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Culinary Tour

Osaka has long been known as The Water Capital, thanks to the region’s many rivers which have served as a major means for passenger and freight transport for more than 400 years. Water is an integral part of life in Osaka, and the rivers are heralded for bringing an abundance of food to the city. Osaka has such a special relationship with food that the city is unofficially referred to as the Kitchen of Japan. And though the city is home to many Michelin-starred restaurants, Osaka’s approach to food is decidedly down-to-earth — its food culture is built on street food and home cooking. Whether it’s a refined multi-course dinner or some simple takoyaki to go, there are culinary delights to be found around every corner — and every river bend.

Day

1

MORNING
  • Start with Coffee.

    Osaka’s burgeoning coffee culture has become ubiquitous. Skip the chains and convenience stores and head to Coffee and Bar Lupin for a gourmet pull of espresso or a delicious latte.

  • Try a Traditional Japanese Breakfast.

    Though pancakes and western foods can be found everywhere in Osaka, head to Nakanoshima Nadaman for a taste of local culture. Enjoy a kaiseki breakfast and be amazed as beautifully plated dishes of foods are placed in front of you: rice porridge, grilled fish, root vegetables and miso soup to name a few.

MIDDAY
  • Take a Distillery Tour.

    Learn about the craftsmanship behind some of Japan’s finest whiskies at Yamazaki Distillery, just 18 miles from town. Enjoy a taste of the unblended whisky that goes into their signature single malt product as you meet the makers. Advance booking is required, so be sure to ask the concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka for assistance with arranging a tour.

AFTERNOON
  • To Market, To Market.

    For more than 170 years, Kuromon Ichiba Market has been luring locals and visitors with the sights, smells and tastes of Japanese food. Take your pick from the stalls of takoyaki, grilled scallops, kushiyaki, tempura, sushi, udon and pickled vegetables.

EVENING
  • Pre-Dinner Drinks.

    Japan may be known for its sake, but whiskey is definitely having a moment. The dim 20-seat Bar K in the Kitashinchi district specializes in whiskey-based cocktails, using only the finest bottles and batches. If you’re not a whiskey drinker, there are many cocktails to choose from like the Nightcap in Osaka, made with cream, matcha, red bean and cognac.

  • The Art of Cooking.

    Enjoy a sublime culinary experience at the three-Michelin-starred Koryu restaurant. Only 12 guests are seated at a time, so reservations are an absolute must. Using local and seasonal ingredients, Chef Matsuo creates refined Japanese food, made even more beautiful by its artful presentation.

Day

2

MORNING
  • Sharpen Your Skills.

    The Sakai region has been producing katana (Japanese sword) since ancient times, and is now home to a vast production of kitchen knives. Take a trip to the Sakai Hamono Museum for a chance to view the manufacturing processes performed by professional craftsmen. Seasoned artists offer live demonstrations of the final stage in the process, known as togi (sharpening), on Saturdays and Sundays.

MIDDAY
  • Late Lunch.

    For your midday meal, head to the Michelin-starred soba restaurant, Takama, located in an alley behind the Tenjinbashisuji shopping arcade (which so happens to be the longest arcade in Japan). Choose from two kinds of noodles — mori or inaka — and whether you’d like it hot or cold. Highly recommended is the Tenzarusoba, a cold soba meal with assorted tempura.

AFTERNOON
  • Tea Time.

    Retreat back to The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka for afternoon tea served in the Lobby Lounge. Enjoy English and Chinese teas paired with live classical or jazz music.

EVENING
  • Epicurean Oasis.

    Dinner at Hanagatami allows you to experience the best of Japan’s varied cuisine, under one roof. Choose from sushi, teppanyaki, tempura, kaiseki and sumibiyaki and marvel at the handiwork of the chefs behind the sushi counter. Each feast can be paired with an accompanying beverage, making for a perfect finale to your time in Osaka.