Hop, Skip and Cheers- Spend a Memorable Night Bar Hopping in Osaka
Drinking in Japan is widespread and mainstream and yet you won't find any of the negativities commonly associated with the habit (drunken brawls, lawlessness and more). Neither is drinking a mere leisure activity in Japan. On the contrary, drinking is a cultural phenomenon in the country and there are many traditions and etiquette that come with it. The locals use it as a way of socializing and striking up friendships among themselves, and as a way of extending hospitality to the tourists.
Tourists can avail of this remarkable experience through bar hopping tours, especially in the city of Osaka. Downtown Osaka is one of the hips happening places in Japan and can give you the experience of a lifetime. Such tours involve a local tour guide taking a small group of people around the backstreets of the downtown area visiting hidden bars, clubs and izakayas. The duration of a tour is usually a few hours and happens at night. You drink local alcohol, partake of Japanese traditional dishes, get first-hand experience of the country’s drinking culture and have unlimited fun in an affable and rich ambience.
10 Best Bar Hopping Tours in Osaka
The following list contains 10 such tours. The itinerary and highlights of each tour has been included. Choose one that suits you the most.
1. Night Tour in Namba
This tour organized by Magical Trip will let you experience the vibrant nightlife of Osaka. You will soak it in as you meander through food joints and hidden pubs while indulging in delicious food and drinks.
You will join the group meets at Namba Subway station. As a part of you will visit 3 izakaya bars in the Namba area. You will also walk around Dotonbori. The tour ends with the return to Namba Subway Station.
The cost per person for this tour is $90, and can be booked on Magical-Trip.
2. Craft Beer Tour
This tour has been designed for craft beer lovers. You will be guided through the streets of the Umeda district in downtown Osaka hopping bars that serve Japanese craft beer. The group meets and sets off from Nishiki-Cho in Osaka. Since the tour is built around craft beer, the venues are specific to it. You will visit every craft beer bar in the tour area.
The tour costs $52.12 and you can find out more about it on By Food.
3. The Ultimate Night Tour ($104.26)
This tour is the best way to explore the nightlife of Osaka. It is characterized by delicious food, drinks and making merry. The tour is hosted by Rodney. The group meets in front of the Bic Camera East exit in Namba You will be able to enjoy dinner and drinks at an izakaya. Thereon you will embark on a tour exploring the backstreets of Namba, hopping through hidden bars in the alleyways ( you will visit 3 bars). You will also visit the Dotombori. The best feature of the tour is that you will be getting a closer look at the party centers of Amemura and Shinsaibashi.
Check out this tour on By Food.
4. Local Bar Hopping Hosted by Hiro
This tour is exactly like an outing with a close friend. The experience will be something that you will cherish for a long time. You will be hosted by a local named Hiro who will guide you through the streets and bylanes of downtown Osaka letting you indulge in the culture and feel of its nightlife. It is hosted by Hiro and you will need to pay $91 per person. As a part of the tour, you will be visiting 3 local bars or restaurants in the area. The group meets at Swissotel before setting off.
5. Osaka Pub Crawl
This tour provides the best drinking experience in Osaka. What is best about this whole affair is that you get to enjoy your tour with a dynamic crowd made up of like-minded people.
As a part of the tour, you will visit as many bars and clubs as possible during the tour hours. The host promises to cover 3 bars and clubs at least. The starting point of the tour is Voyager Lounge Bar.
The tour is conducted by Tokyo Pub Crawl and the fare per person is $21.88
6. Bar Hopping Tour in the Nightlife Districts of Osaka
This customizable tour will give you an unforgettable night. You will be accompanied by a like-minded host and get first-hand experience of the local work-hard, party-harder culture.
You can make this tour entirely to your tastes. Give the tour guide inputs about your likes, dislikes and preferences when he contacts you. Using this the guide will have an itinerary that will get covered during the tour.
City Unscripted Conducts this tour and the fare per person is $222.91
7. An Immersive Food and Bar Hopping Tour in Namba
This tour will give you a taste of the past and the present. You will walk the lanes of Osaka’s busiest shopping district ( Ura Namba) and immerse yourself in an atmosphere that fuses the past and the present.
The group meets at Namba HIPS then proceeds to visit 2 or 3 bars depending on the tour course chosen by them. You will walk through Hozenji Temple and surrounding areas followed by a photo session at Glico Man sign, one of Osaka’s main attractions.
The tour is conducted by Deep Experience and the fare per person is $74.52
8. An All-inclusive Culture Dive Tour ($110)
This tour has been tailor-made for foodies. You will visit street food vendors, restaurants and markets of Osaka by night not only sampling their delicious fare but also learning about Japanese cuisine, culinary traditions and their food culture.The group will meet up at the Mcdonald’s outside Temma Station and start the tour. Under the guidance of the tour guide, you will be exploring places like Pulala Tenma, Ogimachi Park, Tenjimbashisuji shopping street and Kyobashi.
You can be a part of this tour conducted by Pinpoint Traveller for $110 (price will vary by group size).
9. Bar Hopping and Night Walking Tour
This tour is for you if you want to throw caution to the winds for a night, and party. It will take you to hidden bars and other fun places in Osaka, and let you party as hard as the locals.
As a part of the tour, you will make four stops. This include an opportunity to experience an authentic Japanese restaurant, an izakaya bar and a terrace bar along the Dotonbori river.
The tour is hosted by Kazane for a price starting from $228 a person.
10. Backstreet Night Tour
This tour is perfect for you if you wish to explore Japanese culture through its cuisine. You will visit a variety of neighbourhoods in Osaka, making your way through the backstreets and stopping at bars and restaurants that the locals love. The group meets at Torigoro. You will be walking through the streets and by lanes of downtown Osaka, visiting bars, izakayas and karaoke bars that fall on the route. The tour also includes photography at the famous Glico man signs.
The tour is organized by Taste Osaka and the fare starts from $109.78 per person.
Bar Etiquette in Japan: Important Considerations to Keep in Mind
Every country has a set of customs and etiquettes that are unique to them. Guests are expected to respect these customs and etiquettes, and such is not an outrageous demand. Here are Japanese etiquettes that you should keep in mind when bar hopping in Osaka.
The Legal Drinking Age in Japan is 20 Years
This is self explanatory. Don’t book a bar hopping tour if you are below the legal drinking age. Similarly, exclude the underage member from attending a bar hopping tour if you are traveling in a group.
Never Pour Your Own Drink
This belongs under Japanese courtesy and is followed everywhere in Japan. It is also something that is easily forgettable for a foreigner so be careful in that regard. Also, it is no invitation for you to be impudent and order people around you to fill your emptied glass. You have to be subtle with this and the best way to do so is to offer to pour the drink of another. It will begin a cycle where you pour the drink for someone and then they do the same for you out of courtesy.
Wait Until Everyone Has Been Served
This too belongs under Japanese courtesy. You wait until everyone else in your group has been served before you start drinking. It is polite to do so and instills a sense of community and affability in the tour group.
Food and Drink Must Go Together
The Japanese always accompany their drinks with some food. The traditional local bars known as izakaya are characterized by the availability of numerous small, usually inexpensive dishes that you can have with your drinks.
Avoid Cancelling the Tour (Unless it's Absolutely Necessary) or Being Late for It
This is one mistake that most tourists make. It is quite common in many countries to cancel appointments and reservations at the drop of a hat, and nobody makes a big deal about it. It is also common to be late for your appointments and reservations. The situation in Japan is very different. The Japanese do not take kindly to people who cancel appointments, bookings and reservations. They might let other cultural transgressions slide but this is where they draw the line. You are sure to offend the locals if you cancel your tour or turn up later than you should.
Use Taxis Often
Taxis are especially useful after midnight. You can always find them outside subway and train stations. Uber is also available in Osaka. Tipping is not required in Japan. A simple "thank you" will suffice.