The shopping epicenter of Osaka is without a doubt the Dotombori & Shinsaibashi area near Namba in the Minami (south) district of Osaka.

Shinsaibashi-suji is a long covered shopping street that runs north from Namba station, and is full of shops selling the latest fashions, and trendy people wearing them. Dotombori runs east-west along a canal and is full of restaurants & amusement centers. It is best seen in the evening or at night when the neon lights are flashing. A bit to the west is also the hip shopping area of Amerika-mura, or Ame-mura.

Brand name luxury designer shops such as Louis Vitton and Chanel, as well as Nike and Apple stores, can be found along Midosuji Boulevard which runs parallel to Shinsaibashi on the west side. For kids, there is a Toys R Us outlet in Namba Parks shopping center.

 

One shopping experience not to be missed is a visit to one of the many 100-yen shops all over Osaka, which are packed with cute Japanese goods, both modern and traditional, that make great souvenirs, as well as typical household goods. (Most items made in China, however.)

 

Those interested in computers, cameras, video games, and anime, etc. can wander the Den-Den Town electronics district in Nipponbashi just south of Namba station. Tourists can make tax-free purchases at some electronics stores, but note that English operating systems or manuals are sometimes not available. English speaking staff are pretty rare as well. Namba also has the huge electronics strore called Bic Camera, while Umeda has Yodobashi Camera, and Tennoji has a Sofmap Computer outlet. All of these stores sell almost anything electric-related, not just cameras & computers, and are great places to check out the latest high-tech gadgets. (Hint: if tired, find and test-drive one of the $4000 massage chairs, if they are not all taken by salarymen! Total high-tech relaxation.)

 

There are many full service (and full price) department stores throughout Osaka (most affiliated with private train lines to transport the customers in.) Besides department stores, there are many, many other modern shopping centers in Osaka which are just full of shops & cafes, etc. Here is a partial listing:

  • Takashimaya Dept. Store is the anchor of the Namba area, which also has Namba City, Namba Parks, the underground Namba Walk, OPA Bldg., Namba Hips (the newest addition), and across from Namba station something called 0l0l0l.
  • Kintetsu Dept. Store is at the center of Tennoji, which also has Mio, Lucias, Station Plaza, and Apollo Bldg. shopping centers.
  • Both the Hankyu Dept. Store and the Hanshin Dept. Store are in Umeda, along with Hep5 Navio, and a huge underground maze of shops called Whity.
  • Keihan City Mall is located above Tenmabashi station, and Kyobashi station also is full of shops.

It is highly recommended to stroll through the B1 basement food floors of any of these department stores, for a fascinating culinary self-tour. (And don't be afraid to try any free samples!)

But of course if you are a budget traveller or not in the mood for Louis Vuitton or Hermes in one of many department stores in and around Osaka, the highly recommended places for shopping are the MIO shopping center which is in the same building as Tenoji station. Also don't forget to visit the HEP FIVE shopping center in Umeda district. Please note that these two shopping centers are more or less 80-90% for girl/women fashion.

 

A traditional (pre-modern) Japanese shopping experience would involve a walk through a covered shopping arcade full of old-school mom & pop shops selling meat, fruit, flowers, bedding, clothing, etc. (called SHO-TEN-GAI in Japanese, of which Shinsaibashi is the hyper-modern version).  The Tenjimbashi-suji Shopping Street is one of the more famous in Osaka, as well as the longest. Local versions can be found in found in most neighborhoods, including one in front of Sumiyoshi-Taisha Shrine, which is nice to walk through (to Kohama station on Nankai train line) after visiting the shrine.

 

 About SIZES:  Japan has its own size system for shoes and women's clothing (click the links for conversion charts). Many Western adults, both men and women, have trouble finding sizes large enough to fit them in Japan, so if you are checking some shoes or clothes in a shop and the clerk starts gesturing excitedly, they are most likely trying to say that your size is not available, rather than that your business is not welcome!