One should never miss the chance to try the city’s soul food – okonomiyaki (savoury pancake). While there are several larger chains, I recommend Fukutaro. For a shabu-shabu dining experience, SHABU-TEI is another favourite and is well-known for its freshly made goma-tare (sesame dipping sauce). For breakfast, stop by Endo Sushi located at the Osaka central fish market. Try their Maze menu and sample five different types of sushi.
adee offers a vast assortment of artisanal gins from around the world. I recommend their signature cocktail, GT+1; one of their seasonal cocktails; or fine Krug Champagne. Bar CUE’S is another spot offering great cocktails. You can also visit Sake Bar M300, which has a designated shot counter where you can sample a range of delicious sake from all over the country.
Dotonbori is one of the most iconic tourist spots and is widely regarded as heaven for eating, shopping and taking photos. Alternatively, visit the HARUKAS 300 observation deck for unobstructed views of the city, or check out one of Japan’s most famous landmarks, Osaka Castle. Whisky lovers can head to Suntory Yamazaki Distillery to see how the famous whisky is made, while teetotallers should make a beeline for the CUPNOODLES MUSEUM, where you can create your very own cup noodles package.
Visit the basement of one of Osaka’s larger department stores such as Hankyu Department Store in Umeda or Takashimaya in Namba for Japanese snacks to take home as souvenirs. The shopping arcade Doguyasuji is lined with shops selling all sorts of local cookware and kitchen utensils. Another great place to pick up gifts is the quaint Nakazakicho neighbourhood.
There are various transport passes available for tourists: the Osaka Metro Pass is great for travelling within the city, while the Kansai Thru Pass is the best option for exploring neighbouring prefectures. Also, if you see a long queue outside a restaurant, check for a waiting list that’ll allow you to put your name down for a seat.
llustration by Studio Takeuma
Singapore Airlines flies to Osaka daily. To book a flight, visit singaporeair.com
This article was originally published in the May 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine