Yakiniku is a Japanese meal of grilled (“yaki”) meat (“niku”), and most often involves diners cooking meat around a grill on a table front of them. Adopted from Korean cuisine, yakiniku became widespread throughout Japan in the 20th century. Oftentimes yakiniku restaurants have other dishes that people can order, but the meats and sauces are the main components to a yakiniku experience. The grilled meat is then dipped by the customer in sauce and eaten. The sauce for these dishes oftentimes can be savory and sweet, but other flavor combinations such as sour and spicy can be added as well. The flavor of the sauce depends on the restaurant, and the variety of sauces at yakiniku restaurants can be a reason for someone to visit many of them. Osaka, historically a mercantile city located in the south-central region of Japan’s main island, is a place that has many fantastic yakiniku restaurants for residents and travelers to enjoy–read on to discover some of these!
The city of Kyoto is one of the top destinations in the world for both travel and fine dining. This ancient former capital of Japan is known for its luscious scenery, countless historical sites, and excellent dining scene. Kyoto particularly specializes in washoku, or traditional Japanese cuisine, which has been declared a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage treasure, but offers a wide range of restaurants for any cuisine. Read on to discover 14 restaurants in Kyoto that demonstrate why it is truly a culinary capital.
Cherry blossom season in Japan begins each year in early spring, lasting until around Golden Week in May. During that time, swaths of pink and white sakura blossoms burst into full bloom starting from the Kyushu area in the southwest and moving in a northerly direction. During this season hanami, or cherry blossom viewing parties, are common in Japan. Sakura viewing first began during the Heian period, the historical peak of the Japanese nobility and a period in which culture and the arts flourished in Japan. The Heian emperor would host extravagant feasts beneath the cherry blossoms at the imperial palace in Kyoto, which set the tradition for hanami picnics. Today, hanami parties can take place either during the daytime or at night among family, friends, and coworkers.
Osaka Station is the busiest train station in the western Kansai region of Japan, serving over two million passengers a day. The station building, called “Osaka Station City,” was newly remodeled in 2011 and offers various shopping, entertainment, and dining establishments in close proximity to the station area. With Osaka’s reputation as the culinary capital of Japan, it should come as no surprise that the area around Osaka Station boasts some truly excellent dining. Read on for 12 Osaka Station restaurants that highlight the epicurean genius of Japan’s top gourmet city.
One of the most popular travel destinations in Japan for both domestic and foreign tourists alike, Kyoto is an ancient city with over a thousand years of history. Kyoto Station, the city’s main transportation hub, was revamped to commemorate Kyoto’s 1,200 year anniversary in 1997. For such a historical city, one might expect the station to be a hallmark of traditional architecture; however, the building’s sleek design of curved glass and exposed steel beams—the second-largest station building in Japan, containing a hotel, movie theater, two shopping malls, several museums, and a department store—reinterprets the city’s traditional aesthetic in a modern way.
Osaka, located in the western region of Kansai, is a city famous for its food culture, and prides itself on being the gourmet capital of Japan. From the Dotonbori canal district lined with various dining establishments to the Shinsekai area serving up famous local dishes, Osaka is a true foodie mecca. There’s even an old Japanese saying that people from Osaka will eat and drink themselves out of house and home. If you’re visiting Osaka and want to uncover the different types of Osaka restaurants, here’s a guide to the diverse array of food experiences that await.
Kobe, located on Osaka Bay in western Japan, is a port city best known for its eponymous local brand of beef. Japanese beef, or wagyu, includes several breeds of cattle that have been domesticated from wild oxen, with the various regions of Japan specializing in their own local wagyu brands. Kobe beef, in particular, is world famous for its intense marbling. Rich and sweet without being greasy, the meat possesses a unique tenderness and melting texture that is second to none.
Teppanyaki is a style of Japanese cuisine cooked on an iron grill top which originated in Japan following the introduction of modern iron manufacturing. With the spread of teppan cooking plates, dishes such as okonomiyaki (a Japanese savory pancake) became popular in Kansai, the western region of Japan. Later, during the post-war period, a new type of teppanyaki emerged. This new style of teppanyaki cuisine—also known as “hibachi” outside of Japan—is often described as Japanese dinner theater, with a personal chef grilling up meat, seafood, and vegetables in front of dinner guests with dynamic yet graceful culinary flair.
A city renowned for its spiritual and artistic tradition, Kyoto is also home to a storied culinary history—including a unique sushi culture unlike any other. As a landlocked city, Kyoto traditionally did not have access to fresh fish, which fostered an inventive Kyoto style of sushi emphasizing preserved and pickled ingredients. Following the Great East Japan Earthquake of 1923, however, displaced sushi chefs came to Kyoto and brought with them the familiar Edo-mae (Tokyo) style sushi of fresh fish atop a ball of rice. Kyoto sushi has since evolved to incorporate aspects of both traditional Kyoto dining—with its emphasis on high-quality, local, seasonal ingredients—and Edo-mae sushi techniques. Here are 8 must-try Kyoto sushi restaurants that combine the peerless tradition of yesterday with the tastes of today.
Kaiseki is the quintessential Japanese haute cuisine, a tasting course characterized by the perfection of its preparation and elegant presentation. Originally a meal of small dishes meant to accompany the bitter green tea of Japanese tea ceremonies, kaiseki has become a dazzling culinary tradition unto itself. Kaiseki eschews strong sauces or overly complex arrangements, instead presenting every dish with stark simplicity around natural themes that highlight the superior quality of seasonal ingredients. This absence of artifice means that every ingredient must be selected at the height of freshness and then carefully prepared to showcase its true flavor.