The Difference: Imagawayaki vs Obanyaki vs Taiyaki vs Dorayaki

“Imagawayaki (今川焼き)” is a classic Japanese cake with a sweet filling such as “Anko (餡子)” sweet Azuki red bean paste or custard cream, and its pancake batter is made from wheat flour, egg, and sugar. The cake has a disk shape, and is slightly crispy on the outside and soft chewy on the inside.

Imagawayaki Cake

Imagawayaki or Obanyaki Cake

Imagawayaki is a cake often offered by street food stalls at festivals in Japan as well as specialty shops in the city. The vendor usually cooks the Anko-filled small round cake right in front of you, and the sweet treat can be enjoyed throughout the year in Japan.

Imagawayaki or Obanyaki Cake

A legend holds that in the middle of the Edo period (1772 – 1781) a sweet shop near a bridge called “Imagawa-Bashi (今川橋)” in Edo (present-day Tokyo) first created the cake and started selling them. Hence, the Japanese cake originally has the name Imagawa-Yaki.

However in modern times, it is also known by many different names, and the following examples show how Imagawayaki cake is called in each region of Japan. As you can see below, the popular Japanese cake, Obanyaki is actually just the same thing as Imagawayaki.

  • Obanyaki (大判焼き) – in various areas of Japan
  • Kaitenyaki (回転焼き) – in Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Wakayama Prefectures and in the Kyushu region
  • Oyaki (おやき) – in Hokkaido, Aomori, and Iwate Prefectures 
  • Nijyuyaki (二重焼き) – in Hiroshima Prefecture
  • Nanakoshiyaki (七越焼き) – in Toyama Prefecture
  • Gozasoro (御座候) – in Hyogo Prefecture
  • Asakusayaki (浅草焼) – in Aomori Prefecture
  • Ajiman (あじまん) – in Yamagata Prefecture


By the way, the Japanese word “Oban (大判)” has a meaning of a large oval gold coin that had been used in the old days in Japan, while “Yaki (焼き or 焼)” is a Japanese suffix for “baked”, “grilled”, “roasted” or “toasted”.

Imagawayaki (Obanyaki) vs Taiyaki Pancake

Taiyaki Pancake

When I think of Imagawayaki or Obanyaki, that first reminds me of “Taiyaki (鯛焼き)” pancake, because Taiyaki is essentially the same thing as Imagawayaki and basically made with the same ingredients.

Taiyaki is different from Imagawayaki only in that it is shaped like a fish, as “Tai (鯛)” means sea bream in Japanese.

Imagawayaki (Obanyaki) vs Dorayaki Buns

Darayaki Buns

Made with wheat flour, egg, and sugar, the yummy bun loved by Doraemon, “Dorayaki (どら焼き)” is similar to Imagawayaki or Obanyaki. But it consists of Anko paste sandwiched in between 2 moist, round pancakes that contain honey.

(Reference Page : Wikipedia 今川焼き )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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