There are plenty of good reasons to go to Japan and exploring authentic Japanese food is definitely one of them! Our Spring trip took us to Japan’s Kansai Region and we were able to taste some of the amazing food from Osaka, aptly called tenka no daidokoro (‘the country’s kitchen’), as well as Kyoto and Nara. Our food trip was based on what we wanted to try at that moment so it would usually go like this:
Mommy Bunny: “What do you want to eat?”
Daddy Bunny: “omurice”
Mommy Bunny: “Okay” *opens Google and searches for “omurice nearby”*
We dined at some hole in the wall restaurants, food court at the mall, and some apparently popular places during our week-long trip. We’ve barely just touched (or ate) the tip of the iceberg but here are some of the oishī food that we tried.
On our first night, we went to Osaka Mint Bureau for their Cherry Blossom viewing and had our first experience of a Cherry Blossom Festival. Food stalls (yatai) and game booths line up the streets around Osaka Mint Bureau and it was here where we had our first taste of Yakiniku. One stick costs ¥400 and we discovered that there were cheaper ones at ¥300 as you go further along the street. Nonetheless, the one we had was so soft and savory with its sweet sauce and perfectly grilled meat. What a great way to kick off our food trip!
For dinner, we ate more yakiniku at a Tanimachi Horumon Izakaya. We ordered a platter of mixed yakiniku (¥3,490) and had our fill of meat which readied us for the long walk back to our airbnb apartment.
I’ve seen this on one of Yuuko Araki’s Instagram post and have been wondering what they are. When we saw these cute chocolate-coated banana one sticks at the festival, we just had to try one. Yui didn’t bother with the funny shaped ones though and picked a Mickey Mouse shaped choco banana stick.
We revisited the Sakura Torinuke at Osaka Mint Bureau the next day for us to explore and enjoy the last day of the Cherry Blossoms viewing. We spent the entire morning admiring the sakura blooms so for lunch we just had a picnic near the food stalls and bought takoyaki (¥300 for 4 pieces), sausages, karaage and soda. Takoyaki are small dumplings made of a kind of like pancake batter, containing a small piece of octopus. It originated in Osaka and is said to be the best place to try them. I would say that it was definitely an experience to taste the Osaka takoyaki. =)
We had several different ramen during our stay and all of them tasted great. Probably the only restaurant that was included in my itinerary ever since I started planning was Ichiran. Family who’ve been to Japan recently swear that this is the best ramen so we just had to try it. There are two branches in Osaka and I chose Ichiran Umeda which turned out to be a good decision because apparently the line at Ichiran Dotonbori is crazier. We arrived before 5PM for an early dinner and there was no queue. The line was long though after we finished eating.
The overall experience was one for the books. When you enter the restaurant, you get to pick your order at a machine and get a ticket which you will give to the chef when you’re seated. Ichiran is famous for their individual stalls catering for solo diners. You may collapse the “wall” though if you want to chat with your companions, which we did.
You’re then given a paper to customize your ramen. Yui picked her own preference and even selected the 1/2 mild spicy red sauce (hiden no tare).
When the ramen was served, we all slurped and enjoyed what was probably our best meal in that trip. ❤
Friends and online blogs advice to “sneak in” some onigiri when going to Universal Studios Japan but we didn’t listen and ended up eating some minion pizza for lunch. It was a weird combination of pepperoni, corn and a minion cheese mochi but we’re here for the experience so we still enjoyed our overpriced theme park lunch. XD
We made up for our USJ lunch by having our stomachs filled at Dotonbori for dinner. We found Yasaimaki Gyukushi Ushigoya while looking for a hamburg place along Dotonbori. We got excited seeing their menu (and were hungry/hangry already) so we went to the 2nd floor where the restaurant entrance was. Apparently the 2nd floor was the Izakaya and there are tables for diners at the ground floor and also outside by the Dotonbori Canal where you can enjoy the view of many billboards.
Here we had yakiniku again because Yui just loves anything steak and the yakiniku we had here were so great that Yui had 2 servings of the Skirt Steak. We had Wagyu Steak and their Specialty Rib as well.
We also had Okonomiyaki in Ushigoya. Okonomiyaki is a type of Japanese savory pancake filled with cabbage and a topping of your choice. They said if you’re in Osaka, you need to try the Okonomiyaki, especially the ones in Dotonbori. The okonomiyaki we had was flavorful and went well with the yakiniku and Highball.
Suntory Kakubin Highball
I would have to thank Daddy Bunny for introducing me to this popular Japanese drink and rightly so. The highball is a simple whiskey and soda on ice and Suntory is the most popular which even has canned highball in combinis.
Kaiten sushi, or kaitenzushi is sushi that may be considered fast-food sushi, as opposed to sushi served at a traditional sushi restaurant. The sushi at kaitenzushi restaurants are on plates that sit on a rotating conveyor belt that runs through the restaurant and by every table and counter seat. Customers select the sushi that they want to eat as it passes by. We had our Kaitenzushi experience in Kyoto at Musashi Sushi. It was our most fun dinner as we get to enjoy picking from the conveyor as the sushi pass by.
On our day trip to Nara, we had lunch at C farm Curry near Kintetsu-Nara Station. Same with Ichiran, we ordered first at the ticket vending machine outside the restaurant then presented our ticket to the waitress upon seated. It was a small restaurant but they served really good curry. Daddy Bunny got the pork cutlet curry while Yui and I got Wagyu curry with Hamburg.
This is one of the spur of the moment cravings that we had and luckily we found one very good Omurice near the train station where were at. Located at the food court floor of OIOI Department Store in Kyoto, Hokkyokusei is said to be a well-known restaurant that specializes in omu-rice and has a lot of branches in malls throughout Osaka and Kyoto. Omurice is basically just rice wrapped in omelette. It is one of my comfort food though and was just happy to have tasted an original Japanese omurice.
The convenient stores in Japan, or combini, are simply amazing. You will never starve as there are a lot of options and pre-cooked food in their shelves. On our last night in Japan, we had a mini-combini birthday party at our airbnb where we had Yui blow her “cake” which is just bread topped with “Omedetou” candles we bought in Daiso. We had some cup noodles, onigiri and highball to complete our “party”.
Here’s a quick video summary of our Japan Food trip ^_^
We had a lot of fun exploring Japan and its amazing and extensive cuisine! You will never run out of options and the only problem you will probably have is deciding on where to eat. How about you, what’s your favorite food in Japan? 🙂