Wondering about what to do and what to eat on your first visit to Osaka? I’m sure you already have Universal Studios Japan and Osaka Castle on your to-do list, but make sure to check out this list as well!
1. Negiyaki Yamamoto Umeda-EST Location– This is an okonomiyaki and teppan-yaki restaurant that has been around for 50 years, and I recommend this location because it’s located near Umeda Station, and they cook on the counter right in front of you! There are only 11 counter seats, so you may have to wait in line, but I think it is worth it.
HOURS: 11:30- 22:00
In this map, I pointed out EST, which is the building that this restaurant is in. The restaurant is facing the street, so it should be easy to find if you have your back to HEP Five.
2. HEP Five is a shopping mall across from EST. Whenever I go to Hep Five, I take the red ferris wheel that is on top of the building. It’s nice to see the night view from there, and you can also plug in your phone or mp3 player to play your favorite music during the ride.
3. Tsurutontan Soemoncho Location– This is a famous udon chain restaurant that Japanese celebrities frequently visit. It is known for their huge udon bowls, cream udon, and curry udon. I also love the atmosphere of this store.
I recommend going to the Soemoncho Location because it is next to Dotonbori, which is a neighborhood that you should definitely visit.
This map shows you how to walk from the famous Glico Neon to the Tsurutontan restaurant. Or you can start at Nipponbashi Station exit 2. Walk for 6 minutes and it’ll be on your left.
4. Dotonbori– This is a neighborhood that is known for its huge and colorful store signs. You can get most souvenirs and enjoy many different types of Takoyaki here. This neighborhood is on the northern side of Nipponbashi Station and Nanba Station. From Nanba Station, walk outside exit 14 and make a left. Make a left at the next corner, and walk straight until you see a stream.
If you go on the southern side of Nipponbashi Station, you could also find a lot of good food in the Kuromon Market.
5.Shinsekai– This is another famous neighborhood with many restaurants, but with a more retro feel. They have the Tsutenkaku Tower, and the neighborhood mascot character– Billiken. The Billiken statues are all over the neighborhood so it’s fun to look for hidden ones. In this neighborhood, I recommend eating some Kushikatsu (another Osaka specialty food).
The closest station to this neighborhood would be Ebisucho Station. Walk straight from exit 3.
The Billiken, which is “the god of things as they ought to be,” was created by an illustrator from Missouri, and it is also a mascot for some schools and sports teams.
6. Ganso Kushikatsu Daruma– This is another big chain restaurant, and Shinsekai is where it started. I think I saw one in Hapjeong, Seoul, as well. This location has only 12 counter seats, so you’ll probably have to wait in line.
Choose your skewers and have them deep-fried for you. While you wait for your skewers, enjoy some raw cabbage as a side. Prepare your stomach for delicious crunchy fried food! Don’t forget to listen to the old man who says, “No double dipping!”
There are English menus available for foreigners. I recommend the beef tongue and lotus root. If you’re not sure about what to get, just order from the set menu!
HOURS: 11:00 – 21:00
On the subway, you first have to get to Ebisucho Station. Walk out of exit 3 towards the Tsutenkaku tower. From Tsutenkaku, it is a 1-2 minute walk.
7. Shinsekai Oyaji no Kushiya– If Ganso Kushikatsu Daruma is too busy, maybe you can try a little more modernized Kushikatsu restaurant. I haven’t been to this location yet, but I hear that there is an actual car right in the middle of the restaurant, which also serves as a seat! The restaurant has a friendly video that gives you directions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXeVrgQcOeM
Hope you enjoy your stay in Osaka ^_^