7 Ways To Experience Osaka, Japan's Capital of Food and Fun

Japanese chefs prepare takoyaki and other snack foods at a stall in Osaka, Japan.
Japanese chefs prepare 'takoyaki' and other snack foods at a stall in Osaka, Japan. | © Joshua Davenport / Alamy Stock Photo
Culture Trip Travel Team

Osaka is known for two things: food and fun. Here are seven classic experiences (with a twist) that will help you experience both.

Nicknamed ‘The Nation’s Kitchen’, Osaka is a city made by gluttons, for gluttons. It’s the birthplace of the takoyaki, for instance – balls of gently cooked octopus encased in a crunchy batter. It’s where okonomiyaki (a type of savoury pancake) was transformed from poverty food into a delicious expression of resourcefulness. And it’s a city that can summed up by one word: kuidore (to destroy oneself through food).

But it’s also a place with a penchant for comedy. It’s closely associated with a brand of comedy (involving a funny man and a foil) known as manzai – so much so that the regional Kansai dialect forms a crucial part of the show. It’s the type of place where locals will readily get trolleyed til two in the morning with a complete stranger, and where people laugh loudly and often.

Here’s a list of seven tours that will help you experience both sides to the city. Whether you’re looking for slapstick or kuidore, these handpicked experiences will help you find fun and food.

1.

Tours

This tour is a relaxing ride through the greener and cultural north side of Osaka city. Expect an authentic slice of city life, pedalling alongside Osakan locals, other travellers and your friendly, knowledgeable, bilingual guide.Tick off the famous sites and discover some lesser-known gems as we explain why we love Osaka and answer any questions you may have. Finally, get recommendations for the rest of your stay in town; we all have our favourite spots for coffee/beer/yakitori/sushi/and everything in between!This tour is 90% flat and can be completed by anyone who can ride a bike, so join us for a bit of exercise, some fresh air, and to take the weight off your feet!

2.

Tours

Combine the freedom of bike riding with the culinary delights of Japan’s most famous food city in a 3-hour foodie bike tour! Led by a knowledgable guide, you will ride the streets of South Osaka, exploring a local market, meeting some of the locals and sampling local bites along the way. Your English-speaking guide will help you learn more about the city and introduce you to a range of delicious foods including chijimi pancakes, grilled wagyu beef, kushikatsu skewers and delicious sushi!

3.

Tours

Andy, your half Japanese/half Australian tour guide, has extensive knowledge of the food, history and culture of the Osaka region after living in here for 12 years.He will offer you a very unique perspective where you will discover 3 authentic, delicious restaurants on this tour…also food from a hidden, backstreet stall & markets, walking through arcades and plazas rarely visited or known by foreigners. We will dive into some very traditional eateries.Also Andy strives to show you the real and deep Osaka, giving you an understanding of the inner workings of this amazing area, visiting some vintage, real architecture so rich in history while interacting with the locals.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

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