How to Spend a Delicious 72 Hours in Japan's Ultimate City for Foodies


We partnered with ANA (All Nippon Airways) for a deep dive into the food culture of Osaka, Japan. Here, you’ll find an ideal way to spend three days enjoying the city's iconic cuisine while taking in the sights and sounds of this bustling metropolis.


There's an old saying in Osaka: “Osaka wa kuidaore!” Loosely translated, it means "Osakans eat until they collapse." And once you step off a plane in Japan's third-largest city, you'll understand why: Nicknamed "Japan's kitchen," Osaka teems with incredible food.

Streetside grills fill the air with the sweet scent of the bounty of the nearby Pacific. Stalls sell bouquets of skewered meat alongside savory pancakes packed with pork and cabbage. High-end restaurants fire up tableside grills for the ultimate Kobe beef experience. Food lovers could spend an eternity in Osaka and never eat the same thing twice. Most of us don't have an eternity—but three days? That's doable. Here’s a quick guide to 72 hours of feasting in Osaka. 



You’re going to want to get an early start on your day's journey, but the fact that you’re headed for a train station doesn’t mean your options are limited. A short walk from Namba station is the historic Marufuku Cafe, one of the pinnacles of Japan’s kissaten—or tea-drinking—culture. A fixture of the city since the ’30s, the place has always had a hipness to it, with musicians flocking to sip coffee and eat fluffy pancakes, delicate breakfast sandwiches, and sweets amid the stained-glass windows and decorative wood interiors. Meals here are light, which is probably a good thing—once you return to Namba, you’re going to be on an odyssey of eating. 

Inevitably, a curious traveler will be drawn to Osaka Castle—it’s one of Japan’s most celebrated landmarks. Consider it Osaka’s version of Central Park, but with a massive, ancient castle in the center of a sprawling greenspace. And along with the history, it's packed with places where you can enjoy an incredible lunch, particularly restaurants that serve the city’s famed udon noodles, which are thick and slippery, made of wheat flour. At the popular Tokumasa Udon, heaping bowls of curry noodles bring the heat alongside generous tempura options. For a more intimate experience, keep an eye out for less crowded shops; places like Udon Ippuku are deeply satisfying without the wait.


There are hundreds of great izakayas—bars serving up small bites alongside sake, cocktails, and beer—in Osaka, and visiting at least one is an essential experience. For a higher-end take, the Kita-Shinchi district’s Binbiya boasts international attention to go along with its signature dishes. The seafood-focused small bites—including uni and plum-simmered sardines—make it an ideal place for a pre-dinner snack.

Osaka is located right on the ocean, which means it's home to some of the best sushi in Japan—and the best sushi in Japan is the best in the world. Here, stellar rolls and sashimi can be had in holes-in-the-wall and upscale restaurants alike. Many of the sushi spots are well trafficked, especially internationally lauded gems like Amano. Tucked into an alley and meticulously curated by its namesake chef, Amano features ingredients that come direct from the market, with immaculate plating, delicate flavors, and a great price point. Order omakase and watch in awe as dish after dish arrives to provide a feast for the eyes and the soul. Then head back to your hotel to sleep off an amazing day of eating.



If Osaka is Japan's culinary capital, the Kuromon Market might just be its beating heart. Here, chefs and home cooks gather the makings of the city's legendary meals, as they have for more than a century. The covered market has more than 150 vendors packed into one bustling place each morning, but it also sizzles—this is, after all, the “kitchen of Osaka,” and a great place to get a taste of the city’s iconic food all under one roof. 

For breakfast, follow your nose to uni, crab, oysters, and beautifully marbled beef, grilled before your eyes by the vendors. Enjoy giant scallops still steaming in their shells and the skewered baby octopus, followed by the city’s famous takoyaki fried octopus balls (the version at Kitashinchi Wakana comes between rice crackers). For the ultimate Japanese breakfast, try the kaisen-don, which is essentially a massive plate of ultra-fresh sashimi served on rice. Get there early to beat the crowds and enjoy a glimpse into food culture at its root. 

Slices of beef

There is no better way to get a different perspective on food than to tour Osaka’s Ikuno Korea Town, home to the largest Korean population in Japan. The shopping district is also an essential place to experience the melding of Korean and Japanese culture, one bite at a time. For a taste of the local wares, Kazuki offers up a massive smorgasbord, from Korean-style sushi to “tornado potatoes.” Kimchi shops and noodle shops are everywhere, and their aromas mingle with the sound of live music drifting through the air. This is a place where a visitor can tick dozens of bites off the “must-have” list in one spot.

For dinner, seek out some of the finest beef on the planet at one of Osaka’s iconic yakiniku restaurants. Like cousins to Korean BBQ, these take the region’s famed Kobe and wagyu beef varieties and grill them tableside, typically using cuts that have been aged for years to achieve a butter-like consistency that melts in your mouth. Yakiniku restaurants are everywhere in Osaka, and range from the super-upscale Nikusho Sakura near the Temmabashi Station to Matsushita near Kita Shinchi, where the owners butcher full-size cows to optimize flavor for the grill and shabu-shabu hotpot. Expect to emerge with a newfound appreciation of the heights of flavor that aged beef can reach.

Japanese breakfast


A traditional Japanese breakfast is a thing of beauty. Multicourse restaurant Nakanoshima Nadaman focuses on just that in Kita Ward, with a seasonal menu that sees a procession of fish, rice porridge, and other dishes paraded out during a sumptuous, one-of-a-kind early-morning feast. Even better—the restaurant is a stone's throw from the Osaka Science Museum, a city jewel that offers ample time to walk around and work up an appetite for lunch.

The Shinsaibashi-suji Arcade is one of the most stimulating and essential attractions in Osaka, and not just because it’s within walking distance of the Dōtonbori River, Namba Parks, and Amemura entertainment district. This buzzing shopping center is home to some of Osaka's most iconic imagery (look for the glowing Glico Man billboard) and the best restaurants and street-food vendors, where you can snag bites of ketchup-soaked omurice, takoyaki balls at Karayu, and heaping bowls of ramen. More crucially, it’s the best place to indulge in Osaka’s famous okonomiyaki, a signature dish consisting of a heaping, savory pancake packed with cabbage, seafood, and more. The most famous of the omoni—as okonomiyaki places are called—in the arcade might just be Okonomi Omoni, where the signature Omoni Yaki is packed with pork, scallops, shrimp, and squid, then topped with a fried egg. It's decadent, essential eating… a meal best chased by a long walk.


After a day of modern trappings, it's time for something traditional. For nearly 130 years, folks have enjoyed sukiyaki at the legendary Kitamura, located right in the Shinsaibashi-suji Arcade. Here, beautifully marbled prime beef comes to the table raw and is cooked hotpot-style before your eyes with a recipe of soy sauces, mirin, and sugar that hasn’t changed since 1881. Sit at a recessed table horigotatsu-style while everything is served sizzling, whether it’s sautéed in butter or submerged in that signature brothy bliss. In a city where food is constantly being modernized, this is a dining experience that has remained unforgettable by simply remaining true to what originally made it great. Walk it all off with a stroll along the Dōtonbori River, which—when illuminated by the arcade’s neon—resembles a fireworks show. It’s the perfect way to top off the best food vacation ever.

Is your stomach rumbling yet? Time to book your flight.

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