Okonomiyaki in Osaka

See our gallery of photos tagged with “osaka”.

With our tight schedule, we only had one full day to explore Osaka, our first stop in Japan. We began our day by visiting the ever-popular “Mr. Donuts” chain for a quick donut, but decided to save our yen by skipping the restaurant’s three dollar coffee, and buying a one dollar hot canned coffee from a street-side vending machine instead. More on these later…

Typical Osaka side-street

Now caffeinated, we took the subway to Osaka-jo, the famous castle in the middle of the city and Japan’s most visited sight. Here we wandered the grounds with a few other tourists and school groups.


However, before we knew it, the US military police had stormed in with a recruiting bus.

Wait… what’s going on here?

After talking to one of the personnel, we learned that a TV drama was being filmed here. Too bad they didn’t need any extras!

After the castle, we wandered along the river and then went to “City Mall”, a large shopping mall nearby and headed for the restaurant floor at the top of the building. Here we found a nice sushi restaurant with a good lunch deal that included sushi, miso soup, and tempura.

After a brief break back at the hostel, we headed out to Dotombori, a popular entertainment district in Osaka. This neighborhood is packed with restaurants, bars, shops, and most strikingly, large neon signs:

Abby in front of the famous neon Glico sign

In this neighborhood, we headed to Dotombori Gokuraku Shotengai, (also known as the Osaka Food Theme Park) a restaurant complex recommended by our guidebook. This food center occupies the top three floors of a building in the center of the neighborhood, with an early-1900’s theme and over fifty restaurants, many featuring Osaka specialties. Here we found a restaurant serving okonomiyaki, one of these specialties, which is a large grilled meat and vegetables pancake. First cooked by the chef, it was then transferred to a grill in the middle of our table where we further cooked it to our liking.


By the time we finished the okonomiyaki, we were beat. We wandered the streets a little more, then headed back to our cozy hostel.