When it comes to shopping, Japan offers one of the best shopping experiences in all my trips. Firstly, the people are friendly and not pushy. Secondly, the fashion is very nice even though it’s more expensive than places like BKK or Taiwan. But I would rather spend more in Japan than in Taiwan, but that is my personal preference.
So what you expect in Osaka? There are a few main shopping districts, long underground shopping streets, huge malls, famous brands, local designers, etc..
One of the main area is Umeda, here you will be able to find HEP 5. This is a multi-level mall mainly on young people fashion. From the look of the crowd you will know what I mean. If you visit during the evening times, look out for groups of young people busking along the streets or just at the zebra crossings, they are actually quite good.
I would recommend HEP 5 for bag lovers, you can find very nice local designer bags at prices within $100 to $200. This is if you prefer to own something more unique other than the common brands. And the quality is very good too. You can get to this mall on Midosuji Line via Umeda Station. The mall opens daily from 11am to 9pm.
Since you are at HEP 5, then don’t miss the Ferris Wheel, which is 103m tall and you will get a good view of the surroundings with a cool breeze and also music from your own phone (iPhone docks available in every cabin). If you have bought the Amazing Pass, then your ride on the Ferris Wheel is included (normal price is 500yen). The ferris wheel opens daily from 11am to 11pm, last boarding at 10.45pm.
Still in Umeda area, you can walk about 100m from HEP 5 to Chaya-Machi, a shopping area that offers more boutique shops and some bigger brand names.
There is a mall, The Loft (sorry no photo) which I would recommend if you are looking for some cheap shopping. Inside you have 9 different levels to find your stuff, ranging from stationeries, wedding items, mobile phone accessories, bags, clothes, furniture, confectionary items, grooming supplies, travel accessories, watches, etc.
Last but not least in Umeda, you can shop at Yodobashi-Umeda. This is heaven to all camera enthusiastic, the place stocks almost every current item by the major camera manufactures. Besides cameras, you can find almost anything electronic inside too. The top floor offers restaurants with a nice view.
If you are tired of shopping (just for a while), walk around and enjoy the cool weather (about 8-9 degree), or just listen to some more street performances.
Moving away to Tenjimbashisuji Shopping Street (Tenjimbashisuji Rokuchome Station on Tanimachi Line). This is a 2.6km street with never-ending shops which runs nearly as far as 3 Subway Stations. This is Japan’s longest shopping street, therefore, you can find anything here.
To be honest, I didn’t complete the entire stretch, very tiring.
If you have been to Tokyo, you would probably know of Akihabara, the main place for anime, computer accessories and electronics. Here in Osaka, there is a smaller version, Nipponbashi aka Den-Den Town (Namba Station on Midosuji Line).
Personally, I feel it’s nothing spectacular, but you do get almost everything you want if you are one of the anime fans. There are some maid cafes around too.
Finally we reached the famous Shinsaibashii & Dotonbori shopping area. I choose to mention the 2 places together because I found it convenient to walk around in these 2 shopping streets as they are linked pretty much to each other. Just take the Subway to Shinsaibahi Station on Midosuji Line, get off and start the journey from Shinsaibashii Street and slowly walk towards Dotonbori. Perfect! But my personal take is to spend at least 2 nights here, to fully enjoy the shopping experience.
Here you can find almost everything you want and you don’t need. The fact is everything is just a want, but when you are in Japan, your “wants” are all legitimate. You cannot blame us (Singaporeans) from over-spending in Japan. That itself is a crime.
Take your time to shop around the entire street, pay attention that some shops have 2-levels, so don’t miss out on the goodies on level 2.
Something special to recommend. Matcha Ice Cream. Simply delicious. Personally I am not a matcha lover when I am in Singapore, but this treasure along Shinsaibashii is a must-try! I won’t tell you exactly where, it’s near Uniqlo. There must be some sense of adventure when you travel overseas too. Enjoy the find and enjoy the fun.
For your info, I ate this every night I was at Shinsaibashii.
Lastly, from Shinsaibashii you will slowly walk towards this famous bridge and signboard. Yes! You have found the Glico man and Dotonbori.
During Autumn it is especially nice to just hang around the bridge and people watch.
A couple enjoying a moment of ‘couple-time’, soaking in the cool and beautiful ambience.
All my photos are taken with Canon 5D Mark III, courtesy of Canon Singapore to loan me the set for this trip.