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Best Osaka Food Tour

The Best Osaka Food Tour By Area: Top 3

Osaka is referred to as “the nation’s kitchen,” and for good reason. Some of Japan’s iconic, most loved food originated in the second-largest Japanese city. Steeped in history and culinary expertise, it’s retained its reputation for hundreds of years as a foodie paradise. If you’re looking for the best Osaka food tour, this is definitely the article for you!

The best way to get started and discover the myriad of options is through Osaka food tours. The best food tours will take you on a food journey into deep Osaka, explaining the history and the mystery behind the local specialties.

We recently wrote a guide on the best Tokyo food tour as well, but this shortlist here is our recommendation for a great experience exploring Osakan food. These waking tours will journey through the food stalls and Japanese culture unique to this amazing city.

What is the Best Tour for Osaka Nightlife and Food in Dotonburi?

Dotonburi is a popular place for a Japan food tour

Nightlife Osaka Food Tour by Arigato Japan

Overview

A visit to Osaka isn’t complete without an adventure through the narrow streets and bars of Dotonburi. Often compared to Shibuya (Tokyo), this glowing and energetic part of Osaka shows off the icons of the city. The street runs on both sides of a canal and is famous for the Glico Running Man and other signage, as well as some of the best street food in the entire country. More than a tourist destination, the area draws the locals for the delicious food and food quality.

See one of Osaka’s most famous areas with a local guide. Starting from a local shrine, wind your way through the hidden alleys of the district. The extensive knowledge held by your guide will ensure you try the best street stalls and local drinks.

Food and drinks on the tour

This Osaka local foodie tour focuses on the street food stalls serving local snacks and popular dishes any Japanese person knows and loves. Some of the commonly offered foods you’ll taste on this tour are:

  • Kushikatsu – A breaded Japanese fried vegetable skewer. It differentiates itself from tempura by the strong batter and bread crumbs added. One of the great local foods and street foods, it originated in Osaka and is abundant within the city.
  • Takoyaki – A fried and battered ball of octopus and toppings similar to a fritter. The only Michelin-rated takoyaki stand in the world resides in Osaka. This city is particularly famous for the dish. Both the quality and variety of takoyaki are unrivaled.
  • Izakaya style food – Izakayas are Japanese food pubs and drinking establishments. They are a huge part of the Japanese nightlife. Both alcohol and a variety of foods are served. It’s possible to dine on many small plates for a reasonable price or order larger dishes, such as sukiyaki, to share with the table.
  • Nihonshu – Japanse rice wine. Nihonshu is a catch-all term for alcohol produced by fermenting rice. There are many varieties. Definitely try some with Osakan food!
  • Okonomiyaki – Japanese fried pancake. A delicious sauce mix of vegetables and batter to be found throughout Japan, but is particularly popular in Osaka.
  • Taiyaki – A battered Japanese sweet red bean dessert. Very traditional and a great way to wrap up the late-night food extravaganza.
Takoyaki is one of the most famous dishes in Osaka

The exact offerings on the tour depend on the season and trends. For example, since many travelers try okonomiyaki before the tour, and the tour guides desire to show their patrons new and exciting foods, the dish is not always included at the stops. If there is something you want to try that isn’t on the tour, ask your guide for recommendations.

Locations and Route

  • Important Osaka shrine
  • Glico Running Man in Dotonburi
  • Side streets
  • Beer Hall
  • Local food stalls and izakaya (local pub)

Tour Price and Booking

From $200 USD on Viator. 50% off for children.

You can also book directly from Arigato Japan, which runs this tour. Arigato Japan charges in yen. You may be able to save a bit of money depending on the exchange rate.

Rating

5 stars on Trip Advisor.

The reviews are quite high with many similar, positive comments. 124 of the 139 reviews gave the tour five stars on Trip Advisor. Only 5 individuals gave the tour less than a 4-star rating.

What people are saying: Pros and Cons

Here are what people are saying about the positives and negatives on Trip Advisor:

Pros:

  • Delicious food
  • Very knowledgeable and fun tour guides
  • Tried something new
  • Interesting locations

Cons:

  • No okonomiyaki on the tour
  • A little on the pricey side

Additional Info and FAQ

Japanese noodles are common izakaya food and popular street food in Japan
  • Is this tour family-friendly?
    • Yes! Although this tour involves an alcoholic beverage and a pub, these are not strictly adult establishments. All the places visited focus on food and are safe and welcoming to children.
  • I don’t drink alcohol. Are there other options available?
    • Yes! Soft drinks are available in pubs and restaurants on this tour.
  • Is this tour wheelchair accessible?
    • Unfortunately, the tour says it is not. Generally, the streets of Osaka in this area are flat and should not present a problem for a wheelchair. I’d recommend contacting the tour agency and seeing if they can accommodate a wheelchair.
  • Will the guide speak English?
    • Yes, the guide will speak in English. Arigato Japan hired fluent tour guides, usually those who studied abroad. Language will not be a problem.
  • Are there vegetarian options?
    • Not necessarily. Local Japanese food joints are often not conscious of vegetarian diets. While you may find an option, most of the food on the tour will feature fish or meat in the dish.
  • What is the size of the tour?
    • Maximum of 10 people.
  • Is this tour open to solo travelers?
    • Solo travelers should message ahead. The small tour allows (and encourages!) solo travelers to join groups that have an opening.
  • Is there a tour video?
    • If you’d like to see more, check out the YouTube video here (video in English).

What is the Best Market Tour in Osaka?

Kuromon Market Food Walking Tour in Osaka in Minami

Salmon sushi can be found on this Japan food tour in Kuromon Market

Overview

Kuromon Market began as a fish market a very long time ago. Through wars, fires, and other upheavals it’s persisted in Osaka. During the Edo period of Japan, it was a large commercial center and very much the nation’s kitchen.

This small tour in Osaka focuses on the Osaka cuisine and local history Kuromon Market represents. Of the food tastings, people who wish to try fresh seafood delicacies will find this tour to be something special. One of Kuromon’s specialties is blowfish. The very poisonous seafood requires skill and training to ensure the safety of guests, and Kuromon is the premier location to eat the rare food.

The market itself is lively and a spectacle with or without the food stops. The long, covered pathway is covered in signs and is lively and packed with shoppers at the 150 food stalls and shops. You’ll find the locals make up the majority of the crowd. They know the hidden gems among the shops and are there eating and savoring the great Japanese dishes along with the tourists. Your tour guide will make sure you can navigate the crowds and get the entire range of local specialties offered at the market.

Food and drinks on the tour

This is slightly different than other tours. The menu is not set in stone. Your guide will explain the local specialties and delicious dishes. You can choose from many foods. 4-5 tastings are included in the price, so bring cash to purchase more.

Some of the options available in the market are:

  • Sashimi
  • Takoyaki
  • Fried Skewers
  • Osakan fried food like kushikatsu
  • Fried octopus
  • Oden – A lightly stewed mixture containing vegetables, eggs, and fish cake.
  • Many kinds of fish, including blowfish
  • Seasonal fruit
  • Many kinds of dessert

Locations and Route

Before arriving at the market your guide will walk you through several locations.

  • Dotonbori
  • Namba Grand Kagetsu
  • Namba
  • And then arrive at Kuromon Market.

Tour Price and Booking

From $40.09 USD on Viator.

Rating

5 stars on Trip Advisor from 67 reviews.

The reviews are high. All ratings are either 4 or 5 stars (with the exception of 1 review).

What people are saying: Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Delicious food
  • Great and fun guide with excellent English
  • Learned lots of facts and history
  • Tried food for the first time
  • The guide took great pictures

Cons

  • Desired more information about the area and history

Check out our full guide of the best Kuromon Market tours.

The market in Kuromon gets pretty crowded with shoppers at the many food stalls

Additional Info and FAQ

  • Is this tour family-friendly?
    • Yes! Kids can enjoy the history and food along with everyone.
  • Is this tour wheelchair accessible?
    • The tour does not recommend wheelchairs on Viator.
  • Will the guide speak English?
    • Yes, the guide will speak in English.
  • Are there vegetarian options?
    • There will be some vegetarian options within the market. As your tour guide for recommendations.
  • What is the size of the tour?
    • Maximum of 5 people.
  • Is this tour open to solo travelers?
    • Yes. Travelers venturing on their own may join.

What is the Best Osakan Food Tour for Japanese drinks?

Osaka Food Tour (10 Delicious Dishes at 5 hidden Eateries)

Night street in the back alleys of a Japanese drinking and nightlife district

Overview

Osaka’s food culture isn’t complete without the combination of tasty food and drink. This tour seeks to give you both.

Many tours in Osaka focus on the Namba area, which Dotonburi is close to. However, there are a couple of other districts in the city that rival Osaka Namba. One of those gems is Shinsekai. Shinsekai contains many standing bars, izakayas, food, and some of the best Japan food tours.

Shinsekai was a neglected area after the war, but now hustles and bustles. One of the key tourist destinations, it’s where the iconic Tsutenkaku Tower and giant blowfish lantern hover among the glow of bars and restaurants. A perfect location for local specialties, it’s also a good place to find craft beer, deep-fried meat, and walking tours.

Not strictly a food tour or a drink tour, this one seeks to give you full exposure to the various kinds of local specialities as you discover Osaka. You’ll walk through the streets of Shinsekai to the rather unknown but delicious restaurants and bars. Your guide along the way will equip you with knowledge of the area and its history, and make plenty of recommendations for the best food.

After the food tour ends, explore more! Drink, eat, and visit the many bars in the area or one of the pachinko gambling dens.

Food and drinks on the tour

Try sake on this Japan food tour

This Osaka food tour includes 10 dishes over 5 food stops and 2 drinks. Some of the food is restaurant style and some street food. Examples of dishes likely to be included:

  • Gyoza (fried dumplings)
  • Oden
  • Kitsune Udon (A chewy thick noodle in dashi broth)
  • Takoyaki
  • 1 alcoholic drink
  • 1 non-alcoholic drink

As always with all our tours on this list, be sure to bring cash to purchase more to drink and food to eat.

Tour Price and Booking

From $82.97 on Viator.

Rating

5 stars from 322 reviews on Trip Advisor and 5 stars from 480 reviews on Viator.

There are only 20 reviews on Trip Advisor below a five-star rating, the majority of which are positive four-star reviews.

What people are saying: Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Knowledgeable and fun guide
  • Excellent service from the tour company
  • Unique locations
  • Delicious food
  • Informative
  • Lots of food, you will get full

Cons

  • Some food is not as high quality as in other areas
  • Too much food
  • The area is a little more run-down than others in Osaka

Additional Info and FAQ

  • Is this tour family-friendly?
    • Yes! There are alcoholic beverages and the area is a popular drinking spot. However, the establishments do not prohibit children from eating and drinking non-alcoholic drinks. It would not be possible to visit other bars after the tour with children, however.
  • I don’t drink alcohol. Are there other options available?
    • Yes! Both soft drinks and local non-alcoholic drinks will be available.
  • Is this tour wheelchair accessible?
    • Yes! This tour and its establishments are wheelchair accessible.
  • Will the guide speak English?
    • Yes. The guide will speak English well and explain in English.
  • Are there vegetarian options?
    • As with the majority of Japanese locations, vegetarian options can be difficult to come across. This tends to be especially true of food that’s part of the nightlife. Ask your guide for recommendations and see what you can find.
  • What is the size of the tour?
    • Maximum of 8 people.
  • Is this tour open to solo travelers?
    • Solo travelers may book and join the tour.

Summary

We hope you found the perfect nightlife Osaka food tour. The large city has an amazing amount of options and locations to visit. After one tour you should have a good idea of the kind of Osaka food that is your style.

Osaka exploration doesn’t stop with the food, though! From onsens to Universal Studios to the many sightseeing attractions and shopping options it would be easy to spend a week in the city without getting bored. After you’ve had your fill, we hope you keep exploring and learning about this wonderful part of Japan.

Jonathan Mcnamara

Jonathan is a veteran of the Japan and Korean expat life. He lived in Japan and Korea for almost 10 years, and speaks Korean and Japanese. A blogger, a writer, website maker who's had his share of relationships while living abroad, he's now turned his attention to helping others navigate traveling, living, working, and relationships in Japan.

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