by Matt Kaufman
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.)
大阪市此花区西九条４－１－２３ トンネル横丁内 (Nishikujo 4-1-23 Tunnel Yokokicho). Open: １６：４５～２３：００ Closed Sundays and Holidays.
There’s a famous dive bar/izakaya inside called Sezon with an extensive menu (cheap!). Delicious food. We ordered the potato pizza, buta kimchi, smoked chicken and tako tempura. Get there early because Sezon fills up with regulars.
My dining companions (The DJ known as Analog Attack and Dr Pete Larson) and I decided to order a dish called shiozaki, salted salmon. The Fish arrived. It was a beautiful fish garnished with a bright yellow lemon slice and deep green spinach. Three foreigners sitting at the bar put down their beers, pulled out their cameras and jumped out of their chairs at the same time to take a photo of The Fish.
We are proud to present three photos of The Fish taken at different angles for your perusal and enjoyment. The third photo of The Fish has not been released to the public yet. It was taken by Dr. Pete Larson, a photographer and scholar based in Kenya. I am confident that his photo will reinterpret the way we look at The Fish. Not just this fish, but all fish in general.
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
After Sezon we went 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. The beef tataki 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 its 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.