Special on Local Sakai Foods


After touring the Mozu Tumuli Cluster and the historic old town, next you will definitely want to relax and enjoy some delicious fine Sakai dining. For the sake of tourists who want to eat the famous dishes of Sakai, or those who just cannot choose from all the delights on offer, we have created a list of locally-loved restaurants and exciting new spots. From fresh seafood dishes to folk cuisine and reasonably priced set meals, you will find plenty of places with a real at-home atmosphere, where you can get to know the character of the owners. Experience delicious food while also being touched by the hospitality of Sakai.

01. Sakai's Seafood


One of the reasons for the old name for Osaka, "Naniwa," is its meaning of "an ocean with plenty of fish." The Osaka Bay has been famous for its rich blessings from the sea since ancient times, and the port of Sakai has also developed as a high-quality fishing and trading port. This history means that even today plenty of deliciously fresh seafood flow into Sakai, coming from local Sakai ports, southern Osaka, and other nearby ports.



Machi no Minato Maguro Park Sakai store

Enjoy the full raw Pacific bluefin tuna! One of the largest fresh fish markets in Kansai

A fresh fish and food market that opened in 2018 summer and covers approximately 2700 square meters. The main attraction is the king of tuna, Pacific bluefin tuna, also known as "black diamond" and used in the highest class of sushi. As it is brought in fresh and alive to the market, it boasts the very best in terms of fattiness and taste. The Raw Pacific Bluefin Tuna Butchering Show is held every day. The appeal of this display lies not only in being able to observe a 40-50kg tuna being expertly divided up with a knife, but also being able to purchase the resulting freshly made dishes and sushi at highly reasonable prices. In the food court you can sample a tuna rice bowl, set meals, or some of the seafood purchased from the market.



The popular Raw Pacific Bluefin Tuna Butchering Show.
The tuna is divided into fatty tuna, medium fatty tuna, and lean tuna, depending on the part and the degree of fattiness. Here you can also learn the best ways to eat each type.


Operated by Daiki Suisan, a popular fresh fish and conveyor belt sushi restaurant in the Kansai region, the interior is wide and relaxing. Here you can find fresh fish delivered direct from the producers and a replete sushi section.


"Mega-Size Seafood Rice Bowl" ¥980
The ¥1,280 "Tuna Indulgence Tuna Set," allowing you to perform your own taste comparison of fatty tuna, medium fatty tuna, and lean tuna, is made from ingredients purchased at the market (all prices are excluding tax).


Medium fatty tuna has a vivid pink color! All of this goes on sale in the store as soon as the butchering show is complete.

Just looking over the selection of fresh seasonal fish is fun too! During winter, high-grade snow crab also appears.

There is also a photo spot in the kids' corner. Try your hand at landing a massive tuna with this illusory art!

There are 220 seats in the food court. It is fantastic to be able to eat fresh seafood right where you purchased it.

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Izakaya Oyaji

Boasting fresh fish delivered direct from the producing area! A famous Japanese-style bar loved by the locals

A well-known spot run by Mr. Kawase, who hails from a fishmonger family, along with his wife and their son. Their pride and joy is, of course, their fresh seafood dishes. Predominantly using fresh fish sent direct from fishing ports in Wakayama, they offer seasonal fish from every region and deliciously fatty Pacific bluefin tuna, as well as arrangements of sliced raw fish, tempura, and boiled fish, letting you enjoy the full range of deliciousness that fish can offer. The eel and octopus Sashimi in summer, and pufferfish and grouper hotpot in winter are also fantastic! If it is your first time, definitely take a counter-seat. Chatting with the warm Kawase family and regulars sitting alongside, you are sure to unlock a deeper level of appeal to Sakai.
*If you are visiting from overseas, you will require someone to translate.


The friendly, homely interior. There are sunken kotatsu seats and counter seats.


Sashimi Assortment ¥1,200 ~. Sakai's famous Eel Tempura ¥580.
They also have a replete selection of local sake, including the famous Sakai "Sen no Rikyu." (All prices are excluding tax)


Left: Takeshi Kawase, the son of the family. Chatting across the counter is all part of the Japanese bar experience.
Right: A "Traffic Signal Special," wrapping walleye pollack roe and onions in a fluffy Japanese omelet ¥530 (including tax).




This comes highly recommended too!


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02. Sakai Folk Cuisine


Another highly enjoyable facet of the tour is to enjoy the simple flavors long-loved by the locals, including things like okonomiyaki and udon noodles. Retro interiors and chatting with owners and staff will also surely become precious memories. Many of these spots are open at lunchtime, making them perfect to drop in during your sightseeing.


Tori to Udon to Genki na Sake Happu

The popular "Curry Udon" is perfected by the Japanese stock.

5 minutes on foot from Sakai Station on the Nankai Line. A Japanese-style bar famous for chargrilled chicken dishes and udon noodles. Their "Curry Udon" is especially popular, and can be enjoyed at lunchtime in a special set that comes with rice and a side dish. One taste is all it will take to get you hooked, and is the product of the stock used in a lot of Japanese cooking. Mixing the thick bonito stock into the curry roux creates an incredible richness, which perfectly compliments the smooth and slippery noodles. There is also a varied selection of toppings on offer, including beef, and prawn tempura. The Japanese love curry, so take this chance to try some delicious curry-based cuisine created by them!


Sit in the quintessentially Japanese sunken kotatsu. There are paper aprons available to help keep curry off your clothes.


Left: Lunchtime limited menu "Happu Curry Udon Set," ¥880 ( excluding tax). It comes with white rice or one rice ball, and a salad.
Right: The "Chicken Nanban Tartar Sauce," ¥680 ( excluding tax), from the night time menu. Chicken immersed in sweet vinegar is then crisply fried and served with tartar sauce.




Okonomiyaki Hikari

Founded in 1960. Enjoy the famous tonpei-yaki in retro surroundings.

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese-style savory pancake made by mixing any ingredients you like into a flour-based base and then grilling it on a piping-hot metal plate. It is beloved as a representative example of Osaka folk cuisine, and can really fill you up for a very reasonable price. Hikari has been loved by people working in the business district of Sakai for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for around 60 years. Even today, they still open from 5am, and many treat the owner couple like their own parents. The tonpei-yaki is one menu item you should particularly try. This staple on hotplate menus in Kansai involves soft Japanese black pork wrapped in a stock-infused egg base and fluffily fried up.


The greatest joy of an okonomiyaki specialist restaurant is being able to fill your mouth with piping hot food prepared on a hotplate right in front of you.


Located right next to Sakaihigashi Station on the Nankai Line. Look for the retro red sign board, and you will find varied menu like yakisoba and other delicious food.

Tonpei-Yaki Set Meal ¥950 (including tax). Includes rice, miso soup, and a small side dish, giving you plenty to tuck into.

Okonomiyaki will be cooked fluffy and fresh right in front of your eyes by the couple who own the restaurant. The amazing aroma of the sauce is tempting too!

Okonomiyaki with Pork ¥800 (including tax). It is also recommended to order a selection of flavors and share with your party.

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This comes highly recommended too!


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03. Sakai Set Meals


One traditional Japanese menu item is known as "one soup three dishes," to let you enjoy the combination of main dish with rice, miso soup, salads, and other dishes. The excellent nutritional balance this provides is one of the secrets of the long lives of the Japanese people. In restaurants this is often called a "set meal," with most places offering one at lunch for less than ¥1000. So it is good for your wallet as well as your body!



Umekisanchi no Daidokoro

Enjoy healthy set meals during the daytime or at night

The motto is "making healthy food taste good." They also carefully select the producers of ingredients and the methods of preparation. At lunchtime the cutlet rice bowl made with soft and juicy black pork is very popular, and there is plenty of it too! The lustrous rice is grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, aiding in further drawing out the deliciousness of the meat. The night time menu prominently features dishes using delicious branded pork, such as "Roppaku Kurobuta" from Kagoshima and "Awaoori" from Tokushima. As well as single dishes and set courses, the economical night time set meals are also more than worth a look, including Sashimi, tempura, and a small side dish.


Black Pork Loin Cutlet Rice Bowl Set ¥780 (excluding tax)
A filling choice that is only available at lunch time. It even comes with a healthy apple vinegar drink.


The modern interior includes counter seating, meaning you can casually enjoy dining even when alone.

The night time only "Gochiso Set meal" ¥1800 (excluding tax). A special set with soy milk hotpot.

A private room for six people. There are other private rooms that can accommodate up to sixteen people, allowing for groups to dine in privacy.

Just looking at the orange signboard gives you energy. They also sell lunchboxes during lunchtime.

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This comes highly recommended too!


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The center of nightlife in Sakai is the Sakai Ginza Shopping Street!


If you want to enjoy an evening meal, or stroll along while drinking at night, then the Sakai Ginza Shopping Street comes highly recommended. The entrance is right in front of Sakai Station on the Nankai Line, allowing an easy access. With the shopping street spreading before you, you will encounter a cluster of eating places that includes casual Japanese style bars, cafes, and restaurants, thronging with locals every night. Further appeal lies in the variety of genres on offer, from fresh seafood to sushi, katsuage, and ethnic dishes. The narrow side street also feature small bars - standing room only! - so why not make a night of it and take a proper tour?





Model: Vu Thi Tra My (Anela Model)

Photographer: Naoki Matsuda

Report & Text: Noriko Yamaguchi

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