14 December 2010

Japan Street Food Tour Day 5 ~ Kyoto Osaka & 7-Eleven

Day 5 of our Japan food tour starts in Osaka, peaks in Kyoto, then it's back in Fukushima for izakaya, a standup wine bar and fine dining at the 7 Eleven.

Walking out from our hostel we spy this great bar ad: no charge, no charm, fair enough.

Breakfast at our favourite Japanese chain - Yoshinoya.

Yoshinoya Menu...you don't really need to understand Japanese when there's pictures!

Yoshinoya Menu...

Yoshinoya Counter. As functional as you can get in such a small space.

A hearty breakfast: fish, rice, miso soup, pickles and nori.

Same same with bigger beef bowl and no nori for greedy Shawn.

Mmmmm, beef bowl... Thinly sliced sweet stewed beef with onions. Oh yeah.

We catch at train to Kyoto station, only about half an hour or so from Osaka. Kyoto Station is huge and impressive. Our original aim was to eat here (there's always great food around train stations) but it's early so we walk toward the main Kyoto shopping drag.

We stop at Cafe Veloce for morning tea. It had been so long since Yoshinoya after all.

Iced coffee (no sugar - wohoo!), green tea late and a slice of Japanese cheese cake. Light and creamy, yum.

A joint we visited on our previous Japan holiday. We remember this place especially for its spectacularly dirty kichen. We learnt that like most of Asia, it's best not to look in the restaurant kitchen in Japan. A cultural oddity as the rest of Japan is so spotlessly clean...

Look at that beauty! Some kind of schintzel sandwhich, it's 100% something.

Another diner type restaurant.

Mr Young Men. Is that a cooking implement or a spanking paddle next to the name? Are we back in Sydney?

At the end of the amazing Nishiki Market we find this bloke shucking fresh shelfish.

Then we notice the fresh shelfish is shucked for this tiny little restaurant. There's a queue but for this we are more than happy to wait.


We get a seat out the back. This place is tiny. Sadly we don't get a counter spot...

A bit of Saturday afternoon romance.

A couple of freshly shucked oysters to start please. Lemon schmemon.

And whatever those buggers are, we'll take two of them. They have been freshly shucked and lightly steamed so they are just warm. They looked like giant pippies or clams.

We wanted some fresh sushi we spied on another plate but they had run out. We had Hamo fish instead, lightly smoked or cured fish. We became big fans of Hamo.

Scallop, complete with innards. Freshly opened and lightly steamed.

I can taste the sea. Very tasty. It's a definite food high. Though I must admit being slightly dissapointed, these scallops aren't a pinch on the the fresh scallops my fisherman grandfather used to bring up on the plane from Tasmania... But nothing could ever be as good as that...

After a few refreshing beverages we wandered the small back streets on Kyoto, behind the market. There were many more small places to eat like this one.

Japanese hamburgers. Alas, no more room to try.

Mushies are in season. How beautiful is that display? In this mall we just missed a photo of an elegent 90 something old lady in a beautiful kimono, stocking her vending machine with cans of soft drink. The one that got away...

Strawberry cheesecake Cornetto\Drumstick from a vending machine. There's always room for one of these.

Saturday afternoon down by the river in central Kyoto. On our way back to the train station we strolled back along the riverside. We stayed along here on our first trip.

Another restaurant.

Food signs are everywhere. There's no excuse not finding a place to eat.

We head to the more upmarket part of town where the restaurants are far more beautiful than what we are accustomed to. Many of these places serve Kiseki menus for tourists - others are likely to cost a small fortune if you choose the wrong one.

Central Kyoto is is just georgous. The Pontocho is an old laneway full of restaurants that has been operating since the 16th century. It is also, like the Gion, a famous geisha district.

Japanese Austin Powers restaurant.

Upmarket restaurant menu.

I'll have all of that with a beer chaser.

Some restaurants in Kyoto are forebidding. Without doing some homework you never know whether you are walking into a generations old famous restaurant or an overpriced tourist trap.

The restaurants all have pretty entrances and are quite attractive to walk by.

Fancy pants restaurant entrance. It is tradition to wash the entrance of the restaurant with water.

Do you trust a joint with an English menu in these parts?

More purdy restaurant entrances.

Lovely Kyoto streets.

Displays of in-season produce outside a restaurant.


Restaurant sake display. Or maybe that's how much you can drink.

I have no idea whether a feed here would cost $30 or $3,000. Homework required.

More lovely Kyoto alleys. In autumn the maple leaves along this street are spectacular.

Fresh eel shop.

Some are split and marinated, ready to buy.

The power of advertising. For some reason when I want a vending machine coffee, it has to be a Boss Coffee...

Purdy sweeties.

A cup of hot Blendy please.

Back in Osaka we stop for a bevvy near home in a ramen joint, with a googie side snack of course.

Big stockpots of ramen broth on the go.

We're not in the mood for ramen now but we mark this place for later.

I didn't even notice this restaurant until I saw a gaggle of glamourous bright-young-things pile in. We figure the less the signage, the higher the prices.

Sign in Fukushima, Osaka... Does the Sydney food blog Nom Nom Nibbles have a restaurant named after them? And if so how do we become members for a snack?

Saturday night is a bit quite restaurant-wise in Fukushima. We give Matsuzakiya Isakaya a go.

Fresh prawnie nibbles.

A litle bit of fried tongue to soak up the beer.

The isakaya is slow on a Saturday night so we head to the lively Stand Up Wine Bar, just around the corner in Fukushima. It's little more than a counter with a canopy on the side of the road but somehow the place works. Even a pair of quiet folks like us find it easy to mingle here. A glass of house wine or a beer is about $5. The wines were Japanese or cheap Australian, not exactly Grange. We settle in.

We tell the locals how much we love the food and some homemade chocolate pie magically appears. Delicious! But beware of the  Osaka Chocolate Pie Monster, she'll drink your wine as well.

 Instant best friends. These very friendly folks work for a company that makes huge industrial springs, the biggest springs you've ever seen.

Standup Wine Bar boss. What a dude.

All night we were asking the locals if they new where we could find that Italian inspired Japanese sensation: salmon roe pasta. Nobody knew where to find any locally so we gave up and decide to dine in style at the 7 Eleven. 7 Elevens in Asia crap all over Australian ones, you can live out of the buggers.

7 Eleven ready-to-go goodness.

Nuke me a sensation.

Beer at the 7 Eleven, how it should be.

More 7 Eleven beer.

More 7 Eleven food. Tofu, boiled eggs, noodles and fish cakes ready to go.

7 Eleven deep fried goodness. Is that a dagwood dog? You can be as naughty or as nice as you want with your food options!

All food groups catered for at 3am at the 7 Eleven. Alison wishes she'd seen the hot dogs at the time!

Steamed buns.

At the 7 Eleven you can even get freshly nuked salmon roe pasta! It even tasted good! That's a a bog nob of butter on top, with salmon roe to mix in.

A side of pickles.

A side of lager.

This skeddie wasn't as good. Perhaps the potato salad on the side shouldn't have gone in the microwave.

Layer cake. Bedtime for piggies.


  1. I love 7-11 in Japan! And katsu-sando (chicken katsu in a sandwich)! And joining random queues which will always result in good food! Oh you've memories I have a backlog of photos from my trip to Japan (in Feb) I still need to post. lol. Hmmm....

  2. I'd go to Japan just to try a Strawberry cheesecake Cornetto. Yum. And for those delicious looking oysters. Love the laneways of Kyoto...love it all! LOVE the 7-11!

  3. Katsu Sando - another mystery solved - thanks Helen!

  4. The best thing about the ice creams is the fact they are in vending machines in the street - anywhere, anytime! They are really cheap too - about 150yen. My favourite was the green tea.

  5. Damn I was hoping you'd go into Mr Young Men!

  6. Naw - we went into Mr Old Men around the corner, it was much cheaper and easier to get in :-)

  7. 7-11 same prices as 20 years ago !

  8. what wonderful photos of everything. I wish our 7-11s were like that here!

  9. I have just experimented a cheap and healthy way for a yummy alternative to using meat in katsu
    けち katsu sando http://kookinu.com/category/food/

  10. Hey Kookinu - nifty tip - and we LOVE the Hello Kitty Seaweed! Hello Kitty is ichi ban!

  11. Next trip go to Mister Youngmen, they place little flags of your country of origin on th Okonomiyaki.Not as good as in Osaka but a huge serve and full of flavor.A Biru goes down well with his Okono.Currently is Osaka and heading out to dinner. Love your blog

  12. Is "Standup Wine Bar" the real name of the bar? Do you guys have its address??

  13. Yes, Stand Up Wine Bar is it's real name as far as we recall. I remember it being close to the railway line near Fukushima station. I think the Hotel Hanshin was just across the laneway. We had A LOT to drink there so the memory is a bit hazy.

  14. I'm sure I remember a sign saying "Stand Up Wine Bar".

  15. Thanks for the info

  16. ”Look at that beauty! Some kind of schintzel sandwhich, it's 100% something.”

    100% Australian Aussie beef

  17. Very nice thanks for your information , we will look for it!!!!

  18. Holy frik boss!!! My bf and I are heading there in 12 days .. Super freakin excited.. Your blog made me drool.

  19. How did you plan your trip. I'm think of going over to Japan next year, but tour are so expensive, and I've got no idea where to start on planning the trip by myself. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks!


Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great eats that come along with it :-)

Our ethics: We pay for all our own meals and travel (though sometimes Mum shouts us).