Oden reminds me of Yong Tau Fu back home and you can find oden even in convenient stores like 7 – eleven and Lawson in Japan but you wouldn’t find the same thing anywhere else though. Although Yong Tau Fu you pick the ingredients and then they are cooked in boiling water , followed by noodles or no noodles , soupy or dry to be added, this is with broth that had been boiled in for hours.
The difference with Oden and yong tau fu is the broth, while the broth for Oden is soy based, the broth for yong tau fu I think is ikan bilis and also the ingredients , while some is quite similar, you will noticed that Oden’s ingredients are not things we usually add with our yong tau fu.
Oden is usually eaten during the cooler months in Japan and in Osaka, you will find many Oden eateries. They are not only found inside a restaurant but they can be found in market places , out on the street in a street cart. I love the daikon most if I have Oden and then the fish cakes as well as eggs and tofu like things. I also like the meat kind of food that comes in the Oden , because they are so flavorful.
Oden are almost always reasonably priced but it also depends on where you eat and buy them from.
When a friend told me that we were going to Namba Parks when we were in Osaka, I thought we were going to see some park , like in flowers and such but nope, it is more like a mall than a park but they do have a lot of amusement park like stuff in Namba Parks that one can enjoy while you are there and a roof top garden that one can go relax.
Namba Parks is pretty new and one of their anchor store is Takashimaya. There are plenty of food outlet there as well as a Starbucks for those who need their western coffee fix.
The rooftop garden during night.
more lights – spectacular.
The Namba Parks is like a mall within a city itself. You have to visit if you are in Osaka.
Omicho Market in Osaka reminds me of the Tsukiji market in Tokyo but it’s not as huge. You can find not only fresh seafood here but also eateries just like in Tokyo’s Tsukiji market. Located only about 15 mins away from the JR Kanazawa Station, everyone shouldn’t miss visiting the Omicho market when you are in Osaka.
Sushi restaurants are just right across the market.
And yes, they do sell fruits as well. This market is quite busy till late in the afternoon.
When we were in Osaka many years ago, my Japanese friend told me that I had to try these sweet corn tempura because they are out of this world. Apparently, not every Japanese restaurant but yes, we loved it or most importantly I loved it. So whenever I am in Japan, I always asked if they have sweet corn tempura. Next time, when you are in Japan, don’t just look out for tempura, ask for sweet corn tempura.
For those who loved ramen – the Ippudo ramen is a must try when you are in Osaka but of course, you don’t have to be in Osaka to eat them since a friend pointed out that they do have a branch in New York City. Don’t be turned away by the milky white broth of this special ramen. Ippudo (Umeda) is located on the first floor of Kakudacho Building serving both Hakata Style ramen or Tonkotsu ramen.
While I’m out looking for factory outlets for branded goods, the spouse hunted down a factory outlet for designer watches. This watch factory in Hokkaido was busy at work when we arrived and they were really working with all kinds of machines with linear bearings as far as i can see. Designers watches manufactured here for big brand companies were selling the watches at only 30% of the original asking price because of a small flaw to the watches. If you are not an expert in watches, you will probably not notice the flaw at all but since perfection is the middle name for the Japanese, we were able to buy a few watches to bring home to re-sell. Pretty smart of us don’t you think?
The Osaka Castle Park is one location i always bring my friends and co-workers from abroad when I was living there for 6 months. Although it doesn’t really have the wow factor anymore because it is so modernized – it is still a must see for all visiting for the first time.
The view is spectacular and it’s a great walk around if nothing.
They have a very nice sculpture garden which is very beautiful.
A train for you to take if you are too tired to walk.
And a time capsule – which is interesting. The do put up shows and there are many food stalls for you to snack on if you are hungry. Don’t forget to go into the museum and the entrance fees for the Castle park is like 2000 yen. Visit during April for Sakura season.
If you want a real shinto experience – you need to be in Osaka at the Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine – it was a wonderful experience especially if you see a wedding at the shrine. Taking a train from Namba, we arrived at the shrine shortly after our breakfast – 10 minutes I think. The Sumiyoshi – taisha shrine is very old and retained all its original architecture – so I’ve been told and is one of the oldest shrine around Japan. The picture above is the home of one of the Empress – Empress Jingu I think.
The entrance to the shrine is thru’ this bridge and there were some shops selling some candies I remembered. Around the shrine were statues and monuments everywhere and those well-wisher corner where you can write down your wishes and place it there. Tourists as well as locals flock to the shrine during occasions like wedding and weekends. Don’t forget to check out the purification trough – near the entrance as well. Alot of walking and exploring to do – so please wear comfy clothing and shoes.
When i told folks that I was heading to Osaka many years ago, everyone talked about Endo sushi located near the Osaka Central Wholesale Market. They all claimed that it was cheap and good sushi and that i would loved the sushi there and they weren’t wrong – I long to go back to Osaka some day and have some of Endo sushi. The owner and sushi master – Mr Endo himself was friendly and came to greet us at the end of our meal and chatted up with us for a bit albeit his limited English. . Sushi at breakfast was recommended by friends but nope I wasn’t that crazy – I waited till late morning before going. The sushi were about 1000 yen for the chef recommendation – the Otoro was to die for – and you have to give it a try when you are there. Food was excellent – even the soup had tiny clams in them with lots of green onions shredded just the way i liked it.
Besides the market location – I hear that there is another one now located near a train station but I would still go back to the Central market for being the original Endo sushi.
If you are ever in Osaka – you have to visit one of the best soba place in Osaka. Naniwa Okina is well known and is located at 4-1-18 Nishitenma, Kitaku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 530-0047, Japan. The soba is freshly made and I was told that it was one rated to be a Michelin restaurant. Service was excellent as expected in any Japanese restaurant but be aware that there is no pictures to choose your food from – nor is there an English menu.