Considered by many to be the most photogenic city in all of Japan, Osaka offers an abundance of places to take that perfect snap. In this article, we will introduce four very different parts of the city and some of our favorite spots within each of them to take your most Insta-liked photos yet.
Established in 1912, Shinsekai is an old neighborhood featuring the prominent ‘Tsūtenkaku’ tower. For the perfect shot, make sure you feature not only the tower but some of the signs outside the local restaurants as nothing screams ‘Osaka’ as much as a paper blowfish!
The area around the tower features several retro video game arcades, so it’s an absolute goldmine if you’re going for that neon, futuristic Bladerunner-esque shot. One, in particular, is ‘Kasuga Gorakujo’, which features a huge number of retro arcade cabinets, slot machines and even ‘whack a mole’ style games.
For a taste of vintage Osaka, stroll down Jan Jan Alley and visit New Star Smart Ball, a retro arcade featuring vintage pinball/pachinko machines where users can play to win candy. The game itself is a lot of fun, however, the ambiance and atmosphere is the real reason for visiting, as well as the chance to take a photo that feels like you’ve stepped back in time, obviously.
1 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0002, Japan
Located South of more popular areas such as Namba and Shinsaibashi, Nishinari is a local neighborhood that retains much of what the Osaka of old must have felt like. The sprawling backstreets and aged ‘shotengai’ (shopping arcades) frequented by locals and characterized by their faded storefronts and street food vendors are fantastic for any authentic, vintage city photos that you want to take.
Whether its photos of makeshift sake vending machines, traditional karaoke, and pachinko parlors, old telephone booths or basically any element of day to day life here, it’s another rare place to capture a bygone era.
Perhaps the single most successful chain to come out of Nishinari is Tamade, a neon-lit supermarket chain that started in this 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.
Although branches of Tamade can now be found all over Osaka, it is, funnily enough, Nishinari’s ‘Tamade’ region that has the oldest branch. We highly recommend a visit to capture the contrast between the neon signage and neighboring shops, as well as the interior displays and even staff uniforms, it’s a place that will always provide ample opportunities for interesting photos.
1 Tamadenaka, Nishinari Ward, Osaka, 557-0044, Japan
Ura Tenma : Chochindori street
Located near Osaka station, Tenma is a neighborhood that includes a network of backstreets and alleyways containing some of the city’s best Izakayas (Japanese Bars) and hidden restaurants. Chochindori Street, an area illuminated by hundreds of ‘chochin’ lanterns is the heart of the Ura Tenma neighborhood and has become a popular photo spot.
We recommend visiting for not only a fantastic bar hopping and dining experience, but for the opportunity to get some amazing photos of both Chochindori’s lanterns and Osaka’s storied backstreets.
If you’re interested in exploring more, why not join the Deep Food Tour and Bar Hopping in Temma.
Tenjinbashi, Kita Ward, Osaka, 532-0011, Japan
No trip to Osaka would not be complete without a photo of the iconic ‘Glico Man’, the single most photographed attraction in the city. Posing in front of the sign as the Glico Man for your photo is not mandatory, but highly recommended, however it may be worth going early in the morning for a chance to be the only person in the photo!
Either day and night, it’s difficult to take a bad photo in Dotonbori. Whether it’s capturing the beauty of the river running under the city’s major bridges, to people eating at one of the many alfresco restaurants or street vendors, to the impressive, overelaborate outer building facades and neon signs, there are a million ways to capture how truly special this place is.
If you’re interested in exploring Dotonbori with a local expert, we highly recommend joining the Deep Food Tour and Bar Hopping in Namba
1-9 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan