There is something oh-so-magical about the hustle and bustle of fast-paced Dotonbori, an iconic street in Osaka that is packed with a never-ending array of things to see and do. If you’re an unashamed foodie like us, you’ll also be glad to know that the area is a fantastic place to try some authentic Japanese fare.
However, the crowd does sometimes get to us and some of the prices for food here can be rather steep as Dotonbori is, at the end of the day, still a tourist hotspot. Many a time, we wished that there was somewhere we could settle down for a quiet meal to get away from the crowd for a bit.
We are glad to say that if you search hard enough, you can actually find some gems that are a little less hectic than the places in the main area of Dotonbori. That was how we came across Wakasaya Nankai Namba along a random street. This humble restaurant is great for people who love raw seafood as they specialise in wholesome sashimi bowls at wallet-friendly prices.
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.
It is hard to describe Osaka in just one word. But this is not to say it is just another Tokyo. While there have always been comparisons between these two cities, and talks about how Osaka can never be like Tokyo, we beg to differ, for Osaka radiates its own charm and deserves to be loved for many reasons.
From the majestic Osaka Castle to Universal Studios Japan, shopping at Shinsaibashi to cafe-hopping at Orange Street, Instant Ramen Museum to Osaka Central Fish Market, the list goes on and we have picked out 20 things to covet when visiting Osaka.
Mark Osaka down in your travel bucket list. We promise it would be worth a visit.
When we learnt that we were headed to Osaka, we asked ourselves, “what must we eat?”
Because Osaka is affectionately known as the Kitchen of Japan, and the Osakans worship their washoku (Japanese cuisine) – the ones who prepare dedicate their lives to perfecting the dishes they lay out on the table; the ones who savour spend their time learning and understanding every history and style of the different kinds of washoku. It is almost like a religion for Japanese (and quite possibly people from all over the world) to live and breathe the art of washoku.
So when we say ‘eat’, it is in every way an artistic indulgence, one that has us completely enveloped in the soul of Japanese expressions. The chefs pay so much attention to every step of the preparation and presentation, and there are always rich histories behind every style of dining; ingredients used are very much based on seasons, and the style of cooking has their own stories to tell too.
All that intrigue to speak about, but for now, we will begin with kappo – the definition of Osaka’s culinary glory. Like how Kyoto has its kaiseki, Osaka takes pride in their cutting and cooking, hence making up the word ‘kappo’. But do not be intimidated by the language if you do not understand, because if any, it is really a very affectionate way of dining.