‘Osaka is a port city location on the Japanese Island of Honshu. The Namba area is famous for its nightlife and excellent street food…’
Osaka is also a centre for history and architecture, meaning that the buzzing Namba district of popular with tourists and locals alike. These are six sights not be missed when visiting Namba…
Tonbori River Walk
This promenade by the banks of the Dontonborigawa is a very popular spot and is full of fantastic sights and smells. This is one of the top spots for local street food. It also has more than 30 stores facing the river, providing lots of shopping opportunities. The river walk is often crowded, but is spectacular when lit up at night. The neon lights reflect off the surface of the water and everything is bright and colourful. Keep your eye out for the massive Ferris wheel at Don Quijote store and grab some authentic Japanese food on your visit. A visit to Namba river walk can be combined with a wander along Shinsaibashi shopping street.
This iconic building was constructed to include the shape of an exclamation mark and houses a huge range of shops, bars, restaurants, spas and sports facilities. In true Japanese style, it also has a big-tech gaming centre and plenty of karaoke opportunities.
The Namba area has a real atmosphere, and you don’t have to be a fan of gaming or singing to keep yourself amused. If nothing else, the Namba Hips building itself is enough to merit a visit. There are ten stories above the basement, so it’s hard to run out of things to see and do.
Namba Yasaka Shrine
This once rambling Namba shrine has seen hard times, both from fire damage and air raids. It stands proudly, with a glorious 12 meter high lion’s head (I thought it was a dragon, but I live in Wales, so *everything* looks like a dragon to me…). It’s not known just how long the shrine has been standing, but it’s estimated that it’s been present since around 1069. The large mouth of the lion is there to munch up evil spirits and many people believe that entering the mouth is lucky. This doesn’t work with real ones, so please don’t do that.
It’s highly unusual for a place like this to exist in an area as cutting edge as Namba. The street feels so wonderfully out of place. While the rest of the local area is pretty much bang up to date, walking along this narrow road transports you back in time. It’s amazing that such a serene space exists in the middle of the surrounding madness. Here, you can worship the deity Fudo-myo and pour water over his mossy statue in order to receive blessings.
Kuromon Ichiba Market
This is home to one of the main markets in Namba. Kuronmon Ichiba has been established for more that 170 years and preserves the culinary history of the island. Locals flock to the market to stock up on fresh fish, meats and vegetables, as the market is well known for being of such a high quality. It also attracts wholesale buyers from even the most exclusive local restaurants.
It’s not just food on offer here. You can also find shoes, clothing and, of course, electrical goods. There’s a lot of street food here, so it’s the perfect place to try out the famous Takoyaki. This is a traditional wheat snack filled with meat or fish and cooked in a specially moulded pan.
If you fancy yourself as a foodie, this is the place to be. Running from the Nipponbashi Bridge to the Dotonboribashi Bridge, it’s consistently voted the top sight in Osaka. The iconic Glico Man neon sign stands proudly as a symbol of the area and is rather Instagram friendly. Other notable oddities include a massive crab with moving legs, known as Kani Doraku and 6ft tall. The equally quirky Kuidaore Taro figure, who play the drums and looks like a geeky white man, is also here. If all that wasn’t enough, there’s also a gigantic blowfish shaped lantern.
The food along the river is incredible and you can eat in a different place every night and never be bored.
What are your favourite sights in Namba?