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Hiroshima vs Osaka: A Tale of Two Okonomiyaki Styles

02/07/2023 3:00 PM

Welcome to the ultimate battle of okonomiyaki! If you're a fan of Japanese cuisine, you've likely heard of this savory pancake dish.
Hiroshima vs Osaka Okonomiyaki


Did you know that there are two distinct styles of okonomiyaki, each with their own unique characteristics? In this article, we'll delve into the differences between Hiroshima and Osaka style okonomiyaki, from the ingredients used to the cooking techniques employed. So get your chopsticks ready, and let's explore the world of okonomiyaki!

What is Okonomiyaki?

Okonomiyaki is a savory Japanese pancake that has become a beloved staple in Japanese cuisine. The name derives from "okonomi," meaning "what you like" or "what you want," and "yaki," meaning "grilled" or "cooked." Essentially, the dish is a mix of batter, cabbage, and a variety of meats or seafood, cooked on a griddle and topped with a variety of sauces and toppings.

Often referred to as "Japanese pizza," okonomiyaki traces its roots back to Osaka in the 1930s, where it was sold at street vendors and mom-and-pop shops. Today, it is a popular street food throughout Japan and a must-try for anyone visiting the country.

hiroshima style okonomiyaki

Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki

Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is a unique variation of the Japanese pancake, characterized by its layered cooking process and specific ingredients. Unlike Osaka style okonomiyaki, which mixes all ingredients together before cooking, Hiroshima style okonomiyaki cooks each ingredient separately before layering them on top of each other.

Typically, a Hiroshima style okonomiyaki starts with a thin layer of batter cooked on a griddle. Next, a layer of cabbage, bean sprouts, and other vegetables is added, followed by a layer of thin noodles. A layer of egg is added on top, and finally, slices of pork or other meat are placed on the very top.

Ingredients Preparation
Batter made of flour, eggs, dashi, and cabbage Mixed and poured onto a griddle to form a thin layer
Cabbage, bean sprouts, and other vegetables Cooked separately on the griddle and layered on top of the batter
Thin noodles such as soba, udon, or yakisoba Cooked separately on the griddle and layered on top of the vegetables
Egg Cracked on the griddle and cooked into a thin layer on top of the noodles
Pork or other meat Sliced thinly and placed on top of the egg layer, cooked until crispy

The entire dish is then flipped over to cook the meat and ensure all layers are heated through before being served. Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is typically served with a layer of okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, and a sprinkle of dried seaweed flakes.

hiroshima okonomiyaki

While Hiroshima style okonomiyaki may seem labor-intensive, it's worth the effort for its delicious combination of flavors and textures. Its unique layered structure also makes for a visually stunning presentation.

Osaka Style Okonomiyaki

While Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is known for its layered cooking process, Osaka style okonomiyaki is characterized by its mixed batter. The batter consists of flour, grated nagaimo yam, dashi stock, eggs, and cabbage, with additional ingredients such as squid, shrimp, or pork often added for flavor.

Once mixed, the batter is poured onto a hot griddle and topped with various ingredients, such as green onion, pickled ginger, and dried bonito flakes. Unlike Hiroshima style okonomiyaki, Osaka style is typically cooked all at once on the griddle, resulting in a thick, fluffy pancake-like dish that is cut into slices for serving.

osaka style okonomiyaki

In addition to the traditional toppings, Osaka style okonomiyaki is often served with a mix of savory and sweet sauces. The sauces are typically a combination of otafuku sauce, a Worcestershire-style sauce, and mayonnaise, all drizzled over the top of the pancake in a crisscross pattern.

Osaka Style Okonomiyaki Recipe

Ingredients: - 1 cup all-purpose flour - 1/2 cup dashi broth - 1 egg
- 1/2 cup grated nagaimo yam - 1/2 head of cabbage, thinly sliced - 1/2 cup sliced green onion
- 1/4 cup tenkasu (crispy bits of tempura batter) - 1/4 cup sliced tenpura shrimp (optional) - 1/4 cup sliced squid (optional)
- Otafuku sauce - Worcestershire-style sauce - Mayonnaise

1. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, dashi broth, and egg. Stir until well mixed.

2. Add grated nagaimo yam, sliced cabbage, green onion, tenkasu, and any optional ingredients to the bowl. Mix well.

3. Heat a griddle or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Grease the pan lightly with oil.

4. Pour in the batter mixture, spreading it out evenly to form a circle. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the bottom is golden brown.

5. Flip the okonomiyaki over and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until the other side is also golden brown.

6. Drizzle otafuku sauce, Worcestershire-style sauce, and mayonnaise over the top of the okonomiyaki in a crisscross pattern.

7. Serve the okonomiyaki hot, cut into slices.

Whether you prefer the layered style of Hiroshima or the mixed batter of Osaka, both types of okonomiyaki are delicious and worth trying.

Hiroshima vs Osaka Okonomiyaki: Ingredient Comparison

While both Hiroshima and Osaka styles of okonomiyaki share some common ingredients, there are notable differences that give each dish a distinct flavor profile.

Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki Osaka Style Okonomiyaki
Thick, wheat-flour based batter Thin, wheat-flour based batter
Sliced cabbage Mixed shredded cabbage and other vegetables
Fewer additional ingredients, with a focus on layered cooking Additional ingredients commonly mixed into the batter, including seafood, squid, and cheese
Simple toppings like green onions, pickled ginger, and bonito flakes Various creative toppings such as grated cheese, mayonnaise, and seaweed

These differences in ingredient choice give each style of okonomiyaki a unique taste and texture. While Hiroshima takes a simpler approach to ingredients and allows for the flavors to be built in layers, Osaka opts for a mixed batter with a wide range of potential ingredients allowing for more variation in taste.

okonomiyaki ingredients

Hiroshima vs Osaka Okonomiyaki Cooking Techniques

One of the main differences between Hiroshima and Osaka style okonomiyaki is their cooking techniques. Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is cooked in layers, while Osaka style is mixed and cooked all at once.

For Hiroshima style okonomiyaki, the batter is first spread thin on the hot grill, followed by a layer of cabbage, bean sprouts, and other fillings. Soba noodles, pork belly, and shrimp are popular additions. Once the ingredients are cooked, the batter is added on top, followed by an egg and a generous amount of okonomiyaki sauce. The entire stack is flipped over and cooked until the egg is set.

Osaka style okonomiyaki, on the other hand, is mixed in a bowl before being poured onto the hot grill. The batter includes flour, yamaimo (a type of yam), dashi broth, eggs, and shredded cabbage. Additional fillings like pork belly, shrimp, or squid are then added on top. Once the bottom is cooked, it is flipped over and brushed with okonomiyaki sauce before being served.

okonomiyaki cooking techniques

Hiroshima vs Osaka Okonomiyaki: Toppings and Sauces

One of the defining characteristics of okonomiyaki is the variety of toppings and sauces used in its preparation. Whether you prefer the layered Hiroshima style or the mixed Osaka style, the toppings and sauces play a crucial role in enhancing the flavor of this savory Japanese pancake. Here, we'll explore the differences in toppings and sauces used in Hiroshima and Osaka style okonomiyaki.

Hiroshima Okonomiyaki Toppings and Sauces

In Hiroshima style okonomiyaki, the toppings are typically layered between the batter and noodles during the cooking process. Common toppings include chopped cabbage, bean sprouts, pork belly, and seafood like shrimp or squid. Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is also known for its special sauce, which is similar to Worcestershire sauce but thicker and sweeter. This sauce is drizzled over the top of the finished okonomiyaki along with mayonnaise and aonori (dried seaweed powder).

Toppings Sauces
Chopped cabbage Special sauce
Bean sprouts Mayonnaise
Pork belly Aonori
Seafood (shrimp or squid)
hiroshima okonomiyaki sauce

Osaka Okonomiyaki Toppings and Sauces

Osaka style okonomiyaki is mixed together with all the toppings and batter before cooking, resulting in a thicker and heartier pancake. Popular toppings include sliced pork belly, green onions, bonito flakes, and pickled ginger. The sauce used for Osaka style okonomiyaki is typically a combination of Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and ketchup. It's applied in a grid pattern over the top of the pancake and topped with mayonnaise and aonori.

Toppings Sauces
Sliced pork belly Worcestershire sauce
Green onions Soy sauce
Bonito flakes Ketchup
Pickled ginger Mayonnaise
osaka okonomiyaki sauce

While both Hiroshima and Osaka style okonomiyaki are delicious in their own right, the choice of toppings and sauces can have a significant impact on the overall flavor. Whether you prefer the layered approach of Hiroshima style or the mixed batter of Osaka style, experimenting with different toppings and sauces can result in a unique and mouthwatering okonomiyaki experience.

Where to Try Hiroshima and Osaka Style Okonomiyaki

If you're planning a trip to Japan, trying the two styles of okonomiyaki is a must. Luckily, there are plenty of restaurants all over the country that specialize in this delicious dish.

If you're looking to try Hiroshima style okonomiyaki, head to Okonomi-mura in Hiroshima City. This multi-level building is home to 24 different restaurants, each serving their own unique take on the dish. You can watch as the chefs expertly layer the ingredients on the grill, creating a masterpiece right before your eyes.

For Osaka style okonomiyaki, head to the bustling district of Dotonbori in Osaka City. There are countless options here, but one must-visit spot is Mizuno. This family-run restaurant has been serving up some of the best okonomiyaki in Osaka for over 60 years.

hiroshima and osaka okonomiyaki

If you're not planning a trip to Japan anytime soon, don't worry. There are plenty of restaurants outside of Japan that specialize in okonomiyaki as well. Do some research and see if there are any options near you.

If you're in Tokyo, head to Kiji in Azabu-Juban. This small restaurant serves up both Hiroshima and Osaka style okonomiyaki, so you can try both without leaving the city.

If you're visiting Kyoto, make your way to Okonomiyaki Katsu. This restaurant serves up a unique version of Hiroshima style okonomiyaki, featuring soba noodles cooked into the dish.

No matter where you try it, make sure to sit at the counter and watch as the chefs expertly prepare your okonomiyaki. It's a true culinary experience that you won't soon forget.

Okonomiyaki Festivals and Events

If you're a fan of okonomiyaki, visiting Hiroshima and Osaka during one of their local festivals or events is an experience you won't want to miss. These lively celebrations are the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich food culture and try a variety of delicious okonomiyaki dishes.

Okonomiyaki Festa is a popular event held annually in Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park. This two-day festival draws in crowds of over 500,000 people who come to sample different styles of okonomiyaki from local restaurants and vendors. In addition to the savory pancakes, there are also live music performances and traditional dance shows to enjoy.

If you find yourself in Osaka, be sure to check out the Tenjin Matsuri Festival. This grand summer festival is one of the oldest in Japan and takes place over two days in July. You'll have plenty of opportunities to try Osaka-style okonomiyaki from street vendors, as well as other traditional Japanese foods.

Another event worth visiting is the Okonomiyaki World Cup, held annually in Hiroshima. This international competition brings together top okonomiyaki chefs from around the world to showcase their skills and compete for the coveted title of "Okonomiyaki World Champion."

No matter which festival or event you choose to attend, you're sure to have a blast tasting different varieties of okonomiyaki and experiencing the lively atmosphere of these vibrant celebrations.

okonomiyaki festival

Okonomiyaki Recipe Variation Ideas

Are you looking to switch up your okonomiyaki game? Here are some unique recipe variations to inspire your next meal:

  • Seafood Okonomiyaki: Add shrimp, squid, or crab meat to your batter for a delicious oceanic twist. Top with seaweed flakes and drizzle with mayo and okonomiyaki sauce.
  • Cheese Okonomiyaki: Sprinkle shredded cheese over your okonomiyaki before flipping it for a gooey, melty treat. Add bacon or ham for extra flavor.
  • Vegan Okonomiyaki: Use shredded cabbage, grated yam, and your favorite veggies for a plant-based version. Swap out eggs for silken tofu and use vegan Worcestershire or soy sauce as a substitute.
  • Mochi Okonomiyaki: Incorporate pieces of chewy mochi into your batter for a fun textural addition. Top with green onions and sesame seeds.

Feel free to get creative with your okonomiyaki ingredients and experiment with new flavors. Who knows, you may just discover your new favorite recipe!


In conclusion, to truly eat Okonomiyaki and appreciate its unique flavors, understanding the difference between Osaka and Hiroshima-style is key. These regional variants, each with their distinct layers and ingredients, offer a savory adventure that encapsulates the spirit of Japanese street food. So whether you favor the mixed-in approach of Osaka or the stacked delight of Hiroshima-style, each bite of Okonomiyaki promises a gastronomic journey that's uniquely Japanese.


Q: What is Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki?

A: Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is a variation of the popular Japanese dish okonomiyaki that originated in Hiroshima. It is a layered version of the dish where the ingredients are stacked on top of each other rather than mixed together in a bowl.

Q: What is Kansai-style okonomiyaki?

A: Kansai-style okonomiyaki is another variation of okonomiyaki that originated in the Kansai region of Japan (which includes Osaka). It is a mixed version of the dish where the ingredients are combined and cooked together on a hot plate.

Q: What's the difference between Hiroshima-style and Kansai-style okonomiyaki?

A: The main difference between Hiroshima-style and Kansai-style okonomiyaki is the way they are prepared. In Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, the ingredients are layered on top of each other, while in Kansai-style okonomiyaki, the ingredients are mixed together and cooked on a hot plate.

Q: How do you cook okonomiyaki?

A: To cook okonomiyaki, you first mix together the batter, which typically includes flour, water, eggs, and cabbage. Then, you add your desired toppings, such as meat, seafood, or vegetables. Finally, you cook the okonomiyaki on a hot plate or grill until it is golden brown and cooked through.

A: Some popular toppings for okonomiyaki include okonomiyaki sauce (a sweet and tangy sauce similar to Worcestershire sauce), Japanese mayonnaise, bonito flakes, dried seaweed, green onions, and pickled ginger.

Q: Where can I find okonomiyaki restaurants in Hiroshima?

A: Hiroshima is known for its delicious okonomiyaki, and you can find many restaurants that serve it in the downtown area. Some popular okonomiyaki restaurants in Hiroshima include Issen, Shintenchi, and Tsuruya.

Q: What are the exact origins of okonomiyaki?

A: The exact origins of okonomiyaki are unclear, but it is believed to have originated in the Kansai region of Japan. It is said to have been inspired by a dish called "issen yoshoku," which was a thin crepe-like pancake topped with various ingredients.

Q: How is hiroshima-style okonomiyaki topped?

A: Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is typically topped with okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, dried seaweed, bonito flakes, and sometimes a fried egg. The toppings can vary depending on personal preference and the restaurant.

Q: Can you eat okonomiyaki with a spatula?

A: Yes, when eating okonomiyaki, it is common to use a spatula to cut it into smaller pieces and then pick up the pieces with the spatula or chopsticks. The spatula helps to keep the layers of the dish intact.

Q: What is the significance of Hiroshima in relation to okonomiyaki?

A: Hiroshima is known for its unique style of okonomiyaki, which is characterized by layering the ingredients and topping it with okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, and other condiments. This style of okonomiyaki gained popularity in Hiroshima after the bombing of Hiroshima in World War II when food supplies were limited and people had to be creative with their cooking.