Chinitoeats: Food Trip – 17 FOODS that you should not miss when in Kansai Region, Japan

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If you happen to plan a trip to Kansai Region, Japan, food is one of those things that you should consider hunting down. While there are lots of tourist spots you could see in the region, you can’t help but divulge and indulge yourself with mouthwatering dishes.

When I travel, I do so because I am motivated by two things: Tourist Spots and FOOD! I want to put emphasis (thus, the all caps) on the word because simply because I love food. That’s it. Period.

Listed below are the dishes that you should not miss when you find yourself in Kansai Region, Japan. Most of them are locally invented and made.

Prepare to drool!

1.SUSHI

This is first on the list because obviously  Japan is famous for it. There have been numerous blogs stating good restaurants and even conveyor belt restaurants but for me, nothing’s better than the sushi that come from the wet markets as they have the freshest meat which they use to garnish the sushi with.

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my Unagi Sushi that I bought. Costs 400 JPY

Location: Nishiki Market, Kyoto, Japan. Nearest train station is Gion-Shijo Station

2. RAMEN

My ramen experience was especially unique. If you happen to include Kyoto on the places you will be visiting in, try to dine in this restaurant.

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Full detailed story here: Chinitoeats: My Fiery Ramen Experience. Definitely not to be missed!

3. MATCHA DESSERTS

Japan is known for its matcha desserts. The Japanese kinda invented it after all.. There are wide array of matcha dessert that you can try. Here are few matcha desserts that I tried and loved:

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-Matcha Soymilk sundae near  Arashiyama Temple in Kyoto which costs 300 JPY

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Tokusen Tsujiri Parfait

-Saryo Tsujiri – a famous matcha dessert shop in Kyoto. Try there Tokusen Tsujiri Parfait. Its the most popular item in there menu. It uses a total of 11 different types of ingredients such as sherbet, cream, and jelly that uses matcha etc. It allows you to enjoy a variety of textures and sweet flavors.

They also sell packed teas and matcha of different flavors.

Below is a detailed information about there shop:

Categories Matcha/Green Tea
Phone +81 075-561-2257
Address 573-3, Giommachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 605-0074
Directions 8-minute walk from Hankyu Kawaramachi Station
5-minute walk from Keihan Gion Shijo Station
Hours 10:00~22:00 (Last order at 21:00)
Last order on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: 8:30 p.m.
Reservations No reservation needed
Closed Open everyday
Notes There are often lines all day on weekends and holidays. On weekdays it gets crowded after lunch at 2:00 p.m.
Price range
¥1,000 ~ ¥3,000
Credit cards Not accepted
Menu  English, Chinese
Languages spoken    Japanese only, a little English
Number of seats 72 seats

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-Matcha Sticky Rice Ball stuffed with Red bean Paste topped with fresh Amao strawberries, which are the best strawberries in the country. I had this when I was in Nara. It can be found in the intersection going to Dondaimon Gate.

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-Matcha Shaved Ice. It has a refreshing taste and best indulged during summer

Location: I bought mine in Osaka Castle area

Price: 500 JPY

Note: There are plenty of matcha dessert shops that are scattered around Japan. Tap on your adventurous side and have a go on what they’re offering.

4.  Kyoto’s Famous version of its Okonomiyaki – Issen-Yoshoku Okonomiyaki

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A ¥680 okonomiyaki may seem pricey at first – but the generous amount of ingredients in this savoury pancake fully justifies its price and should be on your must-eat list! The okonomiyaki resembles a huge pancake that, when eaten, simply explodes with different flavours. It’s like a party in your mouth!

Cost: ¥680
Opening hours: 11:00am – 3:00am (except sundays close at 10pm)
Address: 238 Giommachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0073, Kyoto Prefecture 〒605-0073東山区祇園町北側238番地
Nearest station: Gion-Shijo station (祇園四条駅)

5. Dango

This is actually a sticky rice ball skewered in a stick. It may be grilled or just sold directly. It may also be brushed/coated with a flavored paste or just plain. You can choose as there are few varieties of it. You can find this anywhere around Japan. Photos below are those dangos that I’ve eaten:

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From top to bottom: Dango brushed with black sesame paste sprinkled with Gold dust, Green tea Matcha Dango and Dango brushed with black bean paste.

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Grilled Dango dipped in a honey-like sauce.

 

6. Konnamonjya Soy Milk Doughnut

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This is best eaten hot. It is a soft and flavorful mini Japanese doughnut.

Cost: ¥300 for 10 mini donuts (plain)
Opening hours: 10:00am – 6:00pm
Address: Nishiki Market 錦市場
Nearest station: Gion-Shijo station (祇園四条駅)

7. Japanese Pickled Cucumber

This is a good snack. Unlike most pickles that I know which are sweet and a bit sour, Japanese pickled cucumbers are more on the salty side. It is crunchy and I bet it is full of nutrients.

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Cost: ¥250 a piece. Prices may vary on size
Opening hours: 10:00am – 6:00pm
Address: Nishiki Market 錦市場
Nearest station: Gion-Shijo station (祇園四条駅)

8. Japanese King Crab Meat

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Now, this one’s a delight. This is sweet, tender and juicy if I may say so. Flame- grilled, the succulent taste of the crab is definitely a hit. I had this one outside Fushimi Inari Shrine. Costs 500JPY.

9. Kamameshi Shizuka Nara Special

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Kamameshi (釜飯) literally translates to “kettle rice” and is a traditional Japanese rice dish cooked in an iron pot called a kama. Kamameshi originally referred to rice that was eaten communally from the kama. By cooking the rice and various ingredients in an iron pot, the rice gets slightly burned at the bottom which adds a desirable flavor to the rice.

Waited in line for about half an hour for this. It may take longer during peak lunch and dinner hours. The Kamameshi Shizuka restaurant is well- known throughout the Nara Region for its excellent Nara special hot pot. This consists of: shrimp, crab, conger eel, spring chicken, bamboo shoots, burdocks and carrots.

Name of Restaurant: Kamameshi Shizuka

Price: 1,280 JPY
Location: Adjacent to Nara Park. You will know it is the right one when you see a queue of people waiting.

10. Tako Tamago

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Too cute to eat. This is a known Japanese street food. These glazed baby octopuses have whole quail eggs stuffed in their heads. They are tender, delicious, and inexpensive.

Location: Nishiki Market, Kyoto. It may also be available in Kuromon Market in Osaka but when I went to Kuromon Market around 4pm, there weren’t much food left to be sold already. Guess I missed the peak hours.

Price: Price ranges from 200 JPY -500 JPY depending on the size

11. Kobe Beef

Not to beat around the bush but I’m not a fan of beef. However, this one is one of the most divine edibles that one could ever eat. Everything you heard about Kobe beef is all true. It is that good.

To know more about Japan’s Kobe Beef. Click here.

“It doesn’t matter if I haven’t been able to eat a large size of this meat due to budget constraints for as long I’ll be able to have a bit to taste then I’ll be at peace.”, I had then told myself.

I had a small skewer of this beef which  was perfectly grilled in Nishiki Market. It costs a whopping 1,000 JPY a piece. Here’s a picture of what I bought:

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Refers to beef from the Tajima strain of Wagyu cattle, raised in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture. According to rules as set out by the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association. The meat is a delicacy renowned for its flavor, tenderness, and fatty, well-marbled texture. A certificate will be given to those who sells this kind of beef. With a meat quality score of A-5 (highest quality rank) it is fairly expensive, if not the most expensive kind of beef in the market.

12. Sweet Sake

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A Japanese Rice wine. When you’re anywhere in Japan, do not miss to have a sip of sake even once. I bought 1 bottle to have it as a “pasalubong” for my dad.

Location: practically anywhere in Japan but I Bought mine in Nishiki Market. They also provide free tasting of different sake.

Cost: It depends on the quality and the kind. I bought mine at 1,300 JPY

13. Takoyaki

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This is one of Osaka’s famous dishes. It is a round Japanese snack made out of a wheat-flour-based batter and filled with diced octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger and green onions. It’s then brushed with takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise before being garnished with green laver and shavings of dried bonito. As it is cheap and delicious thus takoyaki stands are pervasive in the Dotonbori area.

I was able to sample the takoyakis of two of the most famous takoyaki stands in Osaka. One is the Creo-Ru Takoyaki (the one with soft boiled egg on top) and the one that’s more classic (I forgot the name of the stand). I concur that the latter is more yummy though Creo-Ru is a more popular stand.

14. Hiyashi Ame

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I read about this in a blog when I reasearched about what Japanese food to try when in Japan. It’s a famous summer refreshment drink in Western Japan. It’s a cold ginger drink. It is like “salabat” here in the Philippines but served cold.

15. Pablo Cheesecake

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This is Osaka’s famous cheese tarts. Cheese lovers should rush for this one. Pablo is well known for their signature freshly-baked cheese tarts–deliciously soft and creamy treats that taste like no other cheese tart you’ve probably ever had before. Aside from the classic six- inch cheese tarts, they also sell mini cheese tarts in different flavors.

Location: Shinsaibashi Area, Osaka, Japan

Price: 680 JPY for the 6-inch classic Cheese Tart and 240 JPY (if I’m not mistaken) for there mini flavored cheese tarts.

16. Uncle Rikuro Cheesecake

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This is probably the world’s softest and fluffiest cheesecake I’ve ever encountered. It is said to be the best Japanese cheesecake.

Check this video to see how fluffy and wobbly it is:

Location: you can find it in Dotonburi, Osaka area. You may use your google map to find this bakery.

Price: 675 JPY

17. Fugu

Read my full story here: Chinitoeats: Fugu – eating the world’s most poisonous fish

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The last but certainly not the least. The most controversial food that I challenge myself to eat. Fugu also known as Blowfish or Pufferfish. Only skilled Japanese Chefs are allowed to prepare this. Please read on my other article as to why.

My video about fugu:


 

After my five- day sojourn in Kansai Region, Japan, I realized that, unsurprisingly, a huge portion of my budget all went to FOOD! Hahahaha. 😅😅 That being said, I think it was the best way to spend my money with. It is all worth it. 😁😁

There might be other specialties I was not able to eat but I guess it calls for more reason to go back again soon. 😂😂

 

 

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