The area of Nakazakicho, in Osaka's Kita-ku, is filled with retro buildings and hidden gems. It's a very popular spot filled with fashionable miscellaneous goods stores and delicious cafes. Here are 5 recommended shops in the area to check out.
Utena Kissaten is one of Nakazakicho's most recommended cafes. It's a cafe that repurposes an old house so it has a great retro atmosphere. The entrance is subtle and there's no sign so it blends into the rest of the buildings around it, so try not to miss it when you're looking for it! The calm interior of the store is filled with large antique bookshelves and tableware, so the atmosphere makes you feel as though you're in your own home.
They offer a menu expected of kissaten (coffee shops), including coffee, black tea, juice, toast, cake, and other light meals and drinks. The cheesecake (350 JPY), topped with kiwi, is very popular. The blended coffee (400 JPY) is fragrant and made fresh cup by cup by the cafe owner and goes perfectly with the cheesecake. This cafe is great for those that want to enjoy a cup of coffee in a quiet place.
1. Utena Kissaten
89cafe #2 is a conspicuous café with a red roof and white walls. It was built in a renovated 100 year home, and it has a cute hand-made feel that contributes to the warm atmosphere. There are plenty of picture books and toys around and there are illustrations on the walls. Inside there's a pink door modeled after the Anywhere Door in "Doraemon." This is a must-see!
Here they have various pastas and don (rice bowls topped with various ingredients), so you can eat a full meal here. The loco moco don (800 JPY (incl. tax)) made with a hamburger topped with a fried egg can be topped with your choice of a rich demiglace sauce or refreshing yuzu (Japanese citrus). The recommended choice is the yuzu, so try it! Their coffee and sweets made by a professional patisserie are also very valued, so it's a perfect place for afternoon tea!
2. 89cafe #2
Cafe Kumako offers meals centering around fruits and vegetables and an interior design that paid close attention to their tableware and wooden furniture. The white walls and the fresh blue door gives it a lovely façade. You can enjoy healthy meals full of fresh vegetables like their Veggie Full Plate with Soup (1,100 JPY), curry, or taco rice, in this cafe surrounded by the handmade decorations and the warmth of the wood interior. As for sweets, they have quite a few desserts made with anko (sweet bean paste). Something you should definitely try is the Coffee Shirodama Zenzai (600 JPY), where shirodama (dumplings made of sticky mochi rice) float in coffee. You might be surprised at this combination, but the bitterness of the coffee matches perfectly with the sweetness of the anko! They also have a Sweets Yokubari Set (1,200 JPY) that offers two cake options to choose from, a baked snack, and a drink, and people who like sweets generally love it.
3. Cafe Kumako
Kidaoreya is a shop that was made with the concept of "make kimono daily wear," and they offer fashionable, cute kimono and accessories for sales and rental and they also hold classes on how to wear them. It's filled with items chosen to bring about the atmosphere in which you can casually enjoy wearing kimono, so it feels like you're in a sundries shop. It might be difficult to buy a kimono off the bat, but there are plenty of kimono made with cute patterns that are fun just to look at. You might even find accessories that you love! If you find yourself in the area, please stop by.
*Photo is for illustration purposes.
Chuusen Tenugui Nijiyura Osaka Nakazakicho Main Branch is a store specializing in chuusen tenugui. Tenugui are a sort of traditional hand towel, and chuusen is a particular dyeing technique used by craftsmen. Tenugui have been used since ancient times as towels, handkerchiefs, scarves, and other items, but lately they've been gathering attention for their fashion sense as well. Here you can buy tenugui that have ink bleed and gradation that makes chuusen-dyed fabrics unique, and fashionable tenugui made in collaboration with artists from all around the world. Other than tenugui, they also have items like bags, calendars, and accessories all made of tenugui fabric so they're perfect for souvenirs! It's a store where you can enjoy the products just by looking at them, but tenugui are only as limited as your imagination so why not buy one?
The tenugui are sold starting at 1,300 JPY (excl. tax) for one.
5. Chuusen Tenugui Nijiyura Osaka Nakazakicho Main Branch
There are many lovely cafes and sundries stores in the Nakazakicho area in Osaka. Please refer to this article and solidify your sightseeing plan!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.