As the second largest metropolitan area in Japan, Osaka is a bustling city that offers visitors lots of entertainment, shopping and an undeniably different vibe compared to Tokyo. Central Osaka can be split into two halves, Kita in the north and Minami in the south, and today we will be focusing on the north. The Osaka-Umeda district is the core of Kita in Osaka, and it is home to one of Japan's five most busiest stations, JR Osaka Station, as well as Umeda Station. As a transportation hub, the high level of human traffic in the area has led to the development of a wide range of commercial facilities such as entertainment, retail, accommodation and office space. Almost everything and anything can be found in this district, and you'd be spoilt for choice.

Umeda chairs between the Hankyu and HEP FIVE buildings
Osaka city
Looking down on Osaka Station
Hard to miss it once you see it

There are an overwhelming number of things to do in the Osaka-Umeda area, and today we'll introduce 7 fun things to do there.

Made in Japan shopping

One of the things many travellers look for when in a new country are some locally made products. The Onitsuka Tiger store at NU Chayamachi offers just that; sneakers that are made in Japan, fashionable and practical. The collections to look out for at the street-level store are the Made in Japan and the Nippon Made shoes, and some of them are also only limited to Japan which makes for a perfect exclusive souvenir.

Entrance of NU Chayamachi
Road between NU Chayamachi and Chayamachi PLUS
Looking at the Onitsuka Tiger store
Sneaker display
The one that caught my eye

Cafe hopping

Hanging out at a cafe is a great way to take a breather in between sightseeing. However, there's no need to settle for any old cafe when there's a Sanrio character cafe, the POMPOMPURIN Café, at the HANKYU SANBAN GAI which is an underground mall. The themed cafe is one of only four POMPOMPURIN Cafés in Japan and offers everything in the shape and color of the cute character. If you're looking for a family-friendly unique cafe experience, look no further than the POMPOMPURIN Café here.

POMPOMPURIN with everything Osaka
Enjoying the POMPOMPURIN Café
Cuteness overload with all things delicious
POMPOMPURIN character goods for those who want to bring some cuteness home

Taking the Ferris wheel

The Ferris wheel at HEP FIVE is an icon in the Osaka-Umeda district. The 106 meter tall Ferris wheel provides great views of the district and further into the distance in good weather. One round takes about 15 minutes and is a popular attraction that is not shopping or eating.

HEP FIVE from the outside
Turn right to get on the Ferris wheel
Our ride that will take us up to 106 meters
Spied Osaka Castle in the distance
Never too old for a ride on a Ferris wheel

Pampering yourself

Getting a beauty treatment is something that most travelers tend not to consider when in Japan. There are lots of beauty services available like massages, hair treatments and nail care, and plenty of salons to choose from. Well-known beauty brand Shiseido has a SHISEIDO SALON & SPA OSAKA in HERBIS PLAZA ENT that offers hair treatment services. Primarily a hair salon, the store also has massage plans as well as make up services. A visit to the Shiseido boutique for a hair treatment, that does not include getting a haircut, would make a good introduction for those who want to have a Japanese hair salon experience but are worried about quality and results. Advance reservations are appreciated as space can be limited at the salon.

Walking into HERBIS PLAZA ENT
Many upmarket boutiques in here
Entrance of SHISEIDO SALON & SPA OSAKA
There's also an English menu for their services
Can't say no to someone washing my hair and massaging my head

Dining and eating sashimi

Osaka is famous for having a wide and large variety of foods, and the term "kuidaore" which means eat till you drop, is a common saying when in the city. Over at Grand Front Osaka, a huge shopping complex north of Osaka Station, there are a number of nice shops and restaurants on the top floors. Deciding what to eat tends to be a difficult choice to make due to the choices available, but if you are looking for sashimi and other seafood dishes, Ginpei offers reasonably priced seafood brought in fresh daily from nearby Wakayama.

Peeping into Ginpei through the windows
My delicious starters for lunch with an English menu
The sashimi here was so good and fresh
Grand Front Osaka is directly connected to Osaka Station

Food souvenir shopping

A trip to Japan would not be complete without taking home or sampling some of the local delicacies. Kuzefuku Shoten in Diamor Osaka is a gourmet food store that curates a selection of condiments, sauces, side dishes, sake as well as sweets and snacks. The shop is also a favorite amongst locals who drop by to pick up some pantry staples. If your quarantine and customs rules in your country allow for it, consider picking up some items here to add to your kitchen or as souvenirs.

Diamor Osaka underground shopping mall
Exterior of Kuzefuku Shoten
Great place to shop for delicious local products
Cute daruma and boar candies
Fresh doughnuts to snack on
Seasonal decorations at Diamor Osaka

Panoramic views

The Kuchu Teien Observatory on the top floors of the Umeda Sky Building is one of the best places to get a panoramic view of the Osaka-Umeda district as well as to see the sunset and city lights. There are two levels to the observatory, one on the 39th floor which also contains a cafe and a souvenir shop, and the open air sky walk on the rooftop.

Umeda Sky Building
Entrance to the Kuchu Teien Observatory
Futuristic escalator takes you to the 39th floor
Covered observatory and a good spot to see the sunset
Saw the sun setting beyond Osaka Bay
Yodogawa River and Osaka city

Access

The Osaka-Umeda district is located around both Umeda and Osaka stations.