Shinsekai

Shinsekai, Osaka: Address, Phone Number, Shinsekai Reviews: 4/5

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4.0
1,521 reviews
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688
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70
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367sandcastle
33 contributions
This is a real-life area of Osaka, not a tourist attraction. If you're looking for the sanitized PR version of Japan, this is not the place for you. Having said that, there are a few good places to eat, the zoo is nearby and the surrounding area is being slowly gentrified for good or ill. If you're from any large metropolitan city in the world you will be able to handle this area easily. It looks rough but is actually quite safe, even as a woman I don't feel unsafe compared to my hometown where I look over my shoulder at all times.
Written January 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

S. Bac
Mantua, Italy180 contributions
Before heading back home I wanted to hang around in Shinsekai so bad. Unfortunately we only had a couple of hours and it was not enough to live the experience fully but we tried 2 different restaurants: one for the kushikatsu and the other one for the okonomiyaki. I don't know if it was the best one I've ever had but definitely the rush with the good (and sweet) company was a plus. See you soon again, Osaka
Written January 26, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Amanda W
Seattle, WA81 contributions
Come during the night. The lights of the area make this place magical and dare I say, romantic? This is considered as the second most taken photo in Osaka behind the Glico man. So be wary of how busy it can get.
Written February 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

itd-be-rude-not-to
Sydney, Australia381 contributions
Friends
This is a fun location to was around at night. It's all lit up with one end styled on Paris and the other end styled on Coney Island.
Its also a hot spot for local food "Kushikatsu" you definitely want to try this whilst there, i would suggest eating at Yaekatsu,
Written June 9, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

lovewonderbean
15 contributions
Couples
I really never thought that Shinsekai would be one of my favorite stops in Osaka when I first decided to go there, but it was definitely a highlight of my trip.

Let me preface this review by saying something that took me far too long to find out.

The area of Shinsekai, especially around Doubutsuen-mae station, actually borders the largest slum in Japan. Naturally, we were a little surprised when we stepped out of the exit to see homeless and drunk people sleeping on the streets, loitering around convenience stores, or lining up at pachinko parlors our very first day about town. I'm not sure what I had expected when reading about an area supposedly encompassing a family-friendly zoo and a well-known tourist zone but "overrun with homeless" wasn't something that had crossed my mind.

Unfortunately I did see some homeless people around the station or the underpass in states I wouldn't want to necessarily show the kids, i.e. beaten up or in various states of passed out nudity, but we weren't heckled by anyone and they didn't meander into the actual Shinsekai area itself.

Shinsekai is an interesting area with several layers. Probably the most apparent one is its touristic facade, centered around the Tsutenkaku and the overpriced tourist traps around it. Most people come here to go up the tower, eat in one of the pricey tourist restaurants and leave, perhaps with an I Heart Osaka shirt if they stopped at one of the chintzy shops along the way.

However, you don't have to limit your experience at Shinsekai by following this old trope.

For someone like me, who loves the old and charmingly derelict, Shinsekai can actually be a highlight of your Osaka trip in its uniqueness and memorability. Some say abandoned, I say frozen in time. To the left of Tsutenkaku is Shinsekai Ichiba market, now barely a market at all. Before you go under the entrance to check out all the old signs that still remain atop long shuttered businesses, turn behind you to see the super charming traditional tofu shop across the entrance. We wanted so badly to buy tofu there but there didn't seem to be any staff around. Such is life in the sleepy parts of this district. The diagonal streets jutting out from Tsutenkaku seem to rapidly increase in sleepiness the further you get from the tower. Tiny coffee shops and bars dot these streets and their retro facades and signage are great photo opportunities when dormant in the daytime.

Shinsekai has a great collection of vintage arcades, both at JanJan Yokocho Alley and, in particular, New Star Arcade. High scorers can get convenience store snacks as rewards. It's charmingly simple entertainment in stark contrast to the pachinko megaliths nearby which are rather a sad reminder of Japan's modern problem of rampant gambling addiction.

There were some oddball characters walking about, but nothing was scary or made me feel unsafe. The only potential problem I had was when I was taking pictures of a guy's pet iguana. He caught me doing it and gave it to me to hold. I thought given his, erm, eccentric appearance he was going to ask me money afterwards (the classic hold my pet scam!) but he didn't. I did see him later offering his iguana to pet or hold at tourists in another part of the neighborhood later. I still don't know what was going on or if he was asking money from those people but his iguana seemed well taken care of nonetheless.

To the right of Tsutenkaku, there is a large adult theatre to the right with a rather imposing painted mural on top, surprisingly graphic in its content. Perhaps highly awkward to view with families, it was nonetheless fascinating in its open-air seediness. We couldn't help but gawk from the sides of our eyes at how busy the theatre seemed to be with patrons going in and out in the broad daylight. Around the area, there are small glimmers of seediness even among the bright and shiny tourist traps. Personally, I found it interesting rather than repulsive, and a testament to the history of this area as an after-dark neighborhood.

I did not personally go up Tsutenkaku as I've never been one for overlooking views. I don't think I missed out an anything in particular.

I did eat kushikatsu here, and without feeling particularly touristy about it. We picked a great place around the area that didn't have a line and all of the customers inside were Japanese. It was delicious and cheap. There's no need to wait in line for kushikatsu because every restaurant that's worth it is virtually identical in price and offering. The one we went to was called Kushikatsu Jan Jan, and they have several restaurants dotted around the area that all sell the same thing.

All in all, Shinsekai is something you can't miss and can't write off as a tourist trap. Give this neighborhood a little bit of your time when you come to Osaka!
Written August 21, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

JDSor
Turku, Finland305 contributions
Shinsekai is considered a seedy, even dangerous part of Osaka, by the Japanese that is. It used to be grimy and crimy back in the day, but really, these days it is just a somewhat retro part of the city with good eats that borders on some suspect neighborhoods and has some (unusually visible for Japan) prostitution around the edges.

It is a bit uninteresting during the days, but in the evenings, you'll find people partying it up, and all of the lights look great in the dark. As said, there's also a lot of good eating to be had, with kushikatsu being well represented. (There are also alcohol dispensing vending machines in the area, for the budget-minded.)

If you want even more views, the Tsutenkaku tower has a viewing deck for some great ones.

As for security, you are pretty much good unless you wander south past the railroad tracks, where most of the city's homeless live. They are mostly old men though, and not particularly dangerous as such, but it isn't a good scene for the casual tourist. You will see some of these geriatric alcoholics wandering around Shinsekai as well, and sleeping rough in the alleys, but in general, if you don't bother them, they don't bother you, doing their best to be invisible.

Shinsekai is an iconic, must-see part of Osaka, but if it gets a bit much for you, wander east into the park, past the Zoo gates, for some air.
Written October 30, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Vahid R
Lewiston, ME95 contributions
Couples
Shinsekai is an old neighborhood that was modeled after 2 cities, New York for its southern half and Paris for its northern half. If you thought Dotonbori had lots of street food then enjoy even more because this place is highly regarded for it's kushkatsu. Skewers of veggies and meat assortments deep fried and dipped in delicious sauce. You'll see tons of statues of a deity called Billiken who was actually the invention of an american professor. If you rub his feet you are said to receive good luck. This part of the city also has another character called Kinnikuman. You may see some of the statues of characters from his show/comic book series around the district. Try spotting them or go to the Muscle Shop to see tons of merchandise of the character.

If you are more of a visual learner like myself here is a tour of the district:
https://youtu.be/XpWIzalGT-A

Have a great trip to Japan!
Written July 4, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mr.IIDA
Fukagawa, Japan541 contributions
Friends
街がアミューズメントやぁ!
食い物も美味しいし、楽しい街です。
大阪に来たら必ず行って欲しい!
串かつやどて煮を食べて街をぶらぶら
見物してください!
The city is an amusement!
The food is delicious and it is a fun city.
Written October 1, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Adrienne
Cagayan de Oro, Philippines188 contributions
Solo
Shinsekai is bursting with colors and just odd displays. It's a small area with so much to see and a lot of people come in and out of every store and restaurant. I went there in the afternoon and it was packed with so many people moving up and down the streets, both locals and tourists. It was a good area to take photos but beware of a few tourist trap stores. They sell really cute and unique looking snacks and other souvenirs which you can get for cheap at less dense shopping streets or even 100 yen stores.
Written June 14, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Lockie D
Brisbane, Australia249 contributions
Couples
Such a good little throwback area! A great place to eat too, with the Yokoduna restaurant a good and cheap novelty for some amazing food, in MASSIVE quantities, at an amazing price! Plus a great place to get some really good snaps.
Written April 16, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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