Japan Railway’s Tokai train company has announced that it will gradually renovate and open 16 restaurants and shops in the Tokaido bullet train Shin-Osaka station concourse. A special feature will be a food court called “Osaka Noren Meguri” which will open in September 2011. The food court will include Kushikatsu, Takoyaki, and Negiyaki restaurants so people can enjoy the taste of Osaka right after they get off or get on the bullet train. Osaka Noren Meguri will have five restaurants in total, including a Kushikatsu restaurant “Daruma” and a Negiyaki restaurant “Yamamoto.”
Re-modeling of shops and restaurants will accompany the construction of station concourses and adding of more platforms, with the work planned to finish at the end of next fiscal year. The number of shops, and the concourse size, will be around the same as before the re-modelling, but annual sales forecasts predict a 200,000,000 yen (£1.7 million) increase in takings.
Many customers who use bullet trains are business people, but because of the economic slump, they tend to make business visits as day trips. Mr Yoshiomi Yamada, President of Japan Railway’s Tokai train company, said “I want people to experience the atmosphere of Osaka while they wait for bullet trains at the end of their day.”
Translated and adapted from asahi.com
Quick guide to Osaka’s tasty specialities
Kushikatsu is Japanese-style deep-fried kebab skewers. Kushi refers to the skewers and katsu means a deep-fried cutlet of meat. Kushikatsu can be made with chicken, pork, seafood, or vegetables. These are skewered, dipped in egg, flours and bread crumb, then deep-fried.
Takoyaki are grilled octopus dumplings. They are made of batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan. It is typically filled with diced octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger and spring onion. Tastier than it sounds!
Okonomiyaki is a savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients, including shredded cabbage, and topped with bacon, shrimp or whatever you choose. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “what you like” and yaki meaning “grilled”. It is usually cooked on a hot plate at your table.