Osaka Trip December 2023 Reviews



We visited Osaka, Japan in December 2023 and made a list of interesting finds.  Our goals are to eat local and seek out authentic experiences.  Sushi, udon, soba, yakitori, oden, whatever! Yelp and Trip Advisor were not helpful in spotting places to eat at, only Google reviews were useful. We did not seek our Michelin rated spots.

Osaka Trip December 2023 Reviews

The exchange rate was US$1 = 143¥, very favorable.  Many meals cost 50% less than in San Francisco, with BETTER quality too!

Where to buy a SIM Card at the Osaka Kansai Airport (KIX)

After you clear customs, you will see vending machines down the hall in an area titled: Wi-Fi Rental Box SIM Card

Osaka Japan Dec 2023 Airport sim card vending machine

We bought a 5 day Unlimited for Y2600. We had to adjust the APN on our router and then all was fine.


Osaka Japan Dec 2023 (5)



Osaka, 大阪府

Kita Ward

Menbo is a small family run restaurant just a couple blocks from our Hotel: Imperial Osaka hotel.

Prices are extremely low and the quality decent. A set menu with curry, udon rice and salad was about US$8 or 1000¥. 8/10

Sukiyaki beef udon was also very good. 8/10


Overall –  Very Good – 80/100

Food – Very Good

Decor – Good

Service – Good

Value – Excellent


Would we come back – Yes



Osaka Japan Dec 2023 (54)

Yakiniku Toraji

Hilton Plaza West

〒530-0001 Osaka, Kita Ward, Umeda, 2 Chome−2−2 ヒルトンプラザウエスト B2F

06 4797 0029


A Yakiniku restaurant in the busy Kita area of Osaka, near Osaka train station.  The restaurant is located near Louis Vutton, Downstairs in Hilton B/2 floor.  We were shopping nearby and decided to find a sit down place close by. They have other locations including one at a basement food floor.

Next-door are some top restaurants in French, Kaisei and Unagi cuisine.


Individual private rooms for dining! Service after you hit a button on the table. Nice interior and very good service. Get Google Translate ready to communicate.

Easy online reservation on the restaurant’s Google page.

Toraji is an upscale nice restaurant with great value lunch menu from 2200Y = US$16! You cook the meats yourself, but they have an extensive a la carte menu with many Korean dishes.

Mojito (800¥) is slightly sweet, very weak. 6/10

Matcha sochu cocktail (800¥) is also very weak. 6/10

Plum wine (850¥) did not even taste like alcohol. 6/10

Premium Toraji yakiniku lunch set (7000¥ = $50) has 3 types of meat, beef tartare, piece of beef sushi and more. Grilled meats are high-quality, side dishes are very good. You get to select rice dish – we selected bibimbap from the list of 7. They give you dessert, coffee and milk popsicle. Meat quantity is not high, so anticipate filling up on starch. 9/10

Oxtail porridge welsh garlic Porridge (1150¥) is a lighter dish to compliment the meats. Includes popsicle and tea at the end. 7/10

Mixed minced beef Noodles (1350¥) is a huge bowl, hard to finish. Well done. Includes popsicle and tea at the end. 8/10


Overall –  Very Good – 84/100

Food – Very Good

Decor – Very Good

Service – Very Good

Value – Excellent


Would we come back – Yes



Hakata Kushiyaki Battenyokato

1 Chome-5-2 Shinsaibashisuji

Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0085, Japan


This is a Kushiyaki restaurant – charcoal grilled skewer restaurant just north of the crazy busy Dotonbori district.  We had enough of the crowds and decided to walk north and find a quieter place for dinner. There were sketchy looking bars and some spots with hawkers in front.

One glance through the window and it looked hospitable without being overwhelming.  We’d never been to one of these spots, so it was a great experience.

Hakata has one long counter were you sit and watch the staff.  The place was smokey from the grill and allows smoking. We left smelling like smoke.

Each person must buy a drink and you must pay for the cabbage they bring to you.  The cook places cooked skewers on top of the cabbage.

They do have an English and Chinese menu. Not a good sign, but the experience was pretty authentic. All other patrons were Japanese.

Price cannot be beat.  Skewers cost about US$1.50, which is insane. Almost 8x-10x cheaper than at home.

Quality was far higher than in San Francisco Bay Area spots we have around San Mateo.


Food Review:

We ordered about 10 different skewers. (180¥-240¥) Standouts: Pork Belly, Corn, Shitake mushroom, Y shaped cartilage, Juicy neck meat.

Cold Soba (680¥) took a while to come and was fine but different from everything else.


Overall –  Very Good – 84/100

Food – Very Good

Decor – Good

Service – Good

Value – Excellent


Would we come back – Yes



Takasho Japanese Bread

Multiple locations in Osaka


We were walking in the Osaka Densen shopping hall and saw this shop.

Their Yudane bread is unique for slightly sweet and fluffy bread, sort of Taiwanese style, but its made with no eggs.  (1 half loaf 550¥) – They sell out each day, so go early.  Better quality than Breadbelly in San Francisco.


Their Azuki red bean jam is also quite good, not too sweet. Be sure to buy a jar.



Osaka Japan Dec 2023 (113)

Kuromon Ichiba Market

Kuromon Ichiba Market in just north of the geeky den den anime heaven street. It features groceries, seafood stalls, meat stalls and more.  Some cater to locals, others to tourists.

There are opposing side sea food stalls near the north end that have lots of fresh looking seafood.  Pick it up with tongs, pay, and they’ll cook it up for you. Chairs and tables are in the back.

We tried a huge prawn 3000¥ (It was half cooked then finished on the grill) and some scallops on a skewer. 1000¥ All Fresh and good. 8/10

Also tried the A3/A4 beef skewer (1000¥) at another shop.  Fantastic. 10/10 Look for good looking meat that is not dried out. The same shop had some candied fruit on a stick. Also fantastic!

Come before 3pm as most stalls close up.  We got some sushi assortments at 50% off during a store’s closing sale!



Osaka Japan Dec 2023 (132)

Namiyoshian – aka Sweets Marche

EKI Marche crost Osaka

Shop F06

Sweets Marche is a Japanese Confectionery mochi stand in the EKI Marche Osaka street level.  We went back twice to buy their awesome mochi. The strawberry (486¥) is 10/10.  Matcha red bean is also great. This food is clearly on another level compared to San Francisco’s now closed Benkyodo.



Osaka Japan Dec 2023 (32)

Kaitensushi GANKO

EKI Marche crost Osaka

Shop R06

Kaitensushi GANKO is a chain of conveyor-belt sushi bar restaurants. We dined at the location inside the EKI Marche food court at Osaka Station.  It was late afternoon, so not much food was circulating around, just cards showing pictures.  Most of our ordering was via the table top tablet.

Its pretty shocking that the sushi quality here is as good or better than your better than average sushi restaurant, such as Sushi Sam in San Mateo, CA. Prices were half that of back home, due to the favorable exchange rates and less inflation.

From this Osaka trip, it was pretty clear you do not have to try hard to find really good Japanese food. (Skip 7-11 🙂



Ginza Kagari

Lucua Osaka Barchica B2F

3-1-3 Umeda, Kita-Ku Lucua Osaka

+81 6-6151-2541


Another find on the B2 floor of the Lucua building near Osaka station.  Ramen and tempura are their specialties.


Grilled OUMI Beef udon noodles with tempura (1480¥) had some nice tasting thinly sliced beef topping their noodles.  Could have used more noodles! Nice broth. 8.5/10

Noodles and Tempura (1260¥) comes with a 5 pieces of tempura, great value for the price you pay. 8.5/10

Overall –  Very Good – 82/100

Food – Very Good

Decor – Good

Service – Good

Value – Excellent


Would we come back – Yes


Osaka Japan Dec 2023 (44)



Hankyu Osaka-Umeda Station B2 Floor North Area

Another food vendor in the basement food court below Hakyu Station.  The pictures looked good, so why not!

Ramen (850¥) was so good. Great broth and al dente noodles – no eggs. Tender thinly slicked meat. Could have ordred another bowl. 9/10

Overall –  Very Good – 85/100

Food – Very Good

Decor – Good

Service – Good

Value – Excellent


Would we come back – Yes


〒542-0081 Osaka, Chuo Ward, Minamisenba, 4 Chome−9−3 東新ビル 2F
+81 6-4708-3616



Osaka Japan Dec 2023 (100)

WAD is an artsy cafe in the cool part of Osaka.  You can order various teas as well as shaved ice. We tried 3 different ones and found them fantastic. The shaved ice is a bit messy, but fun.

Low key vibe makes it a great place to relax after battling crowds.

Restaurant Map:

Overall Rating: (Very Good 2.5)

Come Back?

Food Rating: (Very Good)
Service Rating: (Good)
Atmosphere Rating: (Good)
Value Rating: (Extraordinary)

Guide: 0 = poor, 1 = Below/Average, 2 = Good, 2.5 = Very Good, 3 = Excellent , 4 = Extraordinary

Alcohol:Beer, Wine

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