Stand Takachiho スタンド 高千穂

Stand Takachiho is a popular little spot at the end of the Sanno Shotengai that attracts a mixed crowd of all ages. It’s a family owned business run by a delightful purple haired mama in her 80s. I was surprised that Takahiro has only been in business for two years. It seems like it has been around for decades. They are famous for their wonderful hot egg club sandwiches (¥480)

All food 250-700
Beer: Daibin 460
Chuhai 300~
Hi Ball 330
Sake 300~
Glass of wine 380~

Draft beer
Small 200
Medium 400
Large 500
Mega 780


西成区山王3-18-16 Nishinari Sanno 3-18-16
Osaka 557-0001

From Subway Dobutsuenmae Exit 2 Walk into the shotegai and walk all the way down until the shotengai completely ends. Takachiho is on the left. Open 17:00-23:00. Closed Sunday and Monday.




Hitomi Saketen 人見酒店 in Ebie

I’ve been meaning to come to this place in Ebie for 3-4 years. It was closed the first rime I went with a few friends after drinking around Noda Hanshin Station. Went there the other day and it was fantastic! 300 yen Kirin beer (not happoshu) in a nice sized glass. Chuhai and shochu only 200 yen. Sake 320 yen. Huge selection of whiskey and scotch. The young master was a really friendly guy. He told us Hitomi Saketen is 90 years old. It underwent a renewal 11 years ago. Nice long bar and plenty of space in the back. He gave me his meishi and his last name is 人見 so I assume he is the grandson(?) of the original owner. We had the homemade hamburger set of two and a bag of Doritos served in a plate. Ebie is a great place to explore and it is nice to have a bar to go to after drinking in Nakagawa Saketen near Nodahanshin Station. About a 12 minute walk from Nodahanshin Station. 大阪府大阪市福島区海老江3丁目6−19 Osaka-shi Fukushima-ku Ebie 3 chome 6-19.
電話: 06-6451-6523

Ichifuku (Takoyaki/Ikayaki) 一富久 Destination Hanazono Part 2

Address:大阪府 大阪市西成区 花園南 1-9-31  Osaka-shi Nishinari-ku Hanazono 1-9-13
Tel: 06-6657-0225
Open: Wednesday to Sunday. 11;00-19:30. Open on National Holidays. Closed Mon, Tues
Nearest Station; Hanazono Station Exit 3-B (5 minutes) Nankai Tengachaya West Exit 10 minutes
Type: Takoyaki, Ikayaki
Founded: 1958
Beer: Asahi Super Dry Can ¥300 yen with set.


On my second visit to Hanazono, I was fortunate enough to be taken to a landmark and institution by three locals who grew up in the area. Ichifuku has been serving takoyaki and ikayaki to hungry residents since 1958. Takoyaki and Ikayaki can be considered Osaka soul food and you don’t last sixty years unless you make the best.  Takoyaki has evolved over the years and some places add things like cheese but Ichifuku keeps it simple, and former residents of the area from all over Japan often come back to enjoy the same taste they remember from childhood.  Ichifuku recommends eating their takoyaki with two spoonfuls of ponzu vinegar and sprinkling them with Shichi-mi tōgarashi (唐辛子, seven-flavor chili pepper),

Ichifuku is primarily a takeout place. The staff will ask customers if they are in a hurry so they can prepare them quicker than usual. If you choose to eat at the counter (10 seats) you can watch them make your food at a much slower pace, and watching them mix the batter and turning them quickly  on the takoyaki grill so they don’t burn never gets old. The ikayaki press looks like the sort of contraption found at an old laundry used to take wrinkles out of disheveled trousers.  One of the best thing about Ichifuku is that the location keeps hoards of tourists away and you can experience eating takoyaki as a local. If it were in Namba or Umeda it would be as packed as say,  Wanaka (also excellent!) and the lines would be around the block.

Ichifuku is also known for their many sets and combos that will suit people who just want to have a snack and others who feeling like splurging on a full meal with cold beer, soup and a couple of tasty side dishes. There is even an option for vegetarians*. You can order the Tako-nashi set (¥400), 14 pieces loaded with ginger and scallions instead of octopus. *The set is not advertised as being vegetarian. I will confirm it on my next visit.

I am going to translate as much of the menu as I can below.

Takoyaki: 7 (¥320),  10 (¥440) , 15 (¥650)  I think they had prices listed for 5, 8, and 20 too.

Takoyaki Drink Set: 7 takoyaki plus soft drink: cola, cider, orange soda, oolong tea (¥420)

Takoyaki Beer Set:  7 takoyaki plus can of Asahi Super Dry (¥620)

Takoyaki Soup: Contains 6 takoyaki (¥400)

Takoyaki Negi Nose: Takoyaki topped with scallions 7 (¥360)  10 (¥480)

Takoyaki Negi Nose Beer Set:  Takoyaki topped with scallions + Can of Asahi Super Dry Beer 7 (¥660),  10 (¥780)

Takoyaki Healthy Set:  7 Takoyaki, Toroten (心太 gelidium jelly –made into thin strips and eaten with vinegar) and two spoonfuls of black honey. (¥520)

Osumashi Set:  7 Takoyaki and osumashi soup (¥420)

Tako-nashi Set:  14 pieces loaded with ginger and scallions instead of octopus (¥400),


Suyaki: Squid grilled in vineger (ponzu?) No eggs. (¥270)

Ikayaki Tamago:  (squid omelet)  (¥320)

Ikayaki Tamago W: Same as above. Think W stands for Wide. (¥370)

Kyabe Tamago  Squid cabbage and eggs omelet (¥420)

Kyabe Tamago W: Same as above but wide? Will confirm. (¥520)

Ikasupe Think this stands for Ika special. Must confirm (¥520)

Beer Set: Add ¥300 for can of Asahi Super Dry

Soft Serve Ice Cream ¥150


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Tamayu Ramen Tengaiten (タマユラメン天外天)

AKA 博多ラーメン天外天

Address: 大阪府大阪市西成区1-2-13  Osaka-shi Nishinari-ku Matsu 1-2-13
Open: Everyday from 11;30-14:00,  18:00-05:00)
Nearest Station; Hanazono Station Exit 3-B (5 minutes) Nankai Tengachaya West Exit 6 minutes
Type: Chinese Restaurant
Founded: ?
Beer: Asahi Super Dry Medium Bottle: 500 yen





I decided to set off in search of the legendary Osaka Ramen (大阪らーめん), a located favorite that is famous for 200 yen ramen. The price was 100 yen for many years. I have been going to Osaka Hanten大阪飯店, another local favorite near Kishinosato Station that is also famous for it’s delicious 200 yen ramen. I found out that the master of Osaka Hanten served as an apprentice at Osaka Ramen for several years before deciding to open his own place in the mid eighties. The owner of Osaka Ramen is getting up there in years so his restaurant is only open sporadically. I could have called ahead, or at least written down the address, but sometimes it is more fun to just explore, especially in the age of smart phones with precise GPS that can pinpoint any location.

I got off at Tengachaya Station and walked towards Kita Tengachaya Station on the Hankai Line (Tram). Osaka Ramen is actually one stop down, near Matsuda Station, a short walk away but I didn’t know that at the time and started walking back to the other side of Tengachaya Station. I wandered around aimlessly for about 20 minutes and came across a ramen shop that advertised Nagasaki Chanpon called Tamayu Tengaiten(タマユラメン天外天 The Italian style tomato ramen with cream cheese caught my eye and I was getting hungry. Decided to go in.  The place was about to close for the afternoon, but I managed to get my order in. There was only one guy doing all the cooking, probably a good sign. I don’t want my ramen prepared by some part-time high school kid whose heart is not into it.

The tomato ramen was good but it did not fill me up for 750 yen. I realized that I should have gotten the set for a couple of hundred yen more or at least ordered a side of gyoza like I usually do.  Decided to walk back towards Tengachaya Station and stumbled upon the entrance to Hanazono Street, which is located between Tengachaya and Haginochaya Station.  The entire street has a very Showa 80s vibe. I realized that I had never been in this area between. I walk a bit up the block and there it was…Osaka Ramen. But it was closed.






Osaka Ramen

Tunnel Yokocho Nishi Kujo


Entrance to Tunnel Yokocho in Nishi-Kujo

Tunnel Yokocho トネル横丁(tunnel alley) is home to six bars and restaurants, three on each side of a narrow passageway that runs through a building across the street from Nishi Kujo Station on the Loop Line. Tunnel Yokocho was named after the nearby Ajigawa Ito (aka Ajigawa Tunnel) which was completed in 1944. Ajigawa Tunnel is the only tunnel in Japan that runs through a river bed. It connects Nishi Kujo to Konohana. Commuters take an elevator down to the bottom of the river and then walk 81 meters through the narrow tunnel to the elevator on the other side. Bicycles are permitted inside the elevator. (There is another elevator for cars, but it is no longer in operation.)

Canadian photographer JYT and I came to Nishi Kujo from Chibune (see last blog post) because I wanted to take him to Sezon, the oldest izakaya in Tunnel Yokocho. I had eaten there three or four times before and it was always good. Unfortunately, Sezon was closed, so I decided to take JYT to one of the best tachinomiya’s in Osaka, Kobayashi, which is run by a very nice old couple. We got there and it was also closed. That’s what happens when you go drinking a day before New Year’s Eve in Japan. After wandering around aimel for 30 minutes we decided to head back to Tunnel Yokocho because we knew a couple of places inside were still open.


BAR WESTERN Harley on The Rocks


Address: Nishi Kujo 4-1-23-19 Tunnel Yokocho
 〒〒大阪 府大阪市此花区西九条4-1-23  19番飲食街 トンネル横丁
Nearest Station; JR Nishi Kusho (1 minute)
Type: shot bar
Founded: Heisei 29  (2017)
Beer: shobin 小瓶 (small bottle) Kirin (¥500) Budweiser (¥550)/Corona (¥600)

Upon entering Tunnel Yokocho I noticed that there was a new bar in a space that had always been empty whenever I visited called Bar-Western Harley on The Rocks. I peeked inside and remarked, “This looks like a gaijin bar without any gaijin.” Then suddenly the door opened and we were greeted by a young Japanese guy in a cowboy hat who invited us to come inside. Normally, I would have politely refused, but I had always wanted to drink in all six bars and restaurants in Tunnel Yokocho. And we were tired from walking around in the cold. What the hell. We’ll go inside for one drink. The bar was owned by the young man, and an older woman who I am pretty sure was his mother. As soon as we sat down she told us that they both absolutely love Harley Davidson motorcycles, but they actually own Suzuki motorcycles.

I noticed a Japanese poster for The Great Escape, (Daidassou 大脱走), the 1963 film starring Steve McQueen, James Garner and Charles Bronson. I’ve noticed a lot of Japanese people of a certain age love this film, especially the scene in which McQueen escapes on a motorcycle. The proprietress told me that she was also a huge fan of Charles Bronson. “He’s an American Indian, right?” I happened to remember that Bronson’s real name is Buchinsky, so I told her he was Polish (actually Lithuanian).  JYT asked her if she saw Death Wish, but the title was different in Japanese and she had no idea what he meant.  This is always a bit frustrating when talking about movies in Japanese, especially old movies. “I wish there was some kind of machine that just translated the titles instantly so we don’t have to go through this every time”, I fumed. JYT calmly pulled out his iPhone and looked up the title: Okamiyosaraba (狼よさらば). Oh!

The proprietress told us that her all-time favorite movie was The Godfather. She pointed to a poster hanging behind the bar. “Godfather I and II…not III, right?” She nodded. Just as I thought, nobody with any taste likes Godfather III. We recommended The Sopranos and Goodfellas. The Sopranos never caught on in Japan, but we were surprised that she had never seen Goodfellas, which is called “Good Fellows” (グッドフェローズ) in Japan. No wonder she hadn’t seen it. It sounds like a British whimsical comedy from the 1960s.

We ordered pizza and beer. I got a Corona with an actual lime, which are expensive in Japan. The young master came over to talk to us. He a massive fan of 80s music and had the television set up to a Mega Hits 80s channel on YouTube that was playing “Jump” by Van Halen. He said he loved Men at Work and  Cyndi Lauper. I told him I saw Cyndi Lauper open for The Kinks in 1983 before she was famous.

I noticed a jar of Shine On Georgia Corn Whiskey that was 80 proof and contained 40% alcohol . The tagline on the label said “First ya’ swaller, Then you holler!” One glass of shochu usually is enough to make me woozy, so I wasn’t about to try legal moonshine from Bardstown, Kentucky in Osaka, Japan.

I wasn’t expecting to like Bar Western so much, but I did have a very good time here chatting with the owners. A nice place to have a drink before exploring the rest of Tunnel Yokocho and the many bars near Nishi Kujo Station.

Nishi Kubo Cowboy



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Ajimuso 味むそう


Address: Nishi Kujo 4-1-23-19 Tunnel Yokocho
 〒〒大阪 府大阪市此花区西九条4-1-23  19番飲食街 トンネル横丁
Nearest Station; JR Nishi Kusho (1 minute)
Type: izakaya
Founded: ?
Price for a nama chuu生中 draft beer: Too drunk to remember.

A party of 4-5 young salaryman entered Bar Western and asked if there was enough room for a few more of their friends. Small bars make their money from selling hard liquor to loyal customers with deeper pockets than ours. It was time to leave anyway. JYT didn’t sign up for the Corona and pizza tour. We headed across the hall to Ajimuso and sat down at a table near the door. We ordered beef tataki ham katsu and a plate of french fries  Nice sized portions. JYT got much better photos of the beef tataki. It doesn’t look very appetizing on my iPod Touch photo, but trust me it was delicious.

A young guy walked by in a t-shirt that said Fuck You Bad Girls Drink Milk. The Wisconsin Dairy Association has really upped it’s game in promoting milk in the Far East. Actually, I have wondered about who designs these English t-shirts and how many are manufactured. They definitely don’t sell them at Uniqlo. A nice lady sitting with two gentlemen at the next table gave us homemade kimichi. Bringing in  food to a restaurant and giving it out to other customers not something that is tolerated in most places, but it happens frequently at many of the places I go to in Osaka, usually with regulars who have a good relationship with the owners.

The next day I was browsing through Netflix Japan and came across a series called Osaka Loop Line: A Love Story at Every Station. The Nishi Kujo episode filmed inside Tunnel Yokocho about a man from Tokyo who encounters the mysterious Tunnel Yokocho Devil. After failing to lure the man to a love hotel, the devil (who looks like a hipster) tries to lead him to hell through the Ajigawa Tunnel.  Unfortunately it was the worst episode in the entire series.


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Kuise Station (Hyogo) & Chibune Station (Osaka)

I took the train from Hanshin Namba (which I had no idea existed until today), towards Amagasaki and changed trains for the Umeda line at Daimotsu.  I got off one stop later at Kuise Station. The entire ride took 20 minutes, much shorter than expected, but I managed to finish reading Suicide Casanova, a very entertaining novel by Arthur Nessian. This was my first time in Kuise and it reminded me a bit of Taisho Station on the Loop Line. I was here to meet JYT, a trilingual photographer and teacher from Montreal who has lived in Japan for sixteen years. He arrived on his bicycle a few minutes later and we set out to explore the nearby Showa Shopping Road.

Ikenaga Saketen 池永 酒店


Address: Hyogo Ken Amagasaki shi Kuise Honmachi 1 Chome 24-13
〒660-0814 兵庫県尼崎市杭瀬本町1丁目24−13
Tel: 06-6481-2441
Nearest Station; Hanshin Kuise (5 minutes)
Type: kakuuchi 角打ち(combined liquor store and bar)
Founded: Showa 6 (1931)
Price for a daibin 大瓶 (large bottle of beer)  : ¥400*

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Tanakaman Saketen 田中萬酒店

Visited Tanakaman Saketen (田中萬酒店) in Nishinakajima Minamigata last month. The mama has been running it for 55 years. She said I was the first foreigner to set foot in the place, but her son corrected her: There was a drunken NOVA teacher who stumbled in back in the 90s. Get off at Exit #2. Cross the street to Hotel Consort and walk down three blocks until you come to an overpass. It’s on the right. Check out the dried fugu (poison blow fish) hanging on the wall. Cheap drinks, delicious homemade food and friendly regulars. 田中萬酒店 (西中島南方) TEL 06-6301-4164
大阪府大阪市淀川区西中島1-14-2. Osaka shi Yodogawa ku Nishi Nakajima 1-14-2
営業時間 Open Monday to Saturday* (closed some Saturdays when the mama doesn’t feel like working) 18:00~22:30頃 定休日 Closed Sundays. 日祝日Closed Holidays.