When I was searching where to eat okonomiyaki in Osaka (pre-trip planning), Kiji’s name kept popping up. So I made that as my no 1 must-visit restaurant in Osaka. Kiji きじ has two restaurants in Osaka, one in Shinumeda Shokudogai (near Umeda and Osaka Station) which is the main shop/honten and the other one at Umeda Sky Building (about 2km away). Both are located at the same ward, Kita. Many people were confused between the two and so was I, originally.
At first, I wanted to visit the one at Umeda Sky Building because it seems to be a popular choice among tourist (just look at the number of English reviews at Tripadvisor). But because I’m short of time (tsk return trip from Umeda Sky Building to Osaka Station means having to waste about an hour of walking), I decided Shinumeda Shokudogai is the better choice. Besides, it seems more locals visit the main shop. FYI, Shinumeda Shokudogai 新梅田食道街 is an area populated with many restaurants and is located between Osaka Station & Umeda Station.
My, what a sight! On the left is pork okonomiyaki and right is squid okonomiyaki.
We took Ana Crowne Plaza free shuttle bus to Osaka Station on day 2 and from there we walked towards Umeda Station (Midosuji line) because we knew Shinumeda Shokudogai is around that area. Problem was there aren’t any signboards pointing to our destination. As I was looking at the map, a good samaritan asked me where I was headed and I told him. He said he’ll show us the way and began walking very fast (yup Japanese walks real fast) and I almost couldn’t catch up. He had to pause few times for us to catch up! Haha I don’t think I can explain how I reach Shinumeda Shokudogai because it all happened in a hurry+fuzzy mode. All I knew was I crossed over to another building (inside) and use a staircase I think. There aren’t any signs showing how to go to Shinumeda Shokudogai in English! (or maybe I missed it?) But the Japanese man did told me it’s difficult to find for tourist. Finally, we reached our destination and we said our appreciation and bade goodbye to him. And he walked back to the path where we came. He must be going to work since he was dressed in coat and tie. And for him to take some of his busy time to show us the way, I’m really touched. And this is one of the reasons why Osaka is my favorite city compared to Tokyo. I couldn’t find a single soul in Tokyo that could smile except those working behind the counters! (this is the main reason)
Kiji opens at 11.30am. We reached Kiji at 11.40am and were the fourth group in line. While waiting we were given the English menu and not long after the staff took our order. By the time we got called upstairs half an hour later [yup the restaurant is at 1st floor (2nd floor for Japan system)], the queue were pretty long. Although it’s located on the first floor, you need to enter on the ground floor. So don’t bother looking for elevator or common staircase. As soon as you reach Shinumeda Shokudogai, head to no. 48 (floor plan).
We sat here a bit while waiting for the customer to leave and the table cleaned. Can you see how small and narrow this place is? Not complaining as I dig this kind of establishment. Also, since this place is just beside the train track (YUP!), you’ll hear and can even feel the shake when trains are passing by. A wonderful experience in my opinion.
Finally seated at our table and that’s the counter seating view. I was seated behind the counter seating in my previous photo. So wanted to sit at the counter and see them cook but too bad. There will always be next time. 😉 Btw, you can keep your bag inside the square stool if you’re seating at the counter. For us, there’s a fish net like thingy behind where I sat for us to keep our bag.
Just like the modan-yaki, both the pork and squid okonomiyaki have the perfect balance of sweet, savory and salty. Now, this is the kind of okonomiyaki I love. Compared to the okonomiyaki I had at Fukutaro 福太郎 the previous day, this one from Kiji packs a lot more punches. Also, Kiji’s price is more wallet friendly and their okonomiyaki are far thicker (more ingredients). Can’t wait to go back for more! Highly recommended. FYI, Fukutaro were awarded with Bib Gourmand status too.
Tsk, I suspect Kiji’s okonomiyaki is the Hiroshima style since it’s thicker while Fukutaro’s one is Osaka style. Tell me if you know the answer.
We all agreed it was a very satisfying meal (more so than at Fukutaro) and left the restaurant with happy stomach! Haha. After our hearty lunch, we dropped by Kokoroniamai Anpanya (floor plan: no. 84, brown) for some local anpan. Thankfully, we remember how to navigate our way back to Osaka Station.
きじ 本店 Kiji (main shop/honten)
1F & 2F Shinumeda Shokudogai (1F here means ground floor)
大阪府 大阪市北区 角田町 9-20 新梅田食道街 1Ｆ・2Ｆ
Opening time: 11.30am-9.30pm, daily. Closed on Sunday
Nearest station: Umeda