When we visit a new destination, we like to get away from the tourist areas and explore the places where the locals eat, drink and have fun. Generally, this works best when you have local guide to show you around.
While researching for our visit to Osaka, Japan, Mr. Jones found the Osaka Local Evening Tour led by guide Yuki Fujisawa of Inside Osaka walking tours.
We scheduled our tour for the evening of our first full day in Osaka. It was a busy Friday night when we met Yuki at the Temma train station, which is right next to the longest shopping street in Japan.
The Tenjinbashi-suji shopping street extends for more than 1.6 miles. The covered street is lined with continuous shops and places to eat.
As we walked with Yuri, we learned local insights, such as why this man is so popular, and why locals have to reserve their “bucket” of Kentucky Fried Chicken well in advance for Christmas Day.
While you can find takoyaki (octopus-filled snack balls) everywhere in Osaka, Yuki took us to a takoyaki stand which has been loved by locals for more than four generations.
Takoyaki are made from wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special molded pan. The batter contains diced octopus, tempura bits, pickled ginger, and green onion.
At this shop, the takoyaki are made slowly, with multiple layers of batter added as each ball is frequently turned.
The result is worth the wait. These takoyaki were light and delicious.
Next, Yuri took us to a crowded Izakaya (a Japanese-style standing pub) where we bonded with several locals while enjoying beer and sake.
This Izakaya is one of the oldest in Osaka, Japan, and is famous for its dashi broth (generally made with water, dried kelp and bonito fish flakes.)
We tried daikon radish and tofu that were long-simmered in the pub’s famous dashi broth. We had the most fun, however, conserving with the locals.
For our final stop, Yuki took us to one more dining establishment. We sampled a number of local foods like the skewers and omelet pictured above.
If you are visiting Osaka, Japan and want to try to have a more local, non-touristy experience, we highly recommend the Osaka Local Evening Tour with Yuki.
Have you been to Japan? What is your favorite local food?
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