After such an incredible food experience in Korea, we lowered our expectations in Japan where prices are much higher and street-food regulations are far more strict. That being said, we still optimized our food experiences as much as possible and in the end we were not disappointed!!
Udon Curry Bowl at Tsurutontan daikokucho in Osaka - We arrived late on our first day so we tried to find something nearby and ended up at a small restaurant that served a lovely Udon Curry Bowl with tempura chicken.
Okonomiyaki at Chibo in Osaka - Looking at Yelp, we saw a lot of places serving Okonomiyaki, a savoury Jamanese "pizza" or "pancake" with a variety of different ingredients. We discovered Chibo where the servers were really fun and lively. It was such a great atmosphere and food experience that we went there 3 times!
Japanese Curry at a Vending Machine Restaurant in Osaka - As we walked the streets of Japan, we starting noticing vending machines at the entrance of a few restaurants. It turns out that the vending machine is used to order your meal! You simply order and pay through the machine, then find a table and the server brings the food out to you. The food wasn't amazing, but it was suprisingly decent and affordable.
Okonomiyaki at Fukutaro in Osaka - We really enjoyed okonomiyaki at Chibo so we decided to try it at another nearby place that always had a huge lineup outside… It was a bit more of a mom&pop shop with a more traditional and authentic feel, however, in the end, we preferred the food and friendliness at Chibo :)
Tako Yaki (octopus balls) at Tenjimbashisuji in Osaka. Jen tried these the last time she was in Japan and thought they tasted like fish-food.. We thought we give it another try: she still doesn't really like them and still refers to them as Tako Yucky.
Fluffy Japanse Cheesecake at Rikuro in Osaka - Japanese cheese cake if slightly different than what we're used to in Canada with its fluffier soufflé-like consistency. If you like light fluffy cheesecake, definitely go here! It's worth the wait, especially if you get one hot out of the oven :)
Sushi at Ganko Sanjo Honten - Since we were in Japan, we had to go for sushi! We went to Ganko twice, both in Osaka and Kyoto. It's a common practice in Japan to have many plastic representations of the menu items for people to pick from, and the one at Ganko was particularly elaborate. We really enjoyed sitting at the sushi bar watching the sushi chefs work their magic!
Gyoza at Chao Chao in Kyoto: "The "best" assorted flavours of Gyoza in Kyoto". With a motto like that and a continuous line up, how could we possibly say no! ;) Chao Chao is a tiny place that serves all sorts and flavours of Japanese dumplings. The servers are really energetic and funny - yet another place well worth the big lineup!
Ramen at Hakata Ippudo in Kyoto - Ramen is a traditional Japanese noodle soup. We found this place while visiting Kyoto. It was delicious and the most memorable part was the amazingly seasoned soft-boiled egg.
Assorted Bento Box from Daimaru in Kyoto - An expensive department store in Kyoto that's fun to explore, especially the assorted food markets in the basement.
Last but not least, the many typical Japanese hot and cold beverages from the various vending machines scattered anywhere and everywhere!