When it comes to visiting Osaka, Dotonburi is a can't miss destination, especially for all the food lovers out there. This downtown area is home to incredible nightlife and entertainment, as well as hundreds of restaurants and food vendors selling everything from tempura on a stick, extra long matcha ice cream cones and pricey wagyu beef rice bowls to fresh, made-to-order okonomiyaki and our personal favorite, takoyaki. Dotonburi is perhaps one of the most crowded places we visited during our entire trip to Japan (comparable to Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo). It's funny because this is the only location where we were unable to get a photo with the both of us in it simply because it was too difficult to whip out our trusty tripod in the middle of all the craziness. Go figure!
To be fair, we did visit during the weekend, but we don't expect the week days to be much less busy given how much there is to do and eat here. We spent our entire evening wandering around, making sure to sample different types of street food every half an hour or so in between doing light souvenir and window shopping at the dozen of stores that line the main street in Dotonburi. We made our way to the bridge as well, where we watched performances by teenagers at night and enjoyed the beauty of the lights that people from all over the world came to see.
We definitely recommend a full 3-4 days to visit Osaka, given that there is much more to see in this city, including the famous Shinsaibashisuji Shopping Street and Osaka Castle, which we visited the next day in the afternoon. If we had more time in the city, we would have come back to Dotonburi more often just to eat more delicious food! Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post to check out our meal at the famous Matsuzakagyu Yakiniku M Restaurant!
Wagyu Beef at Matsuzakagyu Yakiniku M
If you have been following our Japanese adventures on the blog or through our Instagram, then you probably already know that there was no shortage of great food on our trip. From stuffing our faces full with mochi and endless bowls of ramen and udon, we managed to sample every popular Japanese dish during our 10 day best friend extravaganza. One of the meals we looked forward to the most was our meal at the ever-so-popular Matsuzakagyu Yakiniku M, which was recommended to us by a friend who visited the previous year and had a wonderful experience. For all those meat lovers out there, you may already be familiar with Wagyu beef, which is famous for its intense marbling and high percentage of oleaginous unsaturated fat (AKA melt in your mouth amazingness). The meat from wagyu cattle is extremely valuable and is known for it's quality, so believe it when we say that prices reflect the amount of care that is put into raising these cattle to produce such high quality beef. Some of the most popular wagyu beefs include Matsusaka beef, Kobe beef, Yonezawa beef, Mishima beef, and Ōmi beef.
We ordered the Special Course at ￥5,800 (~$58) per person, and we sampled everything including raw Matsusaka beef sushi, short ribs with garlic sauce, aromatic garlic rice, and of course, the start of the show, four different cuts of Matsusaka beef, which we grilled ourselves to perfection. It was an extremely fun experience, and we enjoyed comparing the different cuts of meat with various levels of marbling. We ended our course with a a scoop of sorbet and a slice of cream mille cake, which oddly resembled the Millie Crepes from Lady M, a standard favorite back in NYC. We would totally recommend checking this place out for a wagyu beef experience since it is one of the new restaurants that do not break the bank and offers a great value for the prices!
We booked our reservation about 1 week in advanced online, which was ample time in advance to get a reservation. That being said, we recommend booking or emailing the restaurants you are interested in dining at weeks in advanced since many places we wanted to eat at were already full.