4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka

4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka

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Osaka Night Out >> article >> 4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka

Although no longer Japan’s second-largest city, population-wise, Osaka still very much holds the accolade as the nation’s ‘second city’ by and large due to the unique culture that can be observed in both its people and its environment/infrastructure in general.

For travelers seeking out hidden back alleys and storefronts that offer a glimpse into Japan’s storied Showa era, Osaka is a goldmine of opportunity. In this article, we will introduce four neighborhoods which to varying degrees have seemingly been able to avoid the type of rampant urban development that has become commonplace in modern Japanese cities.

Nishinari Ward

Traditionally, Nishinari has not been an area overly frequented by tourists, however, if you would like a glimpse into the authentic history of the City, there are few better places.

4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka

Geographically, the area is only a few kilometers south of the fashionable and tourism-focused Namba district, however, the atmosphere of each are in stark contrast. Nishinari features a network of sprawling backstreets and aged ‘shotengai’ (shopping arcades) characterized by their faded storefronts and open food vendors that still draw bustling crowds.

4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka

As well as food vendors, a number of local, traditional karaoke and pachinko parlors still exist in this neighborhood, are a scarce rarity in modern-day Japanese culture, where big chains are for more commonplace for each of these industries.

Price-wise, as Nishinari’s businesses are predominantly frequented by locals, almost everything is cheaper than other, more popular, surrounding neighborhoods. Supermarkets, restaurants, and even vending machines will offer their goods at noticeably low prices.

4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka
4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka
4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka

Perhaps the single most successful chain to come out of Nishinari is Tamade, the neon-lit supermarket chain that started in the ward’s Tamade region. Opened in the early 90’s Tamade (no longer limited to Nishinari) has wowed customers with both its design/layout and its low prices, where an ever-changing number of items can be purchased for a single yen when ¥1,000 is spent.

4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka
4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka
4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka

<LOCATION>
1 Chome-1-10 Hanazonokita, Nishinari Ward, Osaka, 557-0016, Japan

Although the original Tamade store has now closed, the company’s second-ever store is still in operation and is located in the Tamade region. If you’re interested in visiting and experiencing everything else that Nishinari has to offer, we highly recommend the official tour available here.

Shinsekai

Just over the northern border of Nishinari Ward lies the unmistakeable Shinseikai neighborhood. Established in 1912, Shinsekai is an old neighborhood that still retains a lot of its original charm, which can be explored on foot, or better yet, on a rickshaw.

4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka

At the forefront of Shinsekai is ‘Tsūtenkaku’ (translated literally as ‘Tower Reaching Heaven’), a 103-meter high tower (also built in 1912) with an observation deck which rewards visitors with fantastic views across the city.

4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka

The area features several fugu (blowfish) restaurants (often signified by giant floating models outside), however, if you visit the area only once, we highly recommend the area’s main delicacy, ‘kushikatsu’ (deep-fried skewered meat, and vegetables, dipped in sauce). There are a number of kushikatsu restaurants to choose from, with perhaps the most famous being Ganso Kushikatsu Daruma, which was established in 1929.

4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka
4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka

<Location>
1 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0002, Japan

As well as a plethora of restaurants, the area around the tower also features a number of things to do for fun, including retro arcades, carnival-type shooting galleries and traditional marble pinball games where you can exchange your winnings for candy and snacks

4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka
4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka
4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka

Of the neighborhood’s video game arcades, we highly recommend ‘Kasuga Gorakujo’ which features a huge number of retro arcade cabinets, slot machines and even ‘whack a mole’ style games.

<LOCATION>
Japan, 〒556-0002 Osaka, Naniwa Ward, Ebisuhigashi, 3 Chome−2−19

Den-Den Town

Continuing north towards Namba, along Sakaisuji Avenue, you will immediately enter the Nipponbashi district, and more specifically ‘Den-Den’ (Electric) Town. Similar to Tokyo’s Akihabara, Den-Den Town is a shopping district popular with fans of electronics, video games, anime, collectibles, and general ‘Otaku’ culture.

4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka
4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka
4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka
4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka
4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka
4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka

Tucked one block behind Sakaisuji Avenue, you’ll find ‘Ota Road’, where some of the area’s true gems can be discovered. With all elements of Otaku culture covered, whether it’s a rare figurine that you’ve looking for, or a pristine Sega Genesis, this is the place to be!

To fully explore Den Den Town’s and to discover some of its hidden gems, we highly recommend joining the Otaku Culture Tour in Osaka.

<LOCATION>
Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0005, Japan

Shinsaibashi

Undoubtedly Osaka’s most popular shopping district, Shinsaibashi, however, the region still boasts a number of areas and attractions that can make your ‘retro-inspired’ day in Osaka complete.

4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka

America-Mura is a small village centered around ‘Sankakukoen Triangle Park’ which, as the name suggests, has been strongly influenced by American culture. The village and its surrounding streets are a hub of youth culture and home to some of the city’s most vibrant street art and vintage clothes stores.

4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka
4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka

<Location>
1 Chome Higashishinsaibashi
Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0086, Japan

The area is also home to Silver Ball Planet, a local arcade that features a jaw-dropping 100 classic & modern pinball machines.

4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka
4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka
4 Must-Visit Nostalgic Neighborhoods in Osaka

<Location>
1 Chome-6-14 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0086, Japan

We hope that this guide has been helpful and that it can help make your next trip to Osaka as fun, interesting and photogenic as possible! As the two farthest points mentioned in this article are around 5km away from each other, you could certainly dedicate a day to visiting everywhere mentioned on foot, however, if time is of the essence, the local transport options will make it possible over a few hours.

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