I purposely selected our Osaka Airbnb based on its proximity to Kuromon Market:
Actually, thinking back, I typically choose all my vacation lodging based on proximity to food/markets.
There were quite a few people when we first arrived, but it gradually got harder and harder to move forward as the morning progressed:
We did a quick walk through of the market first to scope out what we wanted to eat. Then we doubled back to hit up the vendors that were most interesting.
This particular store offered a wide variety of snacks (and free samples!) as well as daifuku (Japanese confections made with mochi):
It was difficult narrowing down our options:
But we finally decided on these three:
From left to right: sakura mochi (120 yen or around $1.20), kusa mochi (120 yen or around $1.20), and the strawberry red bean dumplings (150 yen or around $1.50).
The strawberry one was literally glutinous rice balls on a stick, slathered with red bean paste and topped with slices of strawberries:
The kusa mochi was made from mugwort, filled with red bean paste, then sprinkled with soy bean powder:
The sakura mochi was actually a glutinous rice ball filled with red bean paste and wrapped in some kind of leaf:
I'm not sure whether we were supposed to eat the leaf, but I did. Since I'm still alive, I'm guessing it's edible. And don't ask me what sakura tastes like. I still have no clue.
Our next stop was this beef heaven:
This has to be the best marketing strategy in all of history:
How can we get people to buy wagyu beef at crazy prices? Oh, I know! Why don't we grill slices of our product and let the tantalizing smell of sizzling beef draw in all the suckers?
Guess who was a sucker?
We had no idea what we were buying (all the labels for the different cuts of beef were in Japanese), so we randomly picked one that was mid-range in cost. We asked for "one order" (whatever that means) and waited as it was grilled for us:
This tiny tray set us back 1588 yen (around $15.88). It definitely hurt, but YOLO, I guess. And I will admit that it was some pretty freakin' amazing beef.
The first extravagant purchase is always the hardest. Once it's over with, it becomes easier to toss money at other things. It's like you just give up and tell yourself, "Oh, what the heck. I'm on vacation!"
We were drawn to this little old lady:
These giant scallops just looked so pretty (600 yen or around $6):
We kept seeing fruit vendors selling these mysterious white strawberries. We didn't really want to commit a large amount of money for a small cup of strawberries, so we got excited when we saw this guy selling white strawberry juice:
For some reason, we thought it would be a better deal to spend 1000 yen ($10) on a cup of juice:
In hindsight, we really should have just bought the damn fruit. The juice tasted like watered down strawberry candy. Still don't get what the fuss about white strawberries is about.
At the other end of the market, we came across this place:
Once we saw this, we couldn't be budged:
Three pieces of toro sushi for 1500 yen ($15)? Yes, please!:
While we're at it, please throw in four pieces of tuna maki for 800 yen ($8):
Actually, you know what? Just give me all the magical tuna and you can have all my monies. Take it. TAKE ALL MY MONIES!
Kuromon Market. I highly recommend it. Just make sure to bring lots and lots of cash. And when I say cash, I mean it. Don't expect to use your fancy cards. If you're low on bills, here's a tip for you: hit up the nearest 7-11. Besides post office ATMs, 7-11 ATMs are the only ones in Japan that accept foreign cards.
It's probably a blessing that we only stayed one full day in Osaka. Living so close, I would have blown through my entire trip budget with multiple visits back to Kuromon Market.