Osaka, Japan - Day 4, okonomiyaki @ Yukari & Osaka Castle

Day 4 in Osaka was a late morning for us yet again. We stayed up watching TV shows as usual and eating snacks we purchased the day before. I think it's a better idea to do a complete post about all the snacks and drinks we had on the trip at the end just because of the sheer amount of them, but for now, some of the things we ate that night included sakura flavoured pudding and sakura jelly, sakura mochi and green tea flavoured mochi with red bean paste in the centre. We were in Japan right at the start of Spring so sakura flavoured sweets were in abundance and we welcomed it with big open mouths and hungry stomaches. Although to be honest, the really sweet red bean (anko) in the centre of all the mochis isn't my cup of tea.

Osaka is famous for okonomiyaki, a Japanese savoury pancake found throughout Japan and other parts of the world. It is made with flour, eggs, cabbage and other ingredients and at most restaurants that serve okonomiyaki, you'll usually have a choice of topping such as pork or seafood. Hiroshima, a neighbouring town to Osaka, is also famous for okonomiyaki, however they are cooked slightly differently. In Osaka, the pancake is cooked with all of the ingredients mixed together whereas in Hiroshima, the ingredients (such as the cabbage) are stacked rather than mixed. I've once watched a Japanese TV show where there was a cook-off between chefs from both cities in a battle to see which one was better. There are also countless threads and comments online where people argue about their favourite version, however, as I didn't get a chance to try the Hiroshima style, I wasn't able to give my own verdict. Something to do for my next trip!

The restaurant we ate at for brunch is called Yukari in Sennichimae, an area in Osaka near Namba Station, which specialises in self cooked and served okonomiyaki. Although it's 'self cooked', the waiter essentially does everything for you until it's all ready to be eaten. Before I go on, this restaurant like many others, have separate tables where you can cook and eat in reasonable privacy. However, there are also many where you sit at a large communal teppanyaki table and your okonomiyaki is cooked in front of you by a chef. We also went to one of these which will be featured in a later post.

Yuye ordered the special set meal (生ビールセット) - draft beer set - for 980Yen which came with a pork okonomiyaki (basically just bacon) and Sapporo beer.

I ordered a Mix Yaki (ミックス焼) which cost 1080Yen and came with bacon, prawns and squid.

The steps in making an okonomiyaki (my one):
1. Mix the batter and cabbage well
2. Put the bacon on the hot plate to cook
3. Pour about two thirds of the mixed batter onto the hot plate next to the bacon (not on top)
4. Press down the batter to make it roughly 2cm high and even on all sides, make sure it's reasonably round
5. Put bacon on top of the batter
6. Pour on rest of batter and cover up the bacon
7. Flip over the pancake in a swift motion and let it sit for a few minutes to cook through
8. Turn over the pancake again to finish cooking
9. Add okonomiyaki sauce(brown vegetable sauce), Japanese mayonnaise, bonito flakes and aonori to finish.

I took videos of the steps which are below if you're interested to find out how it's done. It might be useful for restaurants that don't do the cooking for you (it happened to me the first time I was in Kyoto with my parents, it was SO embarrassing). It might also be useful for those keen cooks who want to make it at home. We bought okonomiyaki metal spatulas just for this purpose :).

Part 1:

Part 2:

The taste of both okonomiyakis were fantastic. Yuye wasn't a big fan of it back in Melbourne, but that's only because he never had it anywhere apart from food courts! I believe he has changed his mind now.

After a very satisfying meal, we headed towards Osaka Castle. This is the only attraction we visited in Osaka, only because Yuye was too keen on buying manga and catching random articles from game centres! Even though I visited Osaka Castle during my first trip to Japan last year, I was still very glad I went again. That is because plum blossoms were in season at the time and it was an absolutely magnificent sight. I didn't know at the time that I wouldn't be in Japan for actual sakura blossoming, so this was the only flower viewing I got out of the trip :(.

There is a large plum tree garden just to the left before you cross the bridge to get to the castle. It was fantastic weather and I was definitely in a good mood :).

I wasn't sure if all the trees were plum because there are many colours - pink (almost like sakura), deep pink and almost white ones. The petals on these are even different, some were double layered and some were single. In fact, there was a tree that had different coloured flowers coming out of each branch! How amazing is that.

There's also stalls set up where you can buy cute little bonsais and flower pots. At that point, I really wished I lived there because I was SO tempted to bring one of them home with me! I really don't think the Aussie customs would have liked that…

We also saw the cutest little dogs in the park, I wish I had a dog to take around on a day like that!

After spending over an hour walking around the flower garden and making Yuye a bit impatient, we finally set off for the castle grounds. The bridge was under construction at the time but the castle was still standing tall and grand in the background.

We decided to not venture up the castle as it really wasn't that worth the money. The castle is only a concrete replica of the original building, which was bombed down in 1945. Reconstruction finished in 1997. There are many levels inside which you use the stairs for. How it works is you ride the elevator right to the top level and walk your way down. Each level contains history and stories about Osaka and the castle such as the feudal wars and other historically significant events. You can step outside to view Osaka from high up, however, the whole balcony is shut off by metal railings to prevent falls so the scenery wasn't really that great, I thought anyway. 

Oh, I forgot to mention that although there are two elevators, you're not allowed to take the elevator down unless you're disabled. How strange is that right? When I visited last year, my brother's leg was hurt so he had special treatment and I acted as his 'support' so I got to ride it with him. It was quite funny when the doors opened and we see the looks of surprise on other people's faces and then the elevator girl stops them from walking on :D. Special treatment is the best!

My next Japan post will be about dinner that night while Yuye and I had more cravings for sushi trains. In fact, we went sushi train hopping as we weren't satisfied with just eating at one! Stay tuned my lovely readers. :)

Just out of interest, has any of you had both Osakan and Hiroshima style okonomiyakis? What did you think of both and which one was your favourite? I'd love to find out below!

Yukari Sennichimae Store (ゆかり千日前店)
Phone: 06-6647-8001
Namba Nankaidou (なんば南海道)
Opening hours: 11:00-23:00, last order at 22:20

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  1. I almost screamed when I saw the two little pekingese dogs! I love them! They're so adorable! The pancakes look so tasty :)

  2. @Choux-Fleur, they're gorgeous aren't they? :D Japanese people loveeee their dogs, they're so expensive! Most of the good ones go for over $1000AUD each. Although I think they might actually like their cats even more :)