Osaka has been known since ancient times as a town of merchants, and this has not changed over time. This time we have selected 4 unique Osaka-based specialty stores that offer rare items or services.
1. Gundam official store and cafe: GUNDAM SQUARE
The Gundam series is one of the most popular Japanese animated series. This is an action story in which robots fight in space, and it focuses especially on the growth of the protagonist through the powerful combats that he goes through. GUNDAM SQUARE is an embodiment of the world view in the anime, and it is an entertainment space not only for those who already love Gundam but also for presenting its charms to other people so they get to know more about it. Besides a Gundam-themed cafe and a shop selling a wide array of related merchandise, the shop also features time-limited exhibitions and an event area. In the cafe area, guests can enjoy special Gundam-style versions of characteristic dishes of Osaka, such as okonomiyaki and takoyaki. In addition, thanks to a specially developed type of interactive sound, the announcements that are played periodically in the shop feel so three-dimensional that you may actually feel them instead of just hearing them. This is something that everybody should experience at least once. The shop's product lineup includes many regular items such as Gundam plastic models that would make the delights of the most fervent fans as well as mugs, and T-shirts.This is a shop that you should definitely visit if you are interested in Japanese anime, even if you do not know much about Gundam yet.
2. Instant Ramen Specialty Shop Yakan-tei Sakura Main Branch
Osaka is said to be the birthplace of instant ramen. These days, instant ramen is eaten all over the world, and it has become a representative dish of Japan's food culture. Yakan-tei Sakura, a shop specializing in instant ramen in Osaka, strives to show to the general public the greatness of instant ramen. Its product lineup includes a total of about 250 different types of instant ramen from Japan and from overseas. As one might expect from a specialty store like this, many of the products are highly sought after rarities, such as local limited editions and special editions using rare ingredients. You can buy the instant ramen as a souvenir, or you can pay an additional 250 JPY to eat it in the shop. This fee includes a homemade roasted pork fillet, bamboo shoots, and some other toppings to match your ramen of choice. The shop features a nostalgic atmosphere, and it is a really amusing place where you can enjoy Japan's food culture.
3. Snack shop KOBE Gogyofuku
KOBE Gogyofuku is a popular store specializing in snacks to go with alcoholic beverages, and it was founded in Kobe in 1955. The shop offers about 100 different types of snacks, and recommends different snacks depending on the type of drink that you would like to have them with. Just looking at the products, which include marine products, meat-based products, dairy products like cheese, dried items like nuts and dried fruits, and other delicacies, will likely make you want to have a drink. If you are especially fond of alcohol, you will definitely love this shop! The store's most popular snack is the Pirikara Sakiikaten (515 JPY (incl. tax)). This snack consists of an squid breaded with flour and then deep fried for a crunchy texture. It is seasoned with red pepper, and it is known for going very well with beer. Make sure you get some different snacks to try depending on what kind of beverages you like - you can have them at night with a drink in your hotel room, or take them back home as souvenirs.
4. Ear cleaning specialty store Mimikaki-dokoro Yumegokochi
There is a slightly strange shop where you can place your head on the lap of a woman wearing a yukata, and she will clean your ears for you. The name of this shop is Mimikaki-dokoro Yumegokochi. You will be taken to a tatami-floored elegant private room where the fragrance of incense drifts about, and a woman will explain the system to you. Then she will encourage you to place your head on her lap, and she will begin cleaning your ears. First, she will remove any oil from your ears and gently massage your pressure points, and then she will begin to carefully pick your ears, which should make you feel very relaxed. Basic ear picking courses cost 3,150 JPY for 30 minutes, and 4,200 JPY for 40 minutes. Some of the courses include massages on your shoulders, hands, back, or soles of your feet. Prices do vary for these courses, and they last between 50 and 70 minutes. All members of the staff who clean your ears are women, but you can use their services whether you are a man or a woman. We especially recommend this shop to those wanting to relieve exhaustion from traveling, or if you like Japanese-style rooms and kimonos.
There are many shops dealing with truly unique products and unconventional services in Osaka.
However, one characteristic that is common to all these shops is that they are not only unique, but they also place utmost importance in satisfying their clients and make them spend a good time. This disposition is part of the culture of Osaka.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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