Bike ride and breakfast in charming Nishinari Ward, Osaka, Japan

Nishinari ward is transforming into a ‘budget-minded tourist’ destination. Affordable hotels are popping up everywhere. When we were there I saw multiple sites undergoing construction . We found what I felt was the best one so far. It was named Hotel Raizan North near the Dobutsuen-mae station and a few blocks from Shinsekai and all those wonderful kushikatsu restaurants.

We found a deluxe single room with a bed for about 5,200 Yen . The room was relatively big and the shared toilet on our floor was very spacious and clean.The baths were on the first floor with specific times of use as it is in most hostels and plenty of washing machines. 
The best part for me was the common area. It felt more like somebody’s home especially the kitchen set-up for everyone’s use. There’s a big dinner table where guests can socialize while eating . There were separate sections with comfortable couches to hang out in or watch television. A lot of  books, comics and magazines  everywhere too . Closer to the front they also set-up  some computers for guests to surf the web and complimentary bicycle rentals depending on availability.While doing laundry we decided to take a bike ride around Nishinari and look for breakfast. 
This area was clean and safe even at night unlike what some people may think. It could be that the area is getting cleaned up and made safer due to the influx of tourists. 
I always ask my wife to take me to where the locals might eat and we found this treasure of a place near Shinsekai  named Iwataya Shokudo. The place was run by a funny old lady and we were surprised when she introduced us to her mother . 
She had a small display case where she had various choices of small plates of sashimi, Hotaru Ika and bowls of rice topped with natto(fermented beans) to pick from . I normally wouldn’t mind natto on top of freshly steamed rice but her natto portion was so generous I kinda chickened out. She was very proud of her food, as she should be, and wanted us to try everything. 

At that moment she recommended, or to put it more accurately, told me and my wife to order the Horumon Yakisoba (various internal organs with noodles). Before we could say yes she was already sauteing the horumon. I’m so glad we followed her advise as it was probably one of the best dishes I had on the entire trip. That tiny old lady was one of those characters that are hard to forget. I hope she’s still here when we come back. 
People should just get over their preconceptions about Nishinari and give it a try.There’s good food and down-to-earth  locals that’ll make your stay memorable and did I forget to mention very cheap.

Fresh tuna sashimi(top),Hotaru Ika(left),Amazing Horumon Yakisoba(right)

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