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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Taste of Osaka

Osaka Castle Park
We arrived in Osaka during the peak of cherry blossom season. We flew Delta from Seattle to Osaka direct and enjoyed the Japanese dinner and sake in flight. It was the first week of April 2019 and our allergies were also peaking. Our favorite spot to view the cherry blossoms was at the Osaka castle and the surrounding parks. 
Sake on our flight to Osaka
In flight food presentation of steamed rice
Osaka Castle

We took the train to from KIX airport to Namba station, which we heard is the center of town. In search of a hotel, we didn’t find any major chains that we typically find in big cities around the world. However, they had a Red Roof Inn & Suites near Namba Station and the price was right (around $100/night, double occupancy). The rooms were clean and spacious for Japan! The free breakfast was strictly bananas, croissants, and coffee. Thankfully that’s all we wanted. It helped that the coffee machine was available 24/7 because we woke up extra early before most coffee shops were open (thanks, jet lag).
Red Roof Inn & Suites Osaka

Our first stop after checking in to our hotel was to visit the Kuromon market for fresh sushi. The prices were higher than expected but thankfully when we got there in the late afternoon they had already started marking down the prices by 50% to get rid of the daily supply. We love a sale, so we got two trays or nigiri. Each tray came with two pieces of toro, two scallops, two sweet shrimp, and two salmon with ikura. The original cost was ¥3000 (about $30) and it was marked down to ¥1500 (about $15) per tray. 
Kuromon market food options
Kuromon market sushi options
Kuromon market unagi/tamago

Kuromon market sushi options

Our $15 sushi plate

We continued on to the popular tourist area of Dotombori to see some food stalls, particularly takoyaki. Takoyaki is a ball of batter with cooked octopus pieces inside, and drizzled with mayo and sauces on top as well as bonito flakes. Sweet and savory. We tried it at a place called Kukuru. We’ve heard that some places make takoyaki well done and crispy, while others make it more wet and runny. Kukuru was the latter. I probably would’ve enjoyed it more well done, but regardless this was not my favorite snack. I did appreciate trying it fresh and hot though, and tasting the flavors of Osaka! As we walked through Dotombori there are endless options for food, especially crab. But beware, it’s super crowded!

Kukuru takoyaki stand

Kukuru takoyaki

Very runny takoyaki

One order of takoyaki from the recommended Kukuru


We sought out a place that serves a pile of uni for cheap, called Gokaitachizushi. We found it, not far from our hotel, and we ordered the plate of uni and ikura piled over a cucumber roll for just $17. 
A great deal for uni lovers, $17!

One more without ikura, more room for uni.

With Kobe being a neighbor to Osaka, we knew we’d want to try authentic wagyu beef. We found a steakhouse called Katamariniku Steak. We were allowed to pick out the steak we wanted by weight and they prepared it perfectly on a platter with a sweet note.