I was always drawn to postmodernist authors when it comes to literature. So if a city or megalopolis can ever be considered to be of organic nature, Umeda, at least to me, turns out to be Osaka´s heart. Just like Shinjuku or Ikebukuro in Tokyo, it´s a central hub, shopping district, sightseeing spot, event platform, and so much more.
If you are travelling by Shinkansen, you´ll arrive at “Shin-Osaka,” the Osaka´s Shinkansen station on the other side of the Yodo river. One of the local trains will get you from Shin-Osaka to Osaka station, which takes only 5 minutes (2nd stop). Of course you can also continue your trip to the other parts of the city (e.g. Namba) without getting off at Osaka station.
Well, the station underwent an extensive overhaul during the last couple of years. The somewhat cozy, atmospheric and small station now turned into a giant, shiny and almost sterile colossus with many shops, restaurants, cafés and such.
You can´t really miss the huge Yodobashi camera branch behind Osaka station where you can buy the latest computers, cameras, electronics, game consoles and all kinds of equipment and accessories.
Masses of pedestrians moving from one to the other side of the station exit´s crosswalk…
or head towards the Hankyu Department store at the other side of the station for a shopping spree…..
Very close ot it (just a short, 5 minute walk): Navio / Hep5, with a giant red Ferris wheel on its top. Offers you a great view, and if you like to take pictures or just enjoy a unique view in a unique place, go there and take a ride, it´s really worth it. Inside the building, there are many fashion and trendy shops, including Snoopy World. In contrast to most European Ferris wheels, the Japanese counterparts are glazed and turning very, almost unnoticeably slowly.
If you´d literally like to fly at a higher game…or rather roof, I can strongly recommend you to pay the Shin-Umeda Sky Building (Kuchi Teien Tenbodai : Floating Garden Observatory) a visit. The building with the roofless observatory platform is only around a 10 minute walk from Osaka Station, and can be spotted quite easily thanks to its unique and impressive architecture. Right behind the Yodobashi Camera building, there is a boardwalk guiding you through a tunnel right to the building.
173 metres (568 ft), 40 floors, and a breathtaing 360° view from its outside top :
Welcome to the Shin-Umeda Sky Building
Opening hours: 10:00 am – 10:30 pm (365 days per year, but may be temporarily closed down on short notice for maintenance works)
Admission: 700 Yen (students 500 Yen)
Protip: drop by around (late) afternoon, in order to enjoy a marvellous sundown from either the top or in front of one of those giant glass windows.
There´s also a souvenir shop on the 39th floor, a café on the 40th floor, as well as an art gallery with changing exhibitions.
It´s been a long time since Ridley Scott filmed his movie “Black Rain” over here. Back then, Osaka seemed to be a dark city, resembling a site out of his earlier “Blade Runner” movie. Indeed, at night it still looks amazing. There´s something different to it, at least when being compared with Tokyo. Osaka surely got its own, classy style. Especially at night.
Unfortunately, many beautiful and interesting places remain hidden to the tourist´s eye. So if you are already there, you should pay the restaurant area “Takimi-koji” a visit, which is located underneath the building. It´s a hidden gem, restaurants in old edo style, located next to each other. And by the way, it just tastes great. You may notice a big difference between Kansai food and let´s say the meals you have in Tokyo area. I really like Kansai, and its delicious food is one reason why.
This district offers a lot…no matter if takeaway, fast or slow food, fashion and trendy shops, UniQlo, department stores (e.g. Loft), the underground “Diamor Osaka,” Pachinko, bookshops, Game Center…all within a 10 minute walk for you to discover