Located around Namba Station, Minami (ôý, "South") is one of Osaka's two major city centers. It is the city's most famous entertainment district and offers abundant dining and shopping choices. The district is easily accessible as it is served by three train companies as well as three subway lines and a highway bus terminal. The other major city center is Kita (ľk, "North") which is located around Osaka and Umeda Stations.
Shopping and Nightlife
Best seen at night, Dotonbori never truly closes with some restaurants open 24 hours.
One of Osaka's most popular tourist destinations, this street runs parallel to the Dotonbori canal. It is a popular shopping and entertainment district and is also known as a food destination. At night it is lit by hundreds of neon lights and mechanized signs, including the famous Glico Running Man sign and Kani Doraku crab sign.
Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade
Hours vary by store; typically from around 10:00-11:00 to around 18:30-21:00.
Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade and the surrounding Shinsaibashi area is Osaka's premiere shopping center. Approximately 600 m long, this area is unique as it combines chain retail stores and trendy boutiques with expensive department stores and top designer fashion labels.
Hours vary by store.
Locally known as "Amemura," this shopping district is considered Osaka's counterpart to Harajuku and is a good place to see the cutting edge of teenage fashion and culture in Japan. It is a lively atmosphere that is populated with cafes, clothing stores, and thrift shops with a younger feel than the nearby Shinsaibashi.
Den Den Town
Hours vary by store; typically from around 10:00-11:00 to around 19:00-20:00.
Located in the Nipponbashi area, Den Den Town is an electronics district comparable to Tokyo's Akihabara, and you may be able to bargain to a better deal. Den Den Town is becoming known as an otaku paradise with numerous manga and anime retailers as well as maid and cosplay cafes located there.
Kuromon Market (Kuromon Ichiba) is a several hundred meter long, covered shopping arcade filled with shops and restaurants selling fresh seafood, meat, vegetables and fruits. It is known as "Osaka's Kitchen".
Shops are open 11:00-21:00. Restaurants vary but most are open 11:00-23:00.
Built to resemble a natural canyon, Namba Parks is designed to be a break of nature amidst the sprawling urban landscape. It features a 120 tenant shopping mall including a cinema, amphitheater, and a rooftop garden. The 6th floor is made up of numerous restaurants including some Korean, Italian, and Vietnamese places.
Culture and History
National Bunraku Theater
Bunraku performances are usually held in three week runs in January, April, June, July/August and November. Ticket prices vary by performance but typically range from 2000 to 6000 yen.
Bunraku is similar to kabuki but performed using meter tall puppets. The National Bunraku Theater is considered the nation's most prestigious, and in addition to shows offers free seminars throughout the year. English earphones are available.
Kabuki performances are usually held in five runs per year, each lasting between three to four weeks. Ticket prices vary by performance but typically range from 4000 to 15000 yen.
The Shochikuza Theater is the prime location to see kabuki performances in Osaka. It is a Western style theater that opened in 1923 and has a seating capacity of just over 1000. English headsets are unavailable at Shochizuka Theater, but English program books can be purchased at the information counter.
Admission to the temple is free. Restaurant hours vary.
Hozenji Yokocho is a small district near Dotonbori, consisting of two 80 meter long, atmospheric alleys. The narrow alleys are lined by traditional restaurants and izakaya and retain an old-time atmosphere reminiscent of Kyoto's Pontocho. Be sure to visit Hozenji Temple where local merchants and visitors alike pour water over the temple's moss-covered statues for good luck.
Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum
Hours: 11:00 to 18:00 (entry until 17:30) Closed: Mondays (or following day if Monday is a national holiday) Admission: 500 yen
This museum is the only one in the world to have a permanent Kamigata Ukiyoe exhibit. Kamigata Ukiyoe are woodblock prints from the Kyoto/Osaka region that typically feature portraits of kabuki actors. The third floor of the building is dedicated to rice growing and the roof has been converted to a wild rice field.
The Minami area is centered around Namba Station and the Osaka City Air Terminal (OCAT) and is served by multiple train and subway routes as well as buses.
Namba Station is not a single station, but rather a collection of multiple station buildings and platforms, including Nankai Namba Station, JR Namba Station and Kintetsu's Osaka Namba Station. Furthermore, the Midosuji, Yotsubashi and Sennichimae Subway Lines stop at their respective Namba Stations.
Most airport and highway buses serve the Osaka City Air Terminal (OCAT), which is located in the same building as JR Namba Station.
From Shin-Osaka and Osaka Stations
The Midosuji Subway line connects Shin-Osaka and Osaka/Umeda Stations directly to Namba Station. It takes approximately 8 minutes and 230 yen from Osaka/Umeda Station and 15 minutes and 280 yen from Shin-Osaka Station.
From Kansai Airport
Nankai Railways operates direct trains between Kansai Airport and Nankai Namba Station. Express trains take around 45 minutes and cost 930 yen (non-reserved seats only), while limited express trains ("Rap:t") take around 35 minutes and cost 1450 yen (reserved seats only).
It is also possible to travel by JR, but it requires a transfer at Tennoji Station along the way. The whole trip takes approximately one hour and costs 1080 yen, using the JR Airport Rapid.
Buses run from Kansai Airport to the Osaka City Air Terminal (OCAT) approximately every 30 minutes. Tickets can be purchased at the airport limousine bus counter and cost 1100 yen. Travel time is about 50 minutes.