If you’re preparing to visit Osaka on an upcoming trip, don’t hesitate to look into these most famous city areas. This article details Osaka’s most popular hotspots so you know where to go and what to pass up.
Thinking of taking a trip to Osaka but not quite sure what “The Nations Kitchen” has to offer besides mouth-watering takoyaki and okonomiyaki? Don’t sweat it! This article will guide you through some of Osaka’s most popular areas so you can plan your next trip with ease.
Dotonbori: Osaka’s Must-Visit Destination
Although some may argue that Osaka Castle and Universal Studios are Osaka’s most famous tourist attractions, I believe Dotonbori takes the cake when it comes to the most popular and notable. Located in Minami, and just a short walk from Namba Station (exit 14), Dotonbori is packed with delicious food, illuminated street signs, shopping, and famous landmarks.
Well-known landmarks include the Glico Man, Ebisu Tower, and the six-and-a-half-meter mechanical crab in front of the Kani Dōraku restaurant. Take a look around and you might spot Kuidaore Taro, Osaka’s quirky pinstriped drummer mascot sported on various omiyage goods. Dotonbori is the ultimate foodie spot so don’t forget to try takoyaki and other delicious street foods from the many stalls along your route!
America Mura: Fashion & Youth Culture
Encircling Sankaku Park (Triangle Park), just a few blocks from Shinsaibashi lies America Mura. America Mura or American Village is considered the go-to spot for all things fashion related and is regarded as a “source of youth culture” within the Kansai area. In the past, the neighborhood was incredibly influential and people from all over gathered in Triangle Park to re-sell hard-to-find clothing items and imported goods from America. This is how the district’s name came to be.
Ame-Mura (alternative name) is the best place to shop for streetwear, secondhand clothing, and alternative fashion pieces. Not only is the area great for shopping, but trendy cafes, bars, live houses, and restaurants are all within walking distance of Osaka’s fashion mecca.
Den Den Town: Osaka’s Akihabara
Den Den Town, also known as Nipponbashi or Denki no Machi, is oftentimes referred to as Osaka’s equivalent to Tokyo’s Akihabara. Here you’ll find all things manga and anime related as well as computer and gaming gear. Popular shops in Nipponbashi include Dospara and Sofmap for computer parts and gaming equipment. For more specific anime-related goods make sure to stop by Jungle and Mandrake. Maid cafes are also prominent in the area and are unique experiences for those daring to enter. Just make sure to watch out for various surcharges like entry and table fees!
Sennichimae Doguyasuji: Osaka’s Kitchen Street
Doguyasuji is the spot to visit for those interested in anything kitchen related! Although not as expansive as Tokyo’s Kappabashi, this 150-meter-long shopping arcade is filled with specialty stores ranging from handcrafted kitchen knives, ceramic plate ware, utensils, niche baking supplies, and more. The street is located in Namba so it’s a perfect pit stop to add to your Osaka to-visit list especially if you’re already in Namba exploring Dottonbori. Make sure to visit this street earlier in your sightseeing journey since most shops close around 6:30 to 7:00 PM.
If you’re not quite ready to make a trip to Osaka, Tokyo’s Kappabashi is a great spot to visit for a fun day trip closer to home. Refer to my in-depth article on Kappabashi here.
Kuromon Market: Streetfood Galore
Ever seen a giant slab of grilled eel on top of a fluffy rolled egg omelet? In my ten years of living in Japan, I thought I had seen all forms of Japanese street food until I encountered this yummy morsel found at Kuromon market.
Kuromon market is known for fresh seafood, beautiful flower shops, and stores selling traditional knickknacks and Japanese home goods. This market also offers street food ready to eat in makeshift dining halls or to take on to go. My favorites include the prior mentioned eel on egg and grilled scallop! For the more daring travelers, this area is also known for pufferfish or fugu and has many restaurants adjacent to the market offering the delicacy to try. I passed this one up on my last trip, but I’m hoping to try Osaka’s pufferfish in the future.
Shinsekai: For Fans of Retro Aesthetic
If you’ve already explored most of Namba and are looking for something different, Shinsekai will surely satisfy your wanderlust. Literally coined “New World,” the district’s brightly colored buildings and lively attractions draw tourists from all over to enjoy its retro vibe. You can enjoy fried food on sticks or kushikatsu, shateki (toy rifle shooting game), and Shinsekai’s famous observatory tower: Tsutenkaku. For more detailed information on Shinsekai, refer to my article here.