When it comes to experiencing the Kansai region, most people think of Japanese cuisine and even going on a self-guided Osaka food tour.
In Osaka and Kyoto, there are tons of delicious foods and snacks to try, from okonomiyaki pancakes and Takoyaki octopus dumplings to matcha green tea desserts.
This article will introduce cuisine that you'll never forget, from traditional standard dishes to modern popular restaurants. You can fill up on a full three meals plus snacks for a budget of just 5,000 yen!
- Table of Contents
- Traveling between Osaka and Kyoto is easy
- 1. Breakfast ramen in Osaka!
- 2. Lunch: Savor some meat sushi in Kyoto
- 3. Snack: Matcha green tea desserts from a traditional Kyoto shop
- 4. Light Dinner: Jiyuken, Osaka's most famous curry
- 5. Late-night snack: Takoyaki octopus dumplings and okonomiyaki pancakes!
Traveling between Osaka and Kyoto is easy
Osaka, with its cheap and delicious cuisine and fun local atmosphere, and Kyoto, a cultural city with innumerable shrines and temples, are practically neighbors.
Using the regular JR train lines, you can travel from one city to the other in as little as 30 minutes. Plus, using Hankyu or Keihan railways provides easy access to popular sightseeing locations like Gion and Kawaramachi as well, so many people tour both cities on the same day.
We start our Osaka food tour right in Osaka!
1. Breakfast ramen in Osaka!
To start off, how about a visit to Kinryu Ramen? It’s a 24-hour ramen shop in Dotonbori, lively with tourists at all hours of the day and night. There are only two types of ramen on the menu: Ramen and Roast Pork Ramen (cha-shu men).
The ramen has a light pork bone broth and soy sauce soup that's not too strong or distinctive and that anyone will enjoy, so it's perfect for breakfast.
You can eat as much of the kimchi, chives, and garlic set out on the tables as you like. These versatile dishes can be eaten as-is or added to your ramen. For those who like strong flavors, try topping your ramen with the kimchi.
Buy your meal ticket at the ticket machine, hand it to an employee, and you will be given a card with a number on it. Once your ramen is ready, you go pick it up yourself and bring it back to your seat to eat. You'll feel an extra dose of the Japanese atmosphere by sitting on the tatami mats to while eating.
The main branch of this restaurant is located a five-minute walk from Osaka Metro Namba Station and Kintetsu Namba Station. You can't miss the bright-red walls and large dragon fixture. The restaurant is crowded at lunchtime, but it's relatively less busy in the mornings.
- Address 1-1-18 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka City, Osaka
- Phone Number 06-6211-4307
Business Hours: open 24-hours
Scheduled Closings: none
2. Lunch: Savor some meat sushi in Kyoto
We head now from Dotonbori, Osaka to Kawaramachi, Kyoto. Meat sushi specialty restaurant Hyakushokuya Niku-zushi Senka provides only 100 orders per day, not even keeping a freezer installed so that you can enjoy meat at its absolute freshest. The restaurant is dedicated to using no additives or preservatives and is loved by many people, adults to children alike.
The Meat Sushi Set Meal, using Japanese-grown beef, comes with 3 pieces of nigiri sushi, 3 gunkan sushi, and 3 maki sushi (sushi roll), plus warm somen noodles, making a very satisfying lunch set. Enjoy the harmony of the deliciously flavorful and healthy lean meat and the vinegared rice.
The restaurant's interior is spacious, so you can even bring large luggage inside with you. In addition to the main menu item, the SUSHI-BEEF set (Niku-zushi Teishoku), the Beef rice with soup stock set (Niku Chazuke Teishoku) (1,188 yen, tax included) is also recommended for those who like lighter tasting dishes.
The restaurant is located on the second floor of the building, but it's easy to find with the large poster at street level guiding you to the right place. It has convenient access to train stations, being a four-minute walk from Hankyu Kawaramachi Station and a seven-minute walk from Keihan Electric Railway Gion-shijo Station, so you can smoothly continue your sightseeing after you eat.
Hyakushokuya Niku-zushi Senka佰食屋 肉寿司専科
- Address 215 Kajiya-cho (Nishikikoji-dori Kogomachi-nishiiri) 2F, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto
- Phone Number 075-255-4567
Business Hours: 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM (last order) * Closed once items are sold out
Scheduled Closings: none
If you have some extra time, Hyakushokuya Niku-zushi Senka's sister restaurant, specializing in Japanese beef steak rice bowls, Hyakushokuya, is also recommended. Only 100 dishes are served per day, and as you might expect of a soft, juicy steak bowl for this price, it's so popular that numbered tickets are given out to make lines. This restaurant is located a five-minute walk away from Hankyu Saiin Station.
- Address Shuru Saiin 1F, 21 Saiinyakake-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto
- Phone Number 075-322-8500
Business Hours: 11:00 AM - 2:30 PM (last order) * Closed once items are sold out
Scheduled Closings: every Wednesday
3. Snack: Matcha green tea desserts from a traditional Kyoto shop
If you come to Kyoto, you'll definitely want to have some matcha desserts before you leave. So try the sweets at 1978-established Uji matcha tea shop Saryo Tsujiri, made with generous helpings of high-quality Uji matcha tea.
The Tsujiri Parfait consists of matcha ice cream, matcha jelly, red bean paste, chestnuts, and roasted green tea jelly toppings. The creamy ice cream and red bean paste come together to create delicious flavor with every bite. The Deluxe Tsujiri Parfait (1,383 yen, tax included), indulgently topped with rice dumplings and matcha whipped cream, is also popular.
The shop's predominantly wooden interior is full of Japanese ambience, decorated with scrolls and paintings. Relax and enjoy some matcha green tea sweets in the calm and quiet atmosphere.
The shop also has easy access to trains, a five-minute walk from Keihan Electric Railway's Gion-shijo Station. It is a convenient location for those sightseeing in Gion, so be sure to stop by to experience the deep flavor of Japanese tea.
Saryo Tsujiri茶寮 都路里
- Address 573-3 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto
- Phone Number 075-561-2257
Business Hours: 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM (last order 9:00 PM) * Weekends and national holidays, last order at 8:30 PM
Scheduled Closings: none
4. Light Dinner: Jiyuken, Osaka's most famous curry
Now, let's head from Kyoto back to Dotonbori, Osaka. Jiyuken's famous curry, served with the curry already mixed into the rice, is one of Osaka's most well-known foods.
The recipe hasn't changed since the time of the restaurant's establishment, characteristic for the mellow flavor of the curry made with simple onion and beef ingredients with broth mixed in. Adding the brown sauce when you eat adds a layer of delicious spiciness that will make you want to keep eating bite after bite.
Although the restaurant was burned down during World War II, today it has been meticulously reconstructed. The interior of the shop brings a feeling of nostalgia, calling to mind scenes of the Japan of the past.
The restaurant is easy to get to, a two-minute walk from Osaka Metro Namba Station and Kintetsu Namba Station, as well as a five-minute walk from Dotonbori. It's a great place to grab dinner, but it also opens at 11:30, so we recommend stopping by for lunch as well.
- Address 3-1-34 Namba, Chuo-ku, Osaka City, Osaka
- Phone Number 06-6631-5564
Business Hours: 11:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Scheduled Closings: every Monday (closed Tuesday when Monday falls on a national holiday)
5. Late-night snack: Takoyaki octopus dumplings and okonomiyaki pancakes!
At CREO-RU’s Dotonbori Branch, you can sample several famous Osakan foods at once, Takoyaki octopus dumplings in particular. It's the perfect spot for an Osaka food tour, and as the restaurant is open until midnight, so it's perfect for when you get hungry for a snack after dinner.
You can order takoyaki as take-out but eating in and enjoying some of the more unique takoyaki varieties, like the "truffle salt" flavor, along with some sake is also recommended. There is also a full menu of Japanese pub food available, like fluffy okonomiyaki pancakes grilled fresh on a teppan iron plate, as well as Japanese fried chicken and edamame.
On the shop's second floor, with seating for 70 people, you can eat takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and kushi-katsu skewers all in one place. The first floor has 70 table seats with teppan iron plates dedicated to cooking okonomiyaki and yakisoba fried noodles.
CREO-RU Dotonboriくれおーる 道頓堀店
- Address 1-6-4 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka City, Osaka
- Phone Number 06-6212-9195
Business Hours: 11:00 AM - Midnight (last order 11:15 PM)
Scheduled Closings: none
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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