade of green.

In fact, the spinach-infused dough is so unique it’s been patented by the owner, so the Aotako truly is a one-of-a-kind takoyaki.

Not only is the colour fantastic, so too is the quality of the takoyaki, so if you’re ever up in Tsukuba, be sure to stop by Oji Tako. It’s yet another reason why Ibaraki doesn’t deserve its title as Japan’s least attractive prefecture!

Store Information

Oji Tako / オジたこ
Address: Ibaraki-ken, Tsukuba-shi, Matsushiro 5-7-1
Open: 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
Closed Mondays
Website (Instagram)

Images © SoraNews24
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