Friday, October 23, 2015

Fall Trip: Namba and Umeda

It has been a while since I last visited Japan, so when I had the chance to travel to Asia earlier in the month, I added a side trip to Osaka as part of my itinerary.

Osaka is the third largest city in Japan, and known as a center of commerce. I stayed at the Hotel Nikko Osaka in Namba, very close to Dotonbori, making access to eating, shopping, and transportation very convenient.

Bodyline on Shinsaibashi-suji


NMB48 Theater
Book-off Plus

Whatever could be going on in here?

Arrow namBa HIPS

It's not far from the Mandarake Grand Chaos Store by Ame-Mura, near the Shinsaibashi Sun Bowl.

Overlooking Ame-Mura

Sun Bowl


A monument to [the mythical] Yasui Douton whom the canal was named after.


The canal

Yummy fugu

Yummy tako

Yummy kani

Street vendor selling anime figures.

Plasmagica and Shingan Crimsonz
hawking okonomiyaki!


The highlight of any trip to Osaka is of course Nipponbashi, particularly the area known as Den-Den Town – a place that comes in second only to Akihabara as one of the three otaku holy places.

I started from the north (near Nankai Namba Station), and headed south on Sakai-suji, the main avenue of the shopping district.

Eventually you'll see Jungle, Joshin Super Kids Land, Toranoana, Volks Hobby Square, Joshin Super Kids Land Character Shop, etc. and realize you have arrived at Den-Den Town.

The first store I went to was Jungle.

More nendoroids than you can
shake a stick at!

I made a couple of purchases, but I really had to restrain myself. If you pay with credit card, make sure you have your passport or driver's license, because they may ask you for some form of picture ID.

The Volks Hobby Square is another must visit store.

Half of the first floor of the Volks Store is a rental showcase shop. Looking at all of the displays, I recalled Kagami-sensei's lecture from Denpa Kyoushi, and thought it was a very accurate description of what I saw in the store.

Unfortunately they did not allow photography in any of the stores in the building, but I did take a picture of the directory since it was in a stairwell, and not technically inside the store.

The electronics and used media (CD, DVDs, game) stores of Den-Den Town can be found towards the southern end of Sakai-suji.

The Toranoana on Sakai-suji is the Namba B store.

Toranoana Namba B

If you go through the back door of Toranoana Namba B, you'll end up in an alley facing the rear entrance of Toranoana Namba A.

Toranoana Namba A

The street in front of Toranoana Namba A is the center of most otaku activity from what I can tell, and the location of  the Kotobukiya store, K-Books, Yellow Submarine, Animate, and various maid cafés.

Yellow Submarine Game Shop

Yellow Submarine Hobby Base

Get☆s is a rental box shop with many cases full of figures inside, but overall, the displays were not as imaginative as the ones in the Volks Store.

It was unfortunate, but the meido of Nipponbashi seemed keep a wide berth from me, and and always seemed to be walking or looking away whenever I was around...


I didn't visit the Mandarake in Umeda, but I did go to the Umeda Sky Building and take some pictures of the city from the Floating Garden Observatory.

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