The Kita (北, "North") district, also known as Umeda (梅田), is one of Osaka's two main city centers. It is located around the large station complex that comprises Osaka and Umeda Stations. Kita's counterpart is Minami (南, "South") around Namba Station. Besides being Osaka's busiest transportation hub and a bustling business district, Kita also offers an abundance of shopping, dining, lodging and entertainment, including several department stores and an expansive network of underground shopping malls.
The Umeda district has been undergoing a major facelift over the past years, and more improvements are scheduled to happen. JR Osaka Station was recently transformed from one of Japan's darkest and most cramped into one of the country's most pleasant. Furthermore, the expansive freight rail yard north of the station is being redeveloped into a new, modern city district. A first part of the huge redevelopment project was recently completed with the opening of the Grand Front Osaka complex.
Shops: typically 10:00 to 20:00 Restaurants: typically 11:00 to 23:00
Opened in spring 2011, Osaka Station City is the transportation, shopping, entertainment and business complex that surrounds and includes JR Osaka Station. The station's lavish new design is represented by a giant glass roof high above the train platforms.
Shops: typically 10:00 to 21:00 Restaurants: typically 11:00 to 23:00
Opened in 2013, Grand Front Osaka is a newly developed district north of Osaka Station. Consisting of multiple, connected high rise buildings, the complex offer a wide variety of shops and restaurants, as well as offices, residential space, small parks and the Intercontinental Hotel Osaka. It is the first part of the Umekita redevelopment plan that will eventually see the entire former rail yard north of Osaka Station change into a modern city district.
Observatory Hours: daily 9:30 to 22:30 Observatory Admission: 1000 yen
Northwest of Osaka Station is Shin Umeda City, a building complex centering around the Umeda Sky Building, a spectacular 173 meter tall skyscraper opened in 1993 with an open-air observation deck on its roof. The skyscraper next to the Umeda Sky Building houses the Westin Osaka hotel.
Hours: typically 10:00 to 20:00
There are a number of major department stores in the Kita area including Hankyu, Hanshin, Daimaru and Isetan Mitsukoshi. Some of the stores share their names with the local train companies as the trains and department stores belong to the same company groups.
HEP (Hankyu Entertainment Park)
Shops: Daily 11:00 to 21:00 Ferris wheel and restaurants: until 23:00
HEP is a large shopping and entertainment complex consisting of the HEP FIVE and HEP Navio buildings, east of the Hankyu department store. HEP FIVE features a red Ferris wheel emerging from its roof, while the entire complex houses over 300 shops and restaurants.
Hours: typically 10:00 to 22:00
Below the streets of Umeda sprawls an extensive network of interconnected shopping malls housing literally hundreds of shops and restaurants of all kinds. There is a mix of famous fashion brands and cheaper shops, as well as eateries selling various types of food. The labyrinth also connects to all of the area's department stores and train stations.
Bars and restaurants typically open from 17:00 until after midnight
To the east of Osaka Station lies a network of covered shopping arcades that stretch in different directions. Besides shops, the arcades feature a lot of izakaya, bars and restaurants purveying a variety of Japanese and international cuisines. Whilst many establishments are open during the day, the area really comes to life in the evenings.
Yodobashi Camera Umeda
Hours: Daily 9:30 to 22:00
This gigantic branch of the Tokyo based electronics retailer stocks almost every current item by the major camera manufacturers. Besides cameras you can find almost anything electronic, while the top floor offers restaurants with nice views of the city.
Kitashinchi comes to life after 18:00
For those who find the newly developed dining areas of Osaka Station City and Grand Front Osaka a little too modern and sterile, the Kitashinchi entertainment district, located south of and within walking distance of Osaka Station, provides a good alternative with its hundreds of restaurants, bars and night clubs.
Cafes and shops are open all day, typically from around 11:00
This quaint neighborhood to the east of Osaka Station is a warren of narrow streets and alleys lined with cool cafes, craft shops and used clothes stores. Popular with the hipster crowd, the neighborhood is great for relaxing exploration and a cup of coffee after visiting the more bustling commercial area to the west.
The Osaka/Umeda station complex is the busiest in western Japan, shared by four different railway companies. It consists of multiple separate stations:
Osaka Station (Japan Railways)
Hankyu Umeda Station (Hankyu Railways)
Hanshin Umeda Station (Hanshin Railways)
Umeda Station (Midosuji Subway Line)
Nishi-Umeda Station (Yotsubashi Subway Line)
Higashi-Umeda Station (Tanimachi Subway Line)
From Shin-Osaka Station
4 minutes, 160 yen by frequently departing JR trains. Alternatively, the Midosuji Subway Line takes 6 minutes and costs 230 yen.
From Namba Station
8 minutes, 230 yen by Midosuji or Yotsubashi Subway Line.