For an all-rounded experience of authentic Japanese cuisine, there is no better place to visit than Osaka, fondly known as “The Nation’s Kitchen”. The vibrant, bustling city is known to be the place for foodies to fill their bottomless pits, and you can easily find something to eat at every corner of this gastronomic paradise.
While there are plenty of options that you can stuff your faces silly with, one popular street snack that is a must-try here is takoyaki. For the uninitiated, takoyaki refers to a spherical Japanese appetiser that is made from a wheat flour-based batter that gets its shape from the unique moulded pan it’s cooked in. It usually comes stuffed with ingredients such as diced octopus, but these days, you can also get fillings such as tempura scraps, ham and shrimp.
Dotonbori is a great place to head to if you’re keen to try some authentic takoyaki. However, the streets here are lined with multiple stalls that sell the same thing, so which stall truly has the best takoyaki? Like the true blue Singaporeans we were, we decided to find the Takoyaki stall with the longest queue. Alas, this led us to Takoyaki Juhachiba, which had a snaking long queue that stretched on for about half an hour.
If you’re a foodie who’s heading to Japan for the first time and you’re not sure which city you should start with, we highly recommend that you slot in Osaka at the top of your list.
Endearingly known as “Tenka no Daidokoro”, which translates to The Nation’s Kitchen, Japan’s second largest metropolitan area is home to a plethora of food options that are sure to leave you spoilt for choice. From bite-sized balls of takoyaki to piping hot bowls of ramen, there is something to eat in pretty much every corner of Osaka. You’ll never go hungry in this gastronomic paradise!
Aside from being a glutton’s idea of heaven, the fast-paced city is jam-packed with plenty of things to see and do. From one of the largest pokemon centres in the world to the majestic Osaka Castle, Osaka is truly a one-stop destination where you can experience the beauty of Japan in a nutshell.
For those of you who need some help with your itinerary, here is our 5D4N guide on what to eat, see and do in the kitchen of Japan.
While Japan is home to a smorgasbord of delicious food options that never fail to leave us spoilt for choice, there are a few perennial staples that the Japanese always go back to.
Ramen is one of them and is considered comfort food; we mean, who can resist springy noodles doused in a piping hot, savoury broth? We definitely can’t.
Although we can never say no to a classic bowl of tonkatsu ramen, we don’t mind stepping out of our comfort zone and trying an unconventional version of it, which is why we were drawn to Tanchou in Osaka.
What makes Tanchou so different from the other ramen joints out there is that their ramen comes cooked with chawanmushi. For the uninitiated, chawanmushi is a Japanese-style steamed egg custard that has a silky texture. This bizarre combination undoubtedly piqued our interest and here is what we thought.
The first thought that comes to mind when Nara is mentioned is deers. Lots and lots of deers.
Nara is famous for its free-roaming Sika deer which can be found wandering around the city. There are at least 1200 of these nimble creatures in Nara and they are tame enough for people to pet and feed them.
However, did you know that the Nara deer used to be deemed as sacred? These graceful creatures were once revered and considered to be divine messengers of the gods. They were so enshrined that anyone found to have killed a deer of Nara were to face the death penalty.
The deers these days are no longer considered as sacred, but they still continue to be protected as national treasures. The city loves their deer so much that there are even signs reminding people to give way to them when they cross the road!
Nara is the perfect blend of both the past and present, making it a great place to make a day trip. If you’re new to the city and are clueless on what to add into your itinerary, here is a guide on what you can see, eat and do there.
Photo Credit: https://www.jnto.org.sg/
Every year during spring, thousands of tourists flock to Japan to view the magnificent spectacle of the nation’s cherry blossom blooming season.
Centred around the last bit of March to the first half of April, visitors can join locals in the traditional custom of hanami (cherry blossom viewing), and experience the splendour that is the ephemeral beauty of Japan’s national flower.
To aid those looking to experience this brilliant display, we will share our 2020 Cherry Blossom Forecast for the 12 most popular Japanese cities to enjoy the festivities at. Because of the effects of climate change and general deviations in year-to-year weather patterns, these estimates may change closer to the blooming season.
Photo Credit: Fuglen Asakusa
This mod café in the heart of a traditional neighbourhood is Norwegian coffee purveyor Fuglen’s second outlet in Tokyo.
In the vicinity of the historic Senso-Ji, it occupies two floors of Nine Hours capsule hotel. Fans of Fuglen would be glad to know that they can purchase their house blends there. They retail brewing equipment and accessories as well.
There are many ways to soak in the minimalist aesthetics. From cosy communal tables, to window seats to enjoy the sunlight or outdoor seats to people-watch.
While cherry blossom season in Japan is a popular period for tourists to visit, another season that is highly anticipated among visitors to Japan is the autumn season. With a medley of warm colours that is sure to stun, experiencing the fall foliage in Japan is another breathtaking sight to behold and one you must experience.
If you’ve missed out on booking your tickets this season for spring, consider marking your calendars for autumn. A sight like this is something you definitely do not want to miss out on!
We share with you a forecast of the best dates to visit, as well as the recommended cities and their various viewing spots.
Ask the locals one dish you must try when visiting Lake Kawaguchiko and Mount Fuji and the chances are they’d tell you Hoto Noodles.
It is a regional dish that originated from Yamanashi prefecture and said to be widely popularised after the World War II. Essentially a noodle dish with vegetables and chicken or pork, Hoto Noodles is a comforting one-dish meal that has won the hearts of both young and old.
The unadulterated comfort of a piping hot bowl of Hoto Noodles will complete your experience in Laka Kawaguchiko, Japan. Here’s everything you need to know about the iconic dish.