Kuromon Ichiba Market
Don’t miss this old-fashioned covered market stuffed with 170 shops hawking Osaka’s best (and strangest) specialties.
Half of all sales at Kuromon are to professional chefs but those in the know come here for the fresh produce and unparalleled seafood and meat. A recent increase in tourists has spurred many shops to expand, and now there are more choices for dining-in than ever before. Sit at rustic tables and eat the freshest fish imaginable served to you by the men who caught it – often they’re still wearing their rubber boots and smell of the sea.
Sample Osaka standards like takoyaki (octopus balls) and okonomiyaki (cabbage pancakes), or get more daring with uni (sea urchin) served in the shell or tako tamago – a bright red “octopus lollipop” that’s basically a candied baby octopus whose head is stuffed with a quail egg. Other favorites include grilled scallops, kaisen don (sashimi rice bowl), unagi (grilled eel), wagyu beef grilled to order, and crab legs.
Beyond meat and seafood, Kuromon boasts an array of fresh fruit and other produce, much of which is sold at small stalls by the farmers themselves. Try wasabi root or daikon (raddish), and gawk at the incredibly expensive designer fruits (melon for 5000 yen, anyone?) Other shops are wholly dedicated to one speciality, including tofu, pickled vegetables, and dango (Japanese sweets made from sticky rice).
Living up to the tradition of Asian markets, Kuromon has other things to offer besides food, including discount drug and home goods, a plethora of omiyage (Japanese souvenirs), and clothing stores to boot. Make sure to bring a lot of cash.