Japan’s distinct gastronomy has made it a foodie paradise. Known as the nation’s kitchen, Japan’s stunning second city, Osaka, is packed with restaurants, street food stalls and eateries serving up delicious well-known dishes and local classics. It is the ideal location to start your culinary journey. Osaka’s foodie reputation means locals have high standards when it comes to the quality of their food, but luckily this doesn’t come with a huge price tag.
A great way to learn about the local and national gastronomy as presented in Osaka is by taking a food tour. Below we’ve selected five of the best tours, taking into account various important factors like the value for money, the itinerary and number of tastings, and previous guest reviews.
FROM: $98/per person
In the early evening, head out to the Shinsekai district to start your culinary exploration of Osaka. This area combines modern and traditional flavours, and guests will sample dishes at locations selected by two local experts. Over three hours, you’ll visit authentic eateries, backstreet stalls, markets and bars guided by a local, discovering areas often missed by visitors. On the list will be a classic Izakaya restaurant, a battered octopus stall and a gyoza dumpling stop, as well as traditional Japanese restaurants; finishing at the night market for a local sweet treat. All the listed dishes, as well as two drinks, are included in the price, and group numbers are limited to ten participants for a more personal dining experience.
From $196/ per person
Kick-off your culinary tour of Osaka in the vibrant Doutonburi area; dive into hidden alleyways and discover the district’s unique spots. Meandering through the historical food streets of the city, you’ll feel a little more like a local as your guide introduces you to local snacks and traditional flavours. Included on the route are four food stops where you’ll sample the local favourite, Kushikatsu, visit a Michelin-starred street food stall, experience an Izakaya, or local pub, and finish with a tasty local street food dessert. A minimum of two people is required per booking, and be sure to inform your guide of any dietary requirements before departure.
From $56/ per person
Culture and history meet culinary delights in this three-hour evening tour. Your guide will showcase the lesser-known areas and stories of Osaka, delving into the realities of the city through its abandoned buildings, retro zone, red light district, gambling dens, and more. On the culinary side of things, guests will sample local dishes in two back-alley stalls, and for an additional price, you can head for dinner after the tour. This tour provides a very raw insight into Osaka, exposing the good, the bad, and everything in between, so it is recommended for the travellers who want to see an unfiltered side of the city.
From $161/ per person
Explore the streets of Osaka during this casual street food experience. Passing from one street food stand to another, you’ll sample classic dishes of octopus, dumplings and ramen, as well as unique regional flavours. Guided by a local, guests will discover how Osakans eat and live in the culinary capital of Japan. This is a great tour to take to discover different parts of the city; your guide will introduce you to the intricacies of the local metro and give tips on what else you can see, do and eat during your stay in Osaka.
From $117/ per person
This popular evening tour takes guests to the heart of Osaka’s local food scene. Starting at Tenjimbashisuji Shopping Street, guests will explore this historic area and learn about its past and contemporary culture. From here you’ll make a quick visit to Ogimachi Park before arriving at Pulala Tenma market place, where you’ll awaken your taste buds as you sample local dishes at two restaurants. The final restaurant is in a colourful neighbourhood from a lost era: Kyobashi Park. By catering to a maximum of six people, this experience is able to give a more personal touch. This tour is also good value for money: it includes dinner and alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, and for an additional cost you can add local, Kobe beef to your menu for the night!