Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe
Painduce - Bakery: Honmachi [ Open 8am-7pm. Closed Sundays. ]
French-style pastries and fresh breads from this neighborhood bakery; there's also a miniscule cafe attached if you want to stop for coffee.
Paul - Bakery: Honmachi [ Open 10am-10pm daily. ]
Excellent sandwiches, breads and pastries from this French bakery; there's also a spacious cafe behind the shop. (Paul also has retail branches in Daimaru and Hanshin department stores.)
Vita Bien - Retail: Honmachi [ Open 11am-7pm. Closed Sundays. ]
This tiny "bio and slow tea house" sells organic Swiss chocolates, German herbal teas, Austrian jams and honeys, and a few toys and knick-knacks.
Shimada Shoten - Liquor shop: Kita-Horie [ Open 9am-7pm (6pm Sat). Closed Sundays. ]
Beneath this ordinary-looking sake shop - through a hole in the floor and down a narrow ladder - is a hidden sake tasting cave with a big selection of premium sake from around the country, including...
Yamaya - Liquor shop: Namba [ Open 11am-9pm daily. ]
Discount wines and liquors, plus a miscellaneous assortment of imported foods.
Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho - Retail: Osakako [ Open 10am-8pm daily. ]
While it doesn't demand a special trip across town on its own, this mini-food theme park is worth a stop if you're off to the nearby aquarium or Suntory Museum. Eighteen quaint little shops sell...
Seijio Ishii - Retail: Umeda [ Open 11am-9pm daily. ]
Wines by the glass at very reasonable prices (Y300-550) at this informal stand-up wine counter in Hankyu Sanbangai. Inside, the Ishii shop sells imported foods, a large selection of wines and...
Craft Beer Base Seed @Hanshin - Liquor shop: Umeda 1-chome [ Open 10am-8pm daily. ]
Located in the liquor section of Hanshin department store's food hall, this outlet of the Western-Umeda beer shop offers around 100 craft beers and Belgian beers for sale. Prices are slightly higher...
Hanshin Department Store - Retail: Umeda 1-chome [ Open 10am-8:30pm daily. ]
One of Umeda's biggest food floors is located in the basement of Hanshin.
Enoteca - Liquor shop: Umeda 2-chome [ Open 11am-10:30pm daily. ]
Enoteca's wine bar corner is a convenient place to stop for a quick glass or two and a small snack to nibble on. Food includes wine-friendly fare like smoked duck, beef carpaccio, and cheese, and...
Picasso - Liquor shop: Gion [ Open 2pm-midnight. Closed Sundays. ]
A wine specialty shop. The big selection here is strongest in French and Italian wines.
Daimaru - Retail: Karasuma [ Open 10am-8pm daily. ]
Daimaru's food floor is huge, with a good selection of prepared foods from famous restaurants as well as imported items.
Aritsugu - Retail: Kawaramachi [ Open 9am-5:30pm daily. ]
A fantastic selection of chef's knives and cleavers, cooking pans, bamboo steamers, and more esoteric cookingware can be found at this 400-year-old retail shop.
Isetan - Retail: Kyoto Station [ Open 10am-8pm. Closed some Tuesdays. ]
The sprawling basement food floor of Isetan Department Store is a convenient place to buy bento boxes and other take-away food before you take the train.
Terako Sembei - Retail: Tenryuji Temple [ Open 9am-8pm daily. ]
The fresh-baked sembei crackers here are perfect to munch on while you explore the nearby Tenryuji Temple, and they come in fun flavors like wasabi, red pepper, shiso and yuzu - 14 varieties in all.
Kobe Grocers - Retail: Kitano [ Open 10am-7:30pm daily. ]
This small corner store looks like it's been transported from small-town America circa 1950. The shelves are jam-packed with American and European brands seldom seen in Japanese grocery stores.
Kobe Halal Food - Retail: Kitano [ Open 11am-8pm daily. ]
This Halal grocery store is a good place to find Indian and south Asian spices as well as various prepared foods.
Rote Rose Wine Shop - Liquor shop: Kitano [ Closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays. ]
A German wine specialty shop with more than 300 varieties in stock; downstairs is a large wine bar and restaurant.
Sogo Department Store - Retail: Sannomiya south [ Open 10am-8pm daily. ]
The basement food floor, right next to the station, is one of the better places to find a selection of local food products.
Beer bars and beer festivals around Japan
Fun things to do in the big city
Cat, rabbit and bird cafe guide
Popcult, design and cool stuff to buy
Sushi dictionary and Japan Android apps