Our image of a city can be defined by a number of different things. For instance, many cities around the globe establish the way the world views them through glorious skylines or thriving cultural scenes. But there’s one key aspect to each city no traveler should ever forget to explore: the local food scene. We've already covered Tokyo food markets in another post, and this time we bring you the must-visit food markets in Osaka! Osaka’s food markets, especially, stand out compared to the rest of Japan (which is saying something because Japan is already a food lover’s paradise in its own right). In this article, we will present the five best food markets to taste the true essence of Osaka’s cuisine. Start your trip to Osaka the tasty way and let's dive into the local food scene!
Best Food Markets in Osaka
Here are some of the top food markets in Osaka!
- Kuromon Ichiba Market
- Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shotengai
- Shi-Tennoji Temple Market
- Ikuno Korea Town
- Ashiharabashi Upmarket
1. Kuromon Ichiba Market
A market that comes with the nickname “Osaka’s Kitchen” already sounds like a promising culinary experience. And behold: Kuromon Ichiba Market stays true to the historical and local undertones of this nickname. Located in Osaka’s Chuo Ward, the roots of Kuromon Ichiba Market can be traced back to the beginnings of the 19th century, when the fish trade was first introduced to the area. It established itself as one of the many markets in Osaka in the year 1902 and initially went by the name of Enmyoji Ichiba, which is directly linked to Enmyoji Temple, located in the vicinity. The black gate of this temple would soon inspire locals to refer to the market as “Kuromon Ichiba,” the “Black Gate Market.” Up to the present day, the market has developed into a 600-meter food lover’s paradise with around 170 shops mostly specializing in the preparation of fresh fish and meat.
Discover Kuromon Market, followed by a cooking class with a professional chef, during the Kuromon Market Food Tour with Sushi Making Experience!
2. Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shotengai
Now that you’ve gathered all the ingredients of your desires at Kuromon Ichiba Market, getting your very own set of professional kitchen tools over at Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shotengai is the next step to experience Osaka’s culinary world to its fullest extent! The 150-meter long shopping street is filled to the brim with stores presenting their fine collections of kitchen utensils, cookware, and restaurant supplies. But of course, you’ll also find food shops squished in between here and there. To make the whole experience of Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shotengai even more attractive, a festival is held in the arcade each year on October 9th. On this day, tools and utensils are on sale, making the area especially popular among students and young adults. To top off the experience of the festival, workshops and food demonstrations offer unforgettable insights into Osaka’s cuisine.
3. Shi-Tennoji Temple Market
With Shi-Tennoji Temple Market being the largest flea market in Osaka, this one stands out by name alone. And yes, this article is focused on food markets, but what might initially seem like a thriving flea market held on the ancient grounds of Shi-Tennoji Temple turns out to be a hidden gem of Osaka’s street food scene. While the flea market is bustling with people from all around town looking for the latest bargain or a few authentic souvenirs to take back overseas, Osaka’s legendary street food is being represented in the middle of all of it. This inclusion of specialties such as takoyaki and yakisoba into a traditional flea market makes perfect sense, as people tend to develop an appetite during their all-day shopping sprees. Shi-Tennoji Temple Market offers a typical image of Osaka’s local culture: busy market scenes accompanied by wondrous tastes and smells coming from the Japanese street food stalls.
4. Ikuno Korea Town
Are you up for a short escape to Korea during your days in Osaka? If your answer is yes, then be ready to experience Osaka’s long-running history with Korea face-to-face: Ikuno Korea Town is right around the corner! Located close to Tsuruhashi Station on Osaka’s JR Loop Line, Korea Town lets you experience Osaka from the Korean perspective. Be it in the terms of food, traditional clothing or pop culture, this market street takes eating in Osaka in a bold direction: Miyuki-dori, the 300-meter shopping street building the backbone of Korea Town, is lined with all sorts of shops, stalls, and restaurants providing you with all the best bits of Korean culture. Experience street food just as you would in Korea, but right in the middle of good old Osaka.
5. Ashiharabashi Upmarket
After the four markets in Osaka, what else could surprise you now? But Osaka’s always one step ahead and often catches us off guard with the ingenuity of the local community and cuisine. Ashiharabashi Upmarket comes with a hip name, many young faces, and an experience without the tourist crowds. This in- and outdoor market is held in the vicinity of JR Loop Line’s Ashiharabashi Station and lets local farmers and food business owners present their goods, many of which are in international fashion. Here, you’ll encounter a taste palette ranging from middle-eastern specialties to local produce right out of Osaka Prefecture, with around 80 stalls providing you this colorful variety. The market is held on the third Sunday of each month with opening times shifting between the seasons.
For centuries, Osaka has been perceived as a city of merchants and trade: Open, thriving and filled to the brim with both local and international culture. This very essence of Osaka is reflected in each of its markets, every one of them with its own unique atmosphere. These are the places where Osaka truly comes to life in its original spirit. Get to know the markets in Osaka and you’ll experience the true colors of this amazing city!