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OSAKA

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Japan, 〒542-0083 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Chūō-ku, Higashishinsaibashi, 2 Chome−8−28 タコタコキング
All of the fried octopus delights you crave, including takoyaki. A fantastically friendly staff. Japanese businessmen drinking Zima. Classic rock soundtrack. What more could you ask for?
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Japan, 〒542-0071 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Chūō-ku, Dōtonbori, 1 Chome−4−15
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Okonomiyaki is the epitome of Japanese soul food—a griddled pancake made of a mix of vegetables, egg, and meat or seafood, and topped with things like bonito flakes, Japanese mayo, nori, and ginger. The dish may have originated in Osaka, but it...
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Japan, 〒542-0086 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo, Nishishinsaibashi, 2−9−5 日宝三ッ寺会館 2階
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Something that can be frustrating if you're living in or travelling around Japan as a non-native speaker is the absence of English or picture menus. It can sometimes feel like the busiest and most popular restaurants with the locals are...
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Snack is the kind of secret little drinking hole that Japan has perfected. Tiny one-room bars/izakayas where the customers all know not only the staff but eventually, after a few sakes, each other as well. Owner and head chef Kazuyuki Kuroki, aka...
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Japan, 〒603-8225 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Kita-ku, Murasakino Minamifunaokachō, 北区紫野南舟岡町82−1
Open since 1923, this is one of Kyoto's oldest bathhouses. The late hours (3 p.m.–1 a.m.) make it a great stop after a long day of walking (Fushimi Inari Shrine, anyone?). At 430 (around $3.75) per visit, this onsen won't break the bank any time...
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Japan, 〒542-0076 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo, Nanba, 1 Chome−9

Back in the old days, the Japanese monzen-machi, stores and services, gathered around temple gates. Now they're on pedestrianized shopping streets. Namba, just beyond Namba Station in Osaka, is one of the biggest examples outside Tokyo. You name...