Check Out These Places When Visiting Osaka! Top 5 Yokocho Alleys Crammed with Various Shops
There are many yokocho (alleys) that exist all over Japan, characterized by the presence of numerous small shops standing side-by-side from the main street up to the back street. They are also famous as sightseeing spots, because they are filled with places where people can enjoy the vibe from the olden days. Here are five of the best yokochos in Osaka!
1. Hozenji Yokocho
Hozenji Yokocho, which appears in a lot of novels and songs that are set in Osaka, is a symbolic spot that represents the business district of Minami, the heart of Namba. The two lanes measuring at about 80m length-wise and 3m width-wise in this yokocho are packed with approximately 60 shops, such as well-established restaurants and okonomiyaki (savory pancakes) joints. When night falls, the dim light of the lanterns cast against the stone pavement cover the area with an elegant glow. If you visit this yokocho, try to drop by Hozenji Temple, which is located in the middle of the street. It is believed that throwing water on the statue of Fudo Myoo, which is more popularly known as Mizukake Fudo, will make your wishes come true.
2. Janjan Yokocho
Janjan Yokocho can be found in Shinsekai (New World), a district where Tsutenkaku, the symbolic tower of Osaka, rises. It is named Janjan Yokocho because customers were lured into the street's stores through the clanging (“janjan” in Japanese) sounds of the shamisen (three-stringed lute). Its official name is Nanyodori Shotengai. It is about 180m long and 2.5m wide and has rows of shops, such as kushiyaki (deep-fried meat, vegetables and other ingredients on a skewer) restaurants, tachinomiya (standing bars), old-fashioned coffee shops and other establishments. There are also amusement centers where you can enjoy target shooting, shogi (Japanese chess) halls, and other facilities that are mixed in with eateries and bars. Come to this alley and soak in the working-class vibe!
3. Ohatsu Tenjin Urasando
Ohatsu Tenjin Urasando, more commonly called Ohatsu Tenjin, is a place near Umeda’s Tsuyu no Tenjinja. The small back street of the 60-year-old Ohatsu Tenjin Shotengai is a bar street that opened in March 2015. Some of the shops that line this street are fancy French, Italian and oyster restaurants, but there are also establishments like sushi bars where you can dine at reasonable prices. All the establishments have chairs and tables inside, as well as in front of their shops. Here, you can have great fun dining on delicious dishes and drinking alcohol in a merry, free manner.
4. Hankyu Kappa Yokocho
Hankyu Kappa Yokocho is located under the elevated railway tracks of Hankyu Railway’s Umeda Station. It has been loved as a restaurant district by a wide range of people since it opened in 1975. This yokocho is filled with izakayas (Japanese taverns) where workers make a quick stop on their way home from work, trendy bars that are popular with the younger generation, and casual dining restaurants that are recommended for families. There is a long list of shops that offer a variety of dishes, including Osaka’s specialty dishes, Japanese dishes, seafood meals and ramen. The entrance to this alley is marked by a billboard that shows a kappa (mythical water-dwelling creature), the area’s mascot. This alley is found in Umeda - the center of Osaka - so it would be easy to drop by while sightseeing and shopping.
5. Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho
Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho is located in Tempozan – the home of Kaiyukan Aquarium, the world’s largest aquarium. It is a food theme park found inside the Tempozan Marketplace. The interior of this establishment was inspired by the townscape of Osaka during the vibrant 1960s era. Here, you can enjoy the traditional tastes and flavors of Osaka’s specialty dishes, such as takoyaki (made by putting octopus slices and other ingredients into batter made from wheat flour, and then cooking the batter into balls), okonomiyaki (made by mixing meat, seafood, cabbage and other ingredients with batter made from wheat flour, and then cooking the mixture into round pancake-like shapes), and kushikatsu (deep-fried meat and vegetables on skewers). Don’t miss the decorations that reproduce Osaka’s cityscape from the olden days, such as the retro three-wheel truck that is famous as a spot for taking commemorative photos.
This article featured spots with different atmospheres, ranging from traditional yokocho alleys to fancy bar streets and even a facility that has reproduced the cityscape of Osaka during the good old days! All these areas were designed with restaurants and other dining spots at the center, so how about checking them out during mealtime?
*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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