Osaka by Night

When the sun sets, Osaka’s Namba district comes alive with its bright and flashy neon signs. Famous chef turned writer / travel host Anthony Bourdain visited the same area back in 2006 for an episode of No Reservations.

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The food culture of Osaka is often associated with the term kuidaore which roughly translates to eating until you go bankrupt. Kuidaore has its roots in Osaka’s early history as a city of wealthy merchants who would not hesitate to spend money in pursuit of good food.

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If you want to experience the kuidaore culture, Dotonbori is your destination. A lively alleyway that runs parallel to the Dotonbori canal, the place is lined with plenty of restaurants offering good, affordable food.

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One popular Osaka specialty is okonomiyaki – a savory pancake topped with various ingredients which can range from meat to seafood to cheese (basically, anything goes!). I had mine at a restaurant called Chibo which was delicious… though personally I prefer the Hiroshima version that has a layer of noodles on top.

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While exploring all the side alleys, I came across this one that displayed some kawaii banners of Southeast Asian countries (not sure why though). It’s nice to see a reminder of Malaysia all this way from home 🙂

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Finally, this explosion of neon signs is an iconic scene of Dotonbori… especially the Glico running man on the right side of the photo. Glico is a Japanese confectionery company that you may know if you are a Pocky fan.

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And that’s a wrap for my Osaka travelogue. It was an interesting two days and I can see why Osaka is popular on the foreign tourist circuit. It has something to offer for every type of traveler whether you’re into food, adventure, culture, history or some family fun.

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12 thoughts on “Osaka by Night

  1. Wow! Yeah, I remember that episode where he went to Osaka. He was talking about the culture of “eat till you die” (?). I like the shot of the Glico man. Haha! I didn’t know they have a mascot although I like Pocky.

    The okonomiyaki one is awesome too, that’s one of the first things I knew about Japanese food proper (not counting sushi).

    Beautiful night shots mate! 🙂

        • We’re going in a month’s time! 🙂

          Finally the trip is going to happen, we’ve booked the ryokan and hotels too. Should be a lot of fun. We’re heading to Hokkaido though, for almost a week. I hear it’s really cold now due to the strange weather patterns.

  2. I spent several nights bathing under the neon lights at this Dotonbori and still have good vivid memories.
    Honestly, their Dotonbori’s square as you have photographed is way more exciting and happening than New York City’s Times Square!!!

      • Thanks for still checking by TM! As you said this place is really growing cob webs liao. I’ve been fine but busy with work. My assignment will complete soon so will have to finish my work before they ship my butt back to Singapore. I promise to catch up on my year long backlog soon!

  3. Just one more week till our trip! 🙂

    I’ve been browsing your archives and learning a little bit of Japanese (mostly just what sashimi and sushi ingredients are) to prepare for it.

      • No worries at all mate! 🙂

        Yeah, I love Japan! I really regret not coming earlier, this is my first time in Japan and to be honest, I loved it more than Europe, Australia or anywhere else. It’s possibly the best place in the world and I only discovered it now! I want to go back soon, this time to Tokyo or Osaka, a totally different region. Hokkaido seems quite friendly in general, not sure if Tokyo would be the same since it’s a large city so it’s probably like KL where people are too busy for each other.

        BTW, update your blog, I miss your beautiful photos.

  4. I went to eat at a ramen shop and asked for an English menu and the nice staff gave me a questionnaire to fill out.

    I was surprised to see a question asking where we were from coz Malaysia was on the list as a tickbox item. Haha.

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