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

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.

ToursKansai Soul Private Evening Tour Including Japanese snacks
From $206 per person
3 hours 30 minutes
Often missed on many Japan itineraries, Osaka is more than just a city of commerce — it is the Kansai region’s vibrant and eclectic heart and soul. This private tour takes you by buzzing markets, through a lantern-lit labyrinth, and into the districts famed throughout Japan for their culinary variety and unforgettable atmosphere. Explore the city with your own personal guide on a private tour just for you.
ToursOsaka in a Nutshell: Three hour bike tour
From $61 per person
3 to 4 hours
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!
ToursOsaka private 3hours food tour: street food in Namba district
From $149 per person
3 hours
You’ll join one of our hosts to hit the streets and eat your way around the city’s street food stalls. You’ll explore the Namba district as well as the famous Dotonbori area, Osaka’s renowned destination for all things food, wandering through tiny lantern-lit alleyways and neon-lit streets to discover where the best local delicacies are cooked up. You’ll be exposed to regional and traditional Japanese dishes as your host takes you to spots where you can learn all about their origins and local ingredients.

Within 24 hours after booking you'll receive a short questionnaire about your personality and interests. Based on your responses, you'll be assigned a like-minded host. Your host will communicate with you directly to suggest an itinerary to help you discover what makes the city unique. You will also agree on a meeting time and place. Your itinerary is flexible, so during the experience, you can always change your mind about what you want to do.
ToursEat, Drink, Cycle: Osaka Food and Bike Tour
From $91 per person
3 to 4 hours
5 (1)
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!
ToursDeep Osaka Food Tours
From $72 per person
3 hours
5 (1)
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.

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