Japan: Osaka Takoyaki Museum

If you follow my blog regularly, you already know that Japan is a curious place with many novel and unique destinations worth visiting. Sometime ago, I introduced you to Yokohama’s Cup Noodle Museum (https://traveldreamscapes.wordpress.com/category/japan/yokohama/cup-noodle-museum/) and today I would like to take you on a journey through Osaka’s Takoyaki Museum.

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Osaka is famous for a multitude of things, but most commonly for its love of food. Takoyaki originated in Osaka over 75 years ago and a street vendor named Endo Tomekichi is credited with its invention. Takoyaki is a ball of dough stuffed with pieces of octopus and topped off with sauce and bonito flakes (generally). Tako means octopus in Japanese and yaki means to fry or to grill. This delicacy is traditionally sold in stalls on the street, but nowadays takoyaki can be found in restaurants and izakayas (a type of Japanese drinking establishment that serves food to accompany the drinks) too.

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First let me clarify the term museum. In Japan, a museum can mean an institution that conserves a collection of artifacts and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits or it may mean an area where there are a number of the shops and restaurants of the same type. In the case of the Osaka Takoyaki Museum (大阪たこ焼きミュージアム) the second definition applies. If you were hoping to gain knowledge into the origination of takoyaki and view some relics, you will be sadly disappointed as this “museum” is nothing more than a group of restaurants specializing in takoyaki and a souvenir shop that sells local goods and takoyaki related items including sauces, flour mixes, key chains and plush toys.

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Gift shop

Gift shop

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The museum located at Universal City Walk is just a short walk from Universal Studios theme park. The park opened the museum in response to numerous complaints it received from visitors of there not being a place to sample genuine takoyaki. Each restaurant within the museum is from a different locale in Japan and has their own way of preparing takoyaki. The prices are pretty consistent therefore the only factor that motivates the consumer is taste.

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Upon entering the museum you willl find a small shrine dedicated to the deity Ebisu. Many people stop here to offer their prayers. The deity is said to send his spiritual energy into the restaurants to make sure each takoyaki comes out nice, round and flavorful.

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It is amazing to watch the takoyaki chefs prepare this delicacy. It takes great agility and a steady hand to rotate the dumplings while they cook on a special pan. They use skewers to rotate the balls of dough on the cast iron pans to ensure that they cook evenly. The chefs wear name tags that display a rating of their skill on a scale of one to five stars.

So if you are planning to visit Universal Studios theme park, why not include a trip to the Takoyaki Museum as well and get a taste of this treat that Osaka is famous for? Unlike other museums, there is no admission charge. Just bring enough money to satisfy your appetite for takoyaki and souvenirs.

 

Address:          6-2-614F Shimaya, Konohanaku, Osaka 554-0024, Osaka Prefecture

Webpage:        http://ucw.jp/otm/about/

 

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