Eating giant okonomiyaki at Osaka Castle: A photo essay

When I recently (controversially) claimed Osaka Castle as one of my favourites, I justified it on the grounds of having fantastic experiences there, and the most memorable of these was the night of the giant okonomiyaki! And I promised to give all the delicious details, so here goes.

One of my students, Tsuneo, told me all about the giant okonomiyaki record-breaking attempt to take place in the grounds of Osaka Castle during some kind of Japanese cultural festivity. He couldn’t make it but was very insistent that I went, and being a major fan of okonomiyaki (see a brief explanation of what it is; but to summarise, a kind of cabbage pancake), I didn’t take too much convincing. So, here’s what went on (with apologies for some below par photography – it was quite dark by the time it was ready):

Crowds gathered in Osaka-jo-koen

The crowd started gathering in Osaka-jo-koen (Osaka Castle Park) long before I arrived – but being a Japanese crowd, it was suitably orderly, and me being obviously not Japanese, I was soon given special treatment and a good view.

A crane flips the giant okonomiyaki

I was there in time to see the half-way mark of this cooking process – of what the sign proclaimed was an 8-metre okonomiyaki (they’re normally something like 25cm across!). It was a slow process and it obviously took longer than they expected as they checked it many times before actually flipping it.

Men adding sauce to the giant okonomiyaki

When it was finished, several groups of men literally took cherry-picker lifts up into the air with bizarre hoses to spray the toppings on (including the most important, the brown okonomiyaki sauce. YUM! Oh, the mayonnaise is also quite important.)

Happy Japanese man with his piece of the giant okonomiyaki

Finally – and it was quite late and quite dark by now, as it had (unusually for Japan) all taken longer than they had planned – I could line up to get my little piece of the giant okonomiyaki. I’m afraid I have to admit that by the time I got my piece it was cold and didn’t really taste as good as usual, but I was happy to have been there to make history! I’ve never actually seen for sure if it broke a record but I can’t imagine there is too much giant okonomiyaki making going on around the world, so I think I’m going to claim to have eaten a piece of the world’s biggest ever okonomiyaki!


  1. oh wow that would have been quite a funny event to go to! i can imagine how orderly it was and when it didn’t go to plan people would have happily waited and waited and waited. Love that they had a crane with a fire hose to spray on the sauce – too funny!
    now i must go make some okonomiyaki cause you have made me hungry – oh how i love okonomiyaki!!

  2. Yep the crane was hilarious! How was your okonomiyaki?

  3. Love it. I was gutted we didn’t make it to Osaka Castle. having to knock quite a few things off the list to keep everyone happy. Travelling with two little ones slows one down a lot 🙂

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