Hozenji Yokocho: Japan’s little food heaven

Hozenji Yokocho alley

Japan is definitely a country rich with culture, traditions and good food. For food lovers or simply the adventurous type, one of the most popular place to when in Osaka is the Hozenji Yokocho. It literally means – the street beside Hozenji. This 80 meters long and 3-meter wide street is lined with a stone walkway that gives a visitor the old Osaka feel, particularly from the Edo Period. This famous alley is filled with numerous restaurants and cafes that serve authentic and exquisite Japanese cuisine.

Ogiyoshisan [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

At the map of Osaka, it is located at 1-2-16 Namba, Chuo-ko, Osaka and is just right beside the well-known Dotonbori. It is a 5-minute walk from Namba Station that is found on the Nankai and Kintetsu railways, Subway Midosuji, and Sennichimae line. All other access include a 6-minute walk from Nipponbashi station, a 10-minute walk from Yotsubashi station and 12 minutes by walking from Shinsaibashi station. The place became an instant hit when it was featured in a novel by Sakunosuke Oda called Meoto Zenzai or Sweet Bean Broth for two. Ever since it also became a heaven for a young cook to learn some serious Japanese cooking.

Hozenji Yokocho temple

At the end of the alley, a temple can be found that is said to be popular among the tourists. It was in the year 1637 that the temple was built and occupies a much larger area as compared to what it is today. It was previously called Sennichij, which means 1,000 days temple. Even before, small food stalls and teahouses were placed around the temple to sell and provide refreshments to the pilgrims visiting the temple. However, during the World War II, the whole place was bombed and was nearly destroyed except for one statue. Due to its survival from the war, it became famous among the locals. The temple is open every day for 24 hours.

The Statue of Fudo Myo-o or the wrathful god is a Buddhist spirit who was believed to represent discipline. Among the tourists, it is said to grant wishes and ward off evil spirit. In addition to this, Myo-o not only prevents disasters but also drive away enemies. Also, it has been believed that it is good for matchmaking and business. According to the customs, water should be poured on the statue as a sign of purifying oneself. Furthermore, the statue has a fountain in front of it that caused the statue to be completely filled with green moss. It eventually earned the nickname Mizukake-Fudo, which means splashing water Fudo.

Hozenji Yokocho alley opening hours

The narrow and majestic street of Hozenji Yokocho is open both day and night. Some would advise that it is better to visit it during the day and the night as well. Visiting it at night gives the visitor a remarkable one-of-a-kind experience while walking through the lamp filled street that emanates a vintage glow. But, visiting it during the day still makes the place beautiful as statues and stone monuments can be well observed. In addition to this, some restaurants open for business during the night so visitors can conveniently grab dinner while touring around the place.

Hozenji Yokocho alley food

There is no denying that Hozenji Yokocho is definitely a food haven. A haven that is ready to unleash a foodie for every visitor of this remarkable place. The large variety of local and authentic cuisines will probably leave any visitor with the hard decision of where to eat. The stalls and restaurants are a little bit different with the other Yokocho since it gives a more sophisticated feel. Always make sure to be ready to dive-in to a number of food choices such as teppanyaki grills, kushikatsu (skewered deep-fried vegetable or meat dipped on soy sauce), okonomiyaki savory pancakes (a thick savory pancake served on an iron plate grilling), katsudon pork cutlets, duck nabe (Japanese hot pot) and even the famous Japanese wagyu beef. Of course, nothing completes the Japan experience without a serving of their Japanese sake served in a traditional way.

Hozenji Yokocho alley restaurants


The Meotozenzai is a go-to restaurant for someone craving for sweet beans. The word Meoto literally means husband and wife in Japanese. While the word zenzai refers to dumplings or rice cakes submerged in a sweet and savory bean soup. Interestingly, there is a belief that if a married couple eats this delicious delicacy, they will be able to live happily together. This restaurant serves two bowls that are said to be enough for one person.

It is located on the first floor of Hozenji Meouto building that is a 5-minute walk from the subway (Midosuji-line Namba station) exit 14. It is open every day from Monday to Sunday from 10 in the morning to 10 in the evening. For the price of 1,000 Japanese Yen, one can enjoy eating at this place.

Hozenji Sanpei

For over 40 years, this little gem has been serving the best Osaka okonomiyaki around the Hozenji Yokocho. Though, there are still a lot of okonomiyaki stalls that can be considered. The konnyaku pancake that is generously stuffed with ingredients and beautifully topped with green onions. It has a fluffy texture that is served with beef tendon stock.

It is located at exactly 1-7-10 Dotonbori, Chuo-ko that is 5 minutes away from the subway (Midosuji-line Namba station) exit 14. It is open on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 5 in the afternoon to 11 in the evening. Furthermore, it also opens on Friday and Sunday, with opening hours of 5 in the afternoon to 12 midnight. Also, during Saturdays, it opens for shorter business hours from 11 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon. Lastly, during public holidays it operates by 11 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon then opens again in 5 in the afternoon to 11 at night. One should take note that it is closed every Tuesday. The price range is around 1,000 to 2,000 Yen for lunch and 2,000 to 3,000 Yen for dinner.

Katsudon Hozenji Yokocho

This restaurant has made its name and has been serving an unforgettable katsudon to each and every customer who visits their place. The tender pork cutlet that is served with half cooked egg is definitely a must try. Also, it is served separately with rice so it can be enjoyed either with or without rice. The crispy pork is swimming in an abundant serving of semi-sweet thick broth that is seasoned just right. For every serving comes with free old-fashioned umeboshi and pickled daikon. For international travelers, the menu will be hard to read because there is no English translation so ordering will be purely based on pictures.

It is located at 1-1-18 Namba, Chuo-ko that is a 5-minute walk from the subway (Midosuji-line Namba station) exit 14. It is open on Monday then Wednesday up to Sunday and is normally closed on Tuesday. The operating hours are from 11 in the morning to 9 in the evening. For an affordable price of 700 to 1,000 yen, the famous katsudon can be enjoyed either for lunch or dinner.

Matsusakagyu Yakiniku 

The Hozenji Yokocho experience would not be complete without eating their popular beef, Matsusaka gyu. The Matsusaka beef is one of the most expensive type of beef in Japan, probably almost the same standard as that of the wagyu and Kobe beef. This place has gained the respect of food lovers around the world and even won several awards. The restaurant was awarded a certificate of excellence for 2014 and 2015. Also, they were recognized by TripAdvisor as being regarded by many foreign customers who have visited their place. The premium beef is either served on platters or a variety of three courses. In addition to this, other foods available are pork, chicken, vegetable, and seafood. But, one should not miss their exquisite Matsusaka beef sushi, which would surely be a travel's worth.

In the city of Osaka, it is located 1-1-19 Namba, Chuo-ko. It is open 7 days a week but only during dinner at 5 in the afternoon to 12 midnight. But, if lunch is preferred, it opens during weekend and holiday from 12 to 3 in the afternoon. It is quite popular so booking a reservation is a must before visiting the restaurant. For lunch, the price would be around 1,000 Yen. But, for dinner, the price range is 4,000 to 10,000 Yen.

Kushikatsu Daruma

Since 1929, this famous restaurant has been giving their customer a worth of their money. Along with their kushikatsu, it is served with a flavorful sauce of your choice. The available sauces are the coating, good oil and their very own original signature sauce. The kushikatsu are a meat skewered local delicacy that is usually deep fried.

It is located at 1-1-4 Namba Chuo-ko, though, there also a lot of braches outside of Hozenji Yokocho. It is open every day from 12 in the afternoon up to 10 in the evening. To better enjoy eating at this place, it is better to consider the price at 2,000 Yen for lunch and 3,000 Yen for dinner.

Hozenji Yokocho: Sushi Kappo Seitaro

Located at the heart of Hozenji Yokocho is a restaurant called Sushi Kappo Seitaro. They serve only fresh and high-quality fish and shellfish that comes with their dishes such as sashimi, nigiri, and a variety of sushi. Their choices on the menu are not only a feast for the mouth but also a feast for the eyes because of the beautiful presentation of the dishes. The place operates by the word, Gan-puku, which means eye happiness in Kanji. The customers enjoy their food as well as the exquisite designs of the tableware, wallpapers, accessories, and logo that are intricately designed by artists and craftsmen. It is located at 1-7-11 Dotonbori, Chuo-ko and is open every day from 4 in the afternoon to 10:30 in the evening.

Ogiyoshisan [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Japan guide to Hozenji Yokocho alley

Getting around Hozenji Yokocho would be better if visitors would be booked in a hotel nearby the culture filled street. One of the most recommended nearby is the hotel, Keiko. It a 3-star hotel that is approximately a 10-minute walk from Hozenji Yokocho. It is regarded as a good hotel at a reasonable price, definitely a money's worth. For a more affordable accommodation, there is another nearby hotel, the Y's cabin. In addition to this, it is considered to be a cabin hotel that is more economical and cheaper. For a more authentic hotel experience, the Midosuji is an onsen bath just a few meters from Hozenji Yokocho. It has an indoor and outdoor natural hot springs that the guests will surely enjoy. 

Hozenji Yokocho: robatayaki mizukake Chaya

The robatayaki is quite known for the locals and tourists as one of the traditional ways of cooking by the Japanese. It is also known as fireside cooking where the chef will cook a variety of dishes (chicken, seafood, and vegetables) over a hot charcoal beside the dining customer. The Robatayaki Mizukake Chaya is a little hole-in-the-wall along the small alley in Osaka filled with delicious food and gives off warmth through its ambiance. The best seat would be near the hot charcoal grill where the food is best served hot and well cooked. Each plate that is good for one person is at an affordable price of 300 Yen.

Hozenji Yokocho: The home of yakiniku

There are quite a few restaurants is Hozenji Yokocho that serves Yakiniku due to the reason that it is definitely a must try. However, the most well-known among the locals and travelers is the Matsusakagyu Yakiniku M. Yakiniku is a Japanese term for grilled meat cuisine or in the Western culture would be referred to as barbeque. In this popular restaurant, cattle are raised in the suburban city of Matsusaka, between Izumi and Miyagawa River. The cows are fed with beer that gives them a healthy appetite and it also promotes good circulation within the animal's body. Through this, the meat from the cows is ensured to be high quality and delicious.