Many first-time Japan visitors will head straight to Tokyo and Kyoto, giving Osaka a wide berth – big mistake. This is a city that shows a completely different version of Japan – and there’s no better way to discover the nation’s eclectic side than by having these six unique experiences.
Osakans are known in Japan for being bold and brash. So much so that the local Kansai dialect has a term for it: itcho kami is the act of butting into someone’s business, whether it’s welcome or not. But it more generally describes the sense of community for which this warm and welcoming city is so well known.
The following experiences will help you delve beneath the surface of the city, bringing you closer to locals. From home-cooking with a mom to sharpening knives with an artisan, here are six uniquely Osakan experiences.
Join your host Yoshiko in her kitchen and learn to prepare four or five Japanese home-style dishes from scratch. Yoshiko will have you start by showing you how to make dashi stock, the Japanese foundation that most dishes are based on. You will learn how to use dashi instead of water when preparing Japanese cuisine to bring out the umami flavor of each dish. You can expect the cooking portion of your experience to last about an hour before you sit down to enjoy the meal you helped prepare. Yoshiko will also share printed recipes with you, so you can recreate the dishes you learned at home. This is a wonderful way to get a glimpse into the life of a Japanese local and experience the country’s culture and cuisine first-handPlease note: Guests can bring their own alcohol to enjoy with the meal.
Discover the ghetto, retro zone, yakuza, red-light district, illegal gambling dens and the intriguing neighbourhood alleys with Andy, your half-Japanese half-Australian tour guide.During the tour you’ll do some taste testing at two different street stalls. Then after we finish exploring, you’ll have the option to go to a local, traditional family restaurant.We strive to show you the authentic Osaka on this night tour, where you get a real and deep understanding of the inner workings of this amazing city visiting some architecture which is steeped in history & some run-down, derelict areas too… not what Osaka Tourism wants you to see!Get an inside look with Andy, who has extensive knowledge of the Osaka region and can answer all your queries on this walking tour.
This walking tour is about four hours in total, away from the hustle and bustle of the big city of Osaka. You can enjoy the seasonal nature while hiking. It is about 30 minutes from Osaka by the train on the Hankyu line. See Mount Minoo, a wide monumental park, and Mino Park, which has a beautiful waterfall that is known as one of the best waterfalls in Japan. Around the waterfall you can enjoy various sceneries throughout the four seasons from the fresh green in spring, up until the beautiful autumn leaves in autumn.Minoo Park was designated as a quasi-national park on December 11, 1967 as one of the Meiji 100th year commemorative project. A treasure trove of natural habitats of around 1,300 kinds of plants, 3,500 insects, a lot of wild birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fishes, etc surround the park. The Japanese salamander, the world’s largest amphibian, also inhabits the mountain area of Minoo.
Try Osaka’s “must-eat” street food, takoyaki: It’s a small rounded ball snack made of wheat flour-based batter with a piece of octopus inside. This takoyaki is originally from Osaka and that’s why we want you to try the best one.Have a taste of local favourite foods: This tour will be an excellent option for you if you would like to try different kinds of Japanese food in one place. The Kuromon Market has a history of more than 100 years and has more than 130 shops and stalls.Find unique Japanese kitchenware and tableware souvenirs: We’ll head to a street named Doguyasuji street. The street has contributed to ‘The Kitchen of the Nation’ by offering various kitchenware, tableware and cooking equipment not only for individuals, but also for professionals.Magical Trip is a local tour operator with the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence that offers various types of small-group tours throughout Japan.