Most people who visit Osaka look forward to the foodie delights that await them. Downtown Osaka is basically split into 2 main areas: the Kita (north) side around Osaka Station and Umeda, and the Minami (south) side around Shinsaibashi and Dōtonbori. While Kita has an upmarket feel, Minami is renowned for its energetic, working-class environment. At any rate, a walk in the bustling downtown parts of Osaka is like visiting another planet. The city is rich in history, too, and that extends to its gourmet food culture. Let’s explore Osaka’s diverse foodie areas!



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    Here you will find Osaka's famous food-crazy townscape with its huge crab and octopus signs and giant Glico billboard alongside the Dotonbori River – one of the city's essential sights. The nearest stations are Namba Station and Osaka-Namba Station. Most people who visit Osaka stop by here at least once. This area was named after Doton Yasui, who started excavating a canal in 1612. In the Edo period, the area was very lively, with many theatres. Though the number of theatres has decreased over the years, the tradition of entertainment remains in places like Shochikuza Theater and Namba Grand Kagetsu.

    You can enjoy street food such as octopus balls (takoyaki), deep-fried skewers (kushi katsu) or charcoal-grilled red king crab, or deepen your knowledge of the local food at Dotonbori Konamon Museum. You can also find one of the best ramen restaurants in Osaka here in the Dotonbori area.

    Location: 1 Chome-9 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan

    photo by Oilstreet (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Ebisubashi-suji Shopping Street

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    Ebisubashi Bridge is the site of the Minami district’s main landmarks – the huge Glico billboard and the imposing crab sign of Kani Doraku. The shopping street that connects Ebisubashi Bridge and Namba Station is called Ebisubashi-suji Shopping Street. It’s said that it got its name because it was on the road approaching Imamiya Ebisu Shrine, also known as Ebessan, a god of business prosperity, which is famous for the Toka Ebisu Festival.

    This is one of the main shopping streets in the Minami district, an arcade street where you can really feel the unique energy of Osaka. You will find many signs advertizing pork buns (butaman), a soul food of Osaka, but there are also popsicles, Western confectionery, and Japanese sweet shops that are extremely popular among locals. Whenever you get tired, simply take a break and enjoy something sweet to recharge your batteries.

    Location: 4, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0076, Japan


    photo by Type specimen (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Kuromon Market

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    Kuromon Market, which is located just steps away from Subway Nippombashi Station, is one of the best markets in Osaka, the city renowned for extravagance in food. This market has been prospering as Osaka’s kitchen since the Edo period. There’s an incredible variety of seafood on offer, as it developed from originally being a fish market, but there are also abundant vegetables, fruits and meat. Kuromon was originally a market where chefs from Japanese restaurants would come to buy ingredients. However, it has been introduced in foreign-language guidebooks as a famous place for strolling and eating in Kansai, along with Nishiki Market in Kyoto, so the number of inbound visitors has rapidly increased.

    Kuromon Market has transformed into a place that could be described as a food theme park. You should definitely try out the fresh seafood here – tuna-cutting displays are very popular. Make sure you get a stroll-and-eat guide map or a free newspaper guide to make the most of your time. Note that most shops close in the evening.

    Location: 2 Chome-4-1 Nipponbashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0073, Japan

    photo by chee.hong (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Street

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    Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Street is a sophisticated area with fashionable shops and department stores, just steps away from Subway Shinsaibashi Station. In the Edo period, it was the largest retail shop district in Osaka, lined with stores selling dried goods, books, secondhand items, Japanese harps (koto) and Japanese guitars (shamisen).

    Today it’s crowded with tourists from all over the world, especially on weekends. You can enjoy street food here, but why not enjoy a little luxury and try something special like beef and vegetable hot-pot (sukiyaki), Japanese barbecue yakiniku), crab dishes, Teppan-yaki, traditional Japanese food, or charcoal-grilled beef? There are also many famous Japanese savory pancake (okonomiyaki) restaurants in this district. If you’ve set your sights on a particular okonomiyaki restaurant, it’s a good idea to make a reservation. If you have a sweet tooth, look out for the many stores selling Japanese traditional sweets, freshly baked tarts, frozen yogurt and freshly baked castella sponge cake (Kasutera).

    Location: 2 Chome-2-22 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0085, Japan

    photo by hslo (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Hozenji Yokocho

    Fancy getting away from the hustle and bustle of Dotonbori and enjoying some quiet time? Then Hozenji Yokocho is an ideal retreat. Known as the setting for Sakunosuke Oda’s novel, “Meoto Zenzai,” this is a restaurant district with quaint cobblestone alleyways retaining the retro ambience of the Showa period. And it’s just a 5-minute walk from Namba Station. When the sun goes down, lanterns at Hozenji Temple are lit, producing a fantastic atmosphere. The alleys of Hozenji Yokocho are lined with many famous restaurants, some of which have even earned Michelin stars.

    If you visit here, you will definitely want to try traditional Japanese food (kappo or kaiseki) at one of the long-established restaurants. The impressive gastronomic energy of Osaka, Japan’s gourmet capital, is fully on show here. Note that if you want to try authentic traditional Japanese cuisine, it will be necessary to make a reservation in advance.

    Location: 1 Chome-2-16 Nanba, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0076, Japan


    photo by hslo (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Fukushima Shotendori

    Fukushima Shotendori Shopping Street is located right next to the huge JR Osaka Station (Umeda), yet it still clearly has an old-time atmosphere. Once a month, on ‘Fortune-telling Day', the roads of this shopping district are lined with the stands of fortune-tellers.

    This is based on a story that relates how Namboku Mizuno, a physiognomist in the Edo period, changed his attitude after hearing the words of the head of Shoten Ryotokuin Temple. Because it’s located close to Umeda, you will find a lot of Japanese-style bars (izakaya) and standing bars for office workers, but in fact there are also many cafés offering delicious desserts. Whether at night or in the daytime, this is a fascinating place to visit.

    Location: Fukushima, Fukushima Ward, Osaka 553-0003, Japan

    photo by 小倉商事 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Osaka Station City

    Osaka Station City is a commercial complex around JR Osaka Station. It consists of the North Gate Building on the north side of the station and the South Gate Building on, yes, the south side of the station. This is one of the largest commercial complexes in Japan, with a department store, movie theater, hotel, and malls.

    Practically a small town in its own right, Osaka Station City has a full range of amenities. These include Umesan Kouji, a casual restaurant area, and EKI MARCHÉ, a convenient place to buy souvenirs. There's also a luxury restaurant on the top floor.

    Location: 3 Chome-1-3 Umeda, Kita Ward, Osaka, 530-0001, Japan

    photo by Wpcpey (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street

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    Developed as a road approaching Osaka Tenmangu Shrine, Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street is one of the longest covered shopping streets in Japan, with 600 shops and a total length of 2,600 meters. The nearest stations are Subway Ogimachi Station, Tenjimbashisuji 6-chome Station, and Minami-Morimachi Station. This is one of the most popular shopping districts in Osaka, and you can enjoy shopping and street foods in a retro-styled townscape that retains the atmosphere of the Showa period.

    If you want to take your time and stroll around, you will need about 2 hours. There are many casual local shops including sushi bars, beef cutlet (gyukatsu) restaurants, octopus ball (takoyaki) shops, freshly fried potato croquette (korokke) shops, ramen restaurants and bars, as well as stylish coffee shops, wine bars and fresh juice stalls. It’s a great place to walk around for families and couples or even by yourself. Check out the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living, which has reproduced the lifestyle and cityscape of Osaka in the late Edo period, for some virtual time travel.

    Location: Tenjinbashi, Kita Ward, Osaka, 532-0011, Japan

    photo by DVMG (CC BY 3.0) modified


    Sennichimae Shopping Street 

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    Sennichimae Shopping Street is located southeast of Dotonbori, bringing the distinctive downtown atmosphere of Osaka’s Minami district. It’s always crowded with tourists, especially visitors from Asia, because it appealingly combines home appliance stores with an old-town atmosphere. The arcade ceiling allows you to stroll around regardless of the weather.

    This area is known for its numerous Japanese savory pancake (okonomiyaki) and octopus ball (takoyaki) stalls and is called the Mecca of flour-based cuisine (konamon). Sennichimae Shopping Street is a great place to try local cheap eats. It's also a hotspot for ramen.

    Location: Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan

    photo by DVMG (CC BY 3.0) modified



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    Juso is located 2 stations away from Umeda Station. It’s known as a deep entertainment district, but there are many affordable and delicious restaurants suitable even for visiting alone. Fancy a quick meal while on a business trip? This is the place. Juso has every kind of Japanese food you could hope to find, including classic dishes from Osaka and beyond like Japanese stew (oden), Japanese savory pancake (okonomiyaki), Japanese savory pancake with green onion (negiyaki), Japanese barbeque (yakiniku), tempura, skewered chicken (yakitori), tripe dishes, sake and appetizers, traditional Japanese cuisine (kappo), blowfish, crab, deep-fried skewers (kushi katsu), and sushi.

    The styles of the venues are pretty diverse, too – from standing bars and bar spaces in liquor shops to casual Japanese-style bars that make great date-night spots. Juso is the perfect place for those who want to enjoy Osaka at night without breaking the bank.

    Location: Area around Juso Station, Yodogawa Ward, Osaka 532-0023, Japan


    photo by Laitr Keiows (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

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