June 13, 2019
Speaking of Kansai’s specialties, you must check those! 11 of the highly recommended popular local gourmet restaurants!
Kansai region – There are many tourist attractions, making it a popular tourist destination that is comparable to the Kanto region centered on Tokyo. And there are many gourmets to try out. The deep sense of Kansai is difficult to feel, but through the gourmet in each prefecture, you will find deep Kansai. In this article, we will introduce 11 selections from luxurious gourmets to cheap gourmets.
1. 【Osaka Prefecture】 A treasure trove of Kansai gourmet! In Osaka, you should go here! [Uranamba Torame Yokocho]
There are many food stall villages all over the country. Here in Osaka, there is a food stall village “Uranamba Torame Yokocho” where there are plenty of gourmets originated from Osaka. It’s perfect for people visiting for sightseeing because there are famous restaurants gathered in this street while those are usually scattered all over the city of Osaka. You can save time and effort in searching for each restaurant.
There are 9 famous gourmet restaurants located in Torame Yokocho. You can eat a gourmet representative of Osaka such as deep-fried skewer, hormone, okonomiyaki and so on. As these restaurants care about food quality very much, they do not use even frozen hormones!
Also, as it is easy to move to other famous restaurants on the same floor, you can easily make restaurant hopping. You may encounter unexpected combinations of alcohol and specialties there.
Speaking of specialties, there is “Torame mikuji”, which is the ticket for the free drink, so why not try it to get a free drink? At lunchtime, Just 500 yen (one coin) lunch, which you can eat easily and cheaply, is also popular. There are also events held there. So in Torame Yokocho, you can enjoy gourmets not only by yourself but also in a group such as a couple and family. Let’s enjoy Kansai gourmet here!
Name: Uranamba Torame Yokocho
Address: Sennichimae 2-3-15, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
Time: Mon: 17:00~24:00, Tue~Thu/Sun・Holidays: 12:00~24:00, Fri・Sat・The day before holiday: 12:00~5:00 on next day
Access: 4 minutes walking from Nihombashi Station
Map: map to Uranamba Torame Yokocho
2. 【Osaka Prefecture】 A well-known restaurant [Tokuya] that inherits traditional Kansai whale gourmet to the present day
“Tokuya” is a restaurant that preserves the taste of tradition and still offers rare regional cuisine. This is the restaurant specialized in whale dishes and located in Osaka city. Whale meat was used to be eaten very often, but recently it has become a high-grade food and has not been sold in most supermarkets. This is a restaurant where you can eat whale in traditional hot pot dishes.
The store has an authentic Japanese style, and there are two types of tables – seating-on-the-floor style and seating-on-the-chair style. If there is a table seating-on-the-floor style, it is convenient for you to sit down with small children. Even elderly people or people using wheelchairs visit this restaurant, as they have a table of seating-on-the-chair style, it is possible to host them properly. A wide range of ages can enjoy the dishes here.
The whale meat covered by corn starch will have a crisp texture without losing its tastiness in the hot pot. Here’s the old-fashioned preparation taking a long time, so why not try the traditional whale dish “Harihari Hot Pot”, which has been preserved and inherited in Kansai.
Address: 2nd Floor of Kamikata Building, Sennichimae 1-7-11, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
Time: Tue~Fri: 16:00~22:00, Sat: 14:00~22:00, Sun: 14:00~21:00
Close: Monday, Year End & New Year
Access: 8 minutes walking from Namba Station of Midosuji subway line
Map: map to Tokuya
3. 【Kyoto Prefecture】 A great shop in the Kansai area that has been run since the Meiji era [Kintame]
Tea rice seat is located on the back side of the store, and you can eat Bubuduke, a representative pickle of Kyoto, while watching the small garden. It is a pickle shop that you would stroll around the streets of Kyoto and stop by when you’re a little hungry. When you come to Kansai, why not spend a luxurious time at this shop?
Address: Bontanbokocho 576, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Access: 5 minutes walking from the Senbon Imadegawa Bus Stop
Map: map to Kintame
4. 【Kyoto Pref.】 Full of Kyoto cuisine served in the Okuzashiki luxury ship of Kyoto [Hiroya]
Hiroya is the secret long-established restaurant known as Okuzashiki of Kyoto, and there you can eat Kyoto cuisine with relaxing while listening to the slow water flowing sound of Kibune river, the origin of Kamogawa. Here you can also stay as a inn with beautiful meals. You can enjoy a meal at the “Kawadoko” (above the water) where you can experience the wisdom of the people of Kyoto from the old days to make you feel cool in Kyoto during hot summer.
Of course, the served dishes are pure Japanese-style kaiseki dishes. Kaiseki dishes with plenty of local Kyoto vegetables and river fish are also perfect for couples to celebrate their anniversary.
Even if the season of the Kawadoko is over, you can enjoy the autumn leaves. Since Kifuna Shrine, Kyoto’s power spot known as the god of marriage, is also nearby, it’s a good idea to relax at Hiroya after finishing your visit there. In winter, there is also a Botan hot pot that uses boar meat, which is also popular as a game meal, and it’s perfect for cold winter in Kyoto. This is a shop you should stop by when visiting Kansai.
Address: Kibune-cho 56, Kurama, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Access: 40 minutes by car from Kyoto Station
Map: map to Hiroya
5. 【Hyogo Prefecture】[Aomori], the birthplace of [Soba Meshi], a cheap gourmet representing Kansai
Nowadays, everyone recognizes what “Soba Meshi” is when listening to its name. It is said the birthplace of Soba Meshi was teppanyaki restaurant named “Aomori” in Nagata-ku, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture. In the old days, the factory was located near the restaurant, and it is said that they used to eat hot yakisoba with cold rice for lunch.
As it was the time when microwave ovens were not installed in the office where you can eat lunch and you didn’t have a lunch box with a high heat retention function, you used to warm cold rice up on the iron plate and eat it. It seems that birth story of Soba Meshi. This taste may have not been born unless there is a culture of carbohydrate powder in Kansai.
During the weekdays, the restaurant is full of locals. When it comes to the weekend, Many tourists visit there because it is the birthplace of Soba Meshi. Soba Meshi cooked with using “bokkake”, which is made by simmering beef steaks, is also popular. Sweat and spicy simmering beef got soften after stewed is very good and delicious with rice and Yakisoba. Why don’t you try it out if you get tired of the general Soba Meshi?
Now even Soba Meshi contest is held, and Soba Meshi has become the food represents Nagata as a cheap gourmet. If you come to Kansai, why not eat Soba Meshi here, the origin of this cuisine?
Name: Okonomiyaki Aomori
Address: Kubo-cho 4-8-6, Nagata-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo
Time: 11:30～14:30 / 17:00～22:30
Access: 5 minutes walking from Shin-Nagata Station
Map: map to Okonomiyaki Aomori
6. 【Hyogo Prefecture】 A gourmet called in different name depending on the area in Kansai! Octopus dumplings [Imanaka] of Hyogo Prefecture
Akashi-yaki in Hyogo prefecture is called omelet in local. It is the same as octopus dumpling usually sold in Osaka, it is a food that uses flour and octopus made in Akashi. The biggest difference between octopus dumplings and Akashi-yaki is that Akashi-yaki is eaten with Japanese soup stock.
Among them, the most popular shop is “Akashi Tamago-yaki Imanaka” located in Misaki-cho, Akashi city. You can see the printing of “Tamago-yaki (omelet)” on the shop’s sign, and this is a long-established store renovated the first floor of a private house. The menu is omelet only, and they offer it in the old-fashioned style that 15 pieces of omelets are on the geta (Japanese traditional shoes). As this is a popular shop, sometimes I have to wait to buy, but it’s worth it.
If you want to eat traditional Akashi omelet with a smooth and solid taste, please drop by there.
Name: Akashi Tamago-yaki Imanaka
Address: Misaki-cho 26-5, Akashi-shi, Hyogo
Time: 10:00～20:00 (~18:00 on Wednesday)
Access: 17 minutes walking from Akashi station
Map: map to Akashi Tamago-yaki Imanaka
7. [Shiga Prefecture] One of the three major foods of Tsu that you can only taste locally! [Miidera Chikara-mochi]
“Miidera Chikara-mochi Main Branch” is a long-established shop founded in the 2nd year of Meiji period, and it is perfect to drop by when you want to rest your tired legs after the sightseeing. A popular product is a rice cake that has been seasoned with original kinako powder and honey. This specialty Miidera Chikara-mochi has a connection with Musashibo Benkei.
First of all, Miidera is the main temple of Tendaiji Monsyu, which actually exists in Otsu, and the real name is “Onjoji.” When it comes to the reason of this temple with a long history of more than a thousand years is related to Benkei and rice cake, there is an episode remains.
Benkei was known as a powerful monk. It seems that he attacked Miidera that had a bad relationship with Benkei with a monk of Mt. Hiei. As proof of that they went to the fight, they brought the bell of Miidera to Mt. Hiei. However, the bell rang because it wanted to go back home, and Benkei had no choice but returned the bell to Miidera.
After that, it seems that there were some people who started to do business, making Miidera Chikara-Mochi, with using the story that Benkei was powerful. Miidera Chikara-Mochi having such an episode doesn’t keep long, so it is impossible to send it to remote areas.
It is a product that you should come to this area and enjoy the rice cake with a soft texture. There is a cafe corner in the store, and you can eat rice cake with tea while looking at the small garden. This is a simple rice cake using kinako powder which is reviewed as good for the health. When you come to Kansai, why not eat it
Name: Miidera Chikara-mochi Main Branch
Address: Hamaohtsu 2-1-30, Ohtsu-shi, Shiga
Access: Near Shinohtsu Station
Map: map to Miidera Chikara-mochi Main Branch
8. [Shiga Prefecture] If you want to try Ohmi beef that Kansai is proud of in the whole country, [Matsukiya]
Speaking of Shiga Prefecture, Ohmi beef is famous with a history of nearly 400 years. “Matsukiya” is a long-established restaurant where you can eat the famous Ohmi beef right there. This Matsukiya is an old restaurant that is said to have made Ohmi beef famous as one of the three major Japanese beefs throughout the country.
At the main branch having a good atmosphere has a sho on the first floor, and two directly managed restaurants on the second and third floor. It can be used for both lunch and dinner. Why not sit in a seat with the iron plate where you can see the performance that the chef bakes with the iron plate?
There are many restaurants in Shiga prefecture where you can eat Ohmi beef, but it is understandable that many people choose here, considering the atmosphere of the established restaurant and the abundance of menus. In particular, unlike dinner, lunch is very cost effective, so it’s very understandable there are many repeaters. Loosen the purse string and try Ohmi beef, one of the finest gourmets in the area, when visiting Kansai.
Address: Karahashi-cho 14-17, Ohtsu-shi, Shiga
Access: 8 minutes walking from Ishiyama Station
Map: map to Matsukiya
9. 【Wakayama Prefecture】 Premium gourmet to be served at a long-established eel restaurant that has continued since the Taisho period [Eel cuisine Karoku]
Known as the World Heritage Site of Mt. Takano and Kumano Kodo, Wakayama Prefecture is a natural rich area surrounded by the sea and mountains. There are also popular power spots as tourist attractions, and scenic spots where you can see the amazing views. After visiting sightseeing spots, you can relax in the hot spring. You can enjoy plenty of local seafood and mountain delicacies at the hotel serving delicious meals.
Speaking of the recommended gourmet in Wakayama Prefecture, a long-established eel cuisine "Karoku” is the one near Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kamikura Shrine of Kumano Sanzan, known as a power spot.
Established in the 5th year of Taisho period, and they serve lunch and dinner in the restaurant. This restaurant has been operating for nearly 100 years with a focus on domestic eels. Of course, they use the secret sauce for eel. Eel slowly grilled with selected local Kishu Bincho charcoal is an excellent dish to eat at least once.
In addition to eel set meals and eel bowls, there is also a la carte menu such as grilled liver and omelet. As there is a lunch box, it is also nice for people who want to eat with relaxing at a hotel alone. If the weather is fine, it is recommended you to take a walk around Kumano Kodo and eat lunch box in a picnic. This is absolutely a gourmet spot that you can not miss in Kansai.
Name: Eel cuisine Karoku
Address: Motokajimachi 2-3-5, Shingu, Wakayama
Time: 11:00～15:00 / 17:00～21:00
Access: 12 minutes by car from Udono Station
Map: map to Eel cuisine Karoku
10. 【Mie Prefecture】 A gourmet that you definitely need to eat in Kansai sightseeing. Ise specialty [Akafuku]
Akafuku is the specialty of Ise City, Mie Prefecture, having 130 years of history since its establishment in the Meiji period. It is a famous gourmet that represents Mie Prefecture, not only as famous sweet among the sweet lovers but also as a souvenir bought by people who go for sightseeing such as Oise Mairi.
As written above, Akafuku was founded in the Meiji period, but in fact, it was established in the 4th year of the Hoei period (1707). The current Akafuku Main Store was renewed in 1810. Akafuku has built up a history with people who visit Ise Shrine. It is nice that the shop opens at the same timing of shrine opening time.
Not only at Akafuku Main Store, but also in some stores, you can eat Akafuku products right there. As Akafuku was used to eat as a meal not sweet like nowadays, chopsticks are also served when you eat in.
The tea that can be tasted with Akafuku is the pesticide-free Bancha tea from Ise. This tea is made by boiling water in three large reddish ovens in front of the Akafuku store. There is a history on its unique shape, so why not try to listen to that story while eating Akafuku at the main store?
Address: Ujinakanokiri-cho 26, Ise-shi, Mie
Access: 15 minutes by bus from Iseshi Station
Map: map to Akafuku
11.【Nara Prefecture】 Traditional local gourmet! Nara Persimmon Leaf Sushi “Sohonke Hirasoh Nara Store”
It was founded at the end of Edo. Hirasoh is a long-established shop of Persimmon Leaf Sushi. You can eat one of Oshizushi, which can retain the freshness of fish, that was born only in Nara Prefecture where there is no sea. The reason why sushi is wrapped in persimmon leaves is that the ingredient called tannin contained in persimmon leaves is useful for food preservation. It is a meal that you can feel the wisdom of people of the old times.
Nowadays it is produced in large quantities at factories etc. and can be seen widely even outside Nara Prefecture. In this main shop, you can also enjoy the handmade experience of a long-established persimmon leaf. As well as eating, you will be able to enjoy the depths of persimmon leaf and traditional Japanese food through the experiences that you actually make it by yourself.
The handmade experience takes about 45 minutes and requires a reservation. There is a gap in time depending on the shop, but it will be fine if you estimate around one hour. It may be good to use the event for parent and child during the summer vacation by local children’s association.
At Hirasoh, In addition to traditional Persimmon Leaf Sushi, there are Bar sushi and Ayu sushi, which also have a long history of about 150 years. Persimmon Leaf Sushi has slightly different tastes on leaves depending on the season. In order to taste this difference, it is nice to visit Nara every time the season changes. Please try it in Kansai.
Name: Hirasoh Nara Branch
Address: Imamikado-cho 30-1, Nara-shi, Nara
Time: (Sales) 10:00～20:30 (Eat in) 11:00～20:00
Access: 15 minutes from Nara Station
Map: map to Hirasoh Nara Branch
Let’s have a delicious meal in Kansai!
Osaka, which was once called “the kitchen of the world”, and Kyoto and Nara, which have a history as a thousand-year-old city. Wakayama Prefecture and Mie Prefecture, with Kumano Kodo, often referred to as the hometown of the Japanese heart. Shiga Prefecture is known to have the largest lake area in Japan. Hyogo Prefecture has a specialty of Kobe beef, famous around the world as much as everyone is aware of it. Only in the Kansai region with these seven prefectures having the outstanding characteristic, it is rich in variety from the well-established stores with a deep history to the exquisite gourmet using special products. Please enjoy those when visiting Kansai.