• Explore incense-shrouded Hozenji alley, a relic of old Osaka
• Dine on the city’s best kushiage at a tiny Michelin-starred gem
• Finish the night with grower champagnes at an elegant six-seat bar
Steps from the bright lights and crowded shopping arcades of Namba lies Hozenji, a tranquil alley with the dreamy atmosphere of old Osaka. Follow the scent of incense leading to a small Buddhist temple where followers pour water over a moss-covered Mizukake Fudo statue. Then continue down the stone-paved lane to Wasabi, a Michelin-starred restaurant that serves an old Osakan specialty, kushiage—fried meat or vegetable skewers—with a modern twist. Behind the noren (curtains) you’ll discover an exclusive, 10-seat, polished-wood bar that’s presided over by chef Takako Imaki, who deftly blends Osakan ingredients with French techniques. The result is an omakase parade of delicate skewers—crisp and fragile shrimp heads, creamy tofu topped with thin strips of nori, even a rich Alsatian choucroute—that won’t stop until you signal you’ve had enough. After dinner, ascend the marble staircase to the second floor, where Ms. Imaki recently opened AWA, an intimate six-seat bar with a superbly curated list of natural and grower champagnes.