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Osaka’s Kuromon-Ichiba Market

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kuromon ichiba market

Inside Kuromon-Ichiba Market in Osaka. Photo credit: Wasin Waeosri.

Just about the only thing, I knew about Osaka before my trip was the Kuromon-Ichiba Market, and I couldn’t wait to visit! After five days in Kyoto, we headed to Osaka on the regional train. I didn’t know what to expect of Osaka, quite frankly I had spent most of my time researching Kyoto. Osaka was mainly a transition point for us as that is where we flew in and out of. Except for the food market, you know, I have my priorities.

After two and a half-days in Osaka, I came to the conclusion that it is a mini-Tokyo. I apologize to all my friends in Tokyo and anyone in Osaka who might be offended by that statement, that was just my impression.

Osaka Shopping

Osaka – loud, crowded and noisy…

Compared to the relative calm and peacefulness of Kyoto, Osaka was frenetic. Loud, bright, crowded, again like Tokyo. Don’t get me wrong, I love Tokyo. It was a matter of sequence. If I were to ever repeat my trip I would visit Osaka first and then head to Kyoto.

In the end, the one thing I did love about Osaka was Kuromon-Ichiba Market. Like Nishiki, it was just what a foodie needs. Food experiences for miles. New things to try, look at, touch, taste and of course, people watch. And like in Kyoto, we ate nearly all our meals in and around this market.

Osaka’s Kuromon-Ichiba Market

Entrance to the Kuromon-Ichiba Market, photo credit Mr. Misadventures

For instance, we didn’t eat much sushi in Kyoto, it is just not something they have a lot of, they are more focused on seasonal foods and vegetables. With the river, their focus is on other preparations of fish and seafood. Sushi is available, but not in huge quantities that Osaka of Tokyo has. So when we saw this little “shop” servings huge bowls of tuna from different parts of the fish (maguro, toro, etc) for $20, we couldn’t get our butts in one of the 5 seats fast enough!

Sashimi at Osaka’s Kuromon-Ichiba Market

Sashimi at Osaka’s Kuromon-Ichiba Market, photo credit Mr. Misadventures

The shop is a fish stall that happens to serve food – the sashimi is basically scraps from what they are butchering – damn good scraps and damn cheap.

Sashimi at Osaka’s Kuromon-Ichiba Market

Cutting sashimi at Osaka’s Kuromon-Ichiba Market, photo credit Mr. Misadventures

$20 may not sound cheap, but we shared the bowl and with the amount they gave us, it would be double in San Francisco!

Sashimi at Osaka’s Kuromon-Ichiba Market

This would be $40 or more in San Francisco – it is just a big pile of very expensive tuna pieces

Most of the time we just grazed. Stopping here and there to pick up “snacks” as we went.

Oden Osaka’s Kuromon-Ichiba Market

Oden in Kuromon-Ichiba Market, photo credit Mr. Misadventures.

Seriously, there wasn’t anything we didn’t love!

Osaka’s Kuromon-Ichiba Market

Photo credit Mr. Misadventures.

Well, maybe this guy. This is Shioyaki, which is grilled sea bream (I think) and is saltier than all get out.

Shioyaki Osaka’s Kuromon-Ichiba Market

Shioyaki in Kuromon-Ichiba Market, photo credit Mr. Misadventures.

But otherwise who doesn’t love freshly cooked scallops or baby octopus or in the far right corner, Takoyaki which is a snack with a piece of octopus in the middle.

Scallops Osaka’s Kuromon-Ichiba Market

Scallops in Kuromon-Ichiba Market, photo credit Mr. Misadventures.

If you are thinking, “what’s with all the fish, I need something substantial!” then the market has you covered as well. Pick out your Kobe steak and have it on your plate in 5 minutes! No middleman restauranteur here, you get it straight from the butcher!

Kobe Osaka’s Kuromon-Ichiba Market

Kobe in Kuromon-Ichiba Market, photo credit Mr. Misadventures.

Of course, there are plenty of vegetables as well. They have them preserved in miso paste like we saw in Kyoto.

Vegetables in Miso Paste Osaka’s Kuromon-Ichiba Market

Vegetables in miso paste in Kuromon-Ichiba Market, photo credit Mr. Misadventures.

Or fresh like these shishito peppers which I love!

Shishito peppers Osaka’s Kuromon-Ichiba Market

Shishito peppers Osaka’s Kuromon-Ichiba Market

The two days we were in Osaka we ate at least one meal at Kuromon-Ichiba. Eating in and around food markets is one of my favorite ways to explore a city’s food scene. Plus it is fresh and far more inexpensive than a lot of traditional restaurants. For us, it is a win-win.

Address: 2-4-1, Nippombashi, Chuo-ku Osaka-shi, Osaka, 542-0073
Hours: Open every day 9 am to 6 pm
The Kuromon-Ichiba Market website and Kuromon-Ichiba Market blog are only available in Japanese, but you can translate it very easily into English (or other languages using their online tool).
Public Transportation: Near the Nippombashi Station on the Osaka Municipal Subway Sakaisuji Line (K17) or Sennichimae Line (S17) OR from the Kintetsu Nippombashi Station on the Kintetsu Namba Line or Kintetsu Nara Line.

How about you? Do visit food markets at home or during your travels?

Of course, we did more than eat in Osaka! We also visited Namba Parks, the Umeda Sky Building, people watched and took lots of photos!

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Amanda

Monday 27th of October 2014

That market looks amazing! I love to visit local markets on our trips, so much fun seeing what they have!

Andi Fisher

Saturday 1st of November 2014

@Amanda, markets are an amazing place to explore local foods and I can't think of a better way to enjoy any place.

Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

Monday 27th of October 2014

My husband would be in food heaven here, especially over that tuna! I've never seen such huge tuna steaks before, wow. Great article!

Andi Fisher

Saturday 1st of November 2014

@Kimberly, tuna is the best and it was such a luxury to eat so much for so little!

Lindsay

Sunday 26th of October 2014

What a great 'taste' you've shared of the local flavor! Cheap sashimi sounds like a dream to me. YUM!

Andi Fisher

Saturday 1st of November 2014

@Lindsay, it is rare indeed and something you should always take advantage of!

@Travelpanties

Wednesday 22nd of October 2014

Beautiful photos as always!!! This is my dream day! Love grazing through a market! Beautiful photos too! Mouthwatering!

Andi Fisher

Thursday 23rd of October 2014

@TravelPanties, glad you enjoyed it, definitely my favorite thing to do!

Stephanie @ Plain Chicken

Monday 20th of October 2014

WOW! The food looks amazing!! My husband wouldn't share that big bowl of tuna - we would eat it all and be in heaven!

Andi Fisher

Monday 20th of October 2014

@Stephanie, if we hadn't already eaten a big breakfast we both would have done our own too!