Osaka has many interesting areas to explore, and is popular among both foreign and Japanese visitors for its history, food, culture, and laid back people. However, your trip won’t be complete unless you visit the major downtown hub of “Umeda’, also referred to as ‘Kita-ku’.
The district itself is like a mini-city with everything from office buildings and malls, to glitzy nightclubs. Check out these 8 important things to do in Umeda to have a fun packed trip to Osaka!
The Umeda Sky Building consists of two towers which are joined together at the top by an amazing terrace with a circular walkway, which makes it the perfect place for a great evening. You can observe the skyline of Osaka from the observatory, which is called ‘Kuchu Teien’ and is often referred to as the ‘floating garden’ in English. It is one of the most romantic places to test your love as it offers great views which are incomparable to any others!
You need to get tickets before you access the deck and witness the amazing sunset and dusk. The whole building, including the terrace, looks super attractive with colorful illuminations, thus making it one of the best places to spend time with your friends or partner on an evening!
The Grand Front Mall is one of the most good looking malls in the entire city, thus making it a major hub for young people to meet and hang out in. You will see plenty of dining places where you can have a sumptuous feast. Be it major clothing brands such as Steve Alan, hotels such as the InterContinental Osaka, showrooms such as the Panasonic Center, and many more, this mall will surely fit your itinerary very well!
HEP 5 Ferris Wheel is a giant structure which can be ridden for just 500 yen, and from whose top you can get glimpses of the very beautiful Osaka and Kobe cityscapes.
Being a great monument, it is a must try and can make for a very special evening. There are also a couple of eateries down near the wheel where you can relax whilst you observe the megastructure.
Osaka has a lot of ‘kawaii’ stores and cafes such as the Pokemon Center in Umeda’s popular Daimaru retail outlet, where you can take your kids to shop for different varieties of toys, school supplies, and much more.
There are also some amazing cafes which are known for their interesting themes. These include the Disney styled ‘Alice in Fantasyland Cafe’, the ‘egg’ themed Gudetama Cafe, the ‘Hello Kitty’ themed ‘Pom Pom Purin Cafe’, and others.
With plenty of restaurants to choose from, Umeda is a great place for food lovers as you can find almost every kind of Osakan favorite such as Takoyaki, in this area. One of the most recommended Takoyaki restaurants is Takonotetsu, which is world renowned as it is featured in many famous shows, including the great chef Anthony Bourdain’s show.
Apart from that, there are plenty of small to medium scale street food outlets that offer amazing dishes such as ramen, udon, yakitori, soba, tonkatsu, and so on. One such place where you can get your noodle fix is Shin-Umeda Shokudogai, a must-visit complex filled with shops meant for the general public. There are also a couple of kaiseki style diners, traditional sushi restaurants, and okonomiyaki food joints that you should not miss out on!
Umeda, being a major center, is home to some great bars and clubs. This is the place for local youth and foreigners to experience the amazing nightlife. The world famous Piccadilly Club invites you to have an unforgettable night out at their huge event arena, where DJ’s and singers perform for your amusement. You can also chill at some themed bars such as Dfloor, where you can enjoy liquor while being carried away into a world of techno!
The Kita-ku area offers not only shopping malls and restaurants, but also museums dedicated to art such as the Museum of Oriental Ceramics. There is also a breathtaking island called ‘Nakanoshima’ separating two major local rivers, where you can find the National Museum of Art that is filled with great artworks.
The island is also known for some other great buildings such as the City Hall, riverside floral venues such as Nakanoshima Park, and so on. If you are traveling with kids, there is a must-visit fun arena and science museum near Ogimachi Station, called Kids Plaza, which is well known in the local area as a great place to keep children entertained!
There are plenty of shops which sell accessories, hipster clothing, and so on, and you can go gift-shopping in the recently developed streets of Nakazakicho, which was once largely ignored and consisted of very old buildings.
You can also visit a ‘shotengai’ (a long and busy commercial street), one of which is called ‘Tenjimbashi-suji’. It stretches for kilometers and has various shops lined up alongside, which is, in fact, one of the best places to search for gifts in the city!
These are the most popular and must-do things in the Osaka`s hippest downtown to the North – Umeda. Expect major crowding in this district on festive occasions or on the weekends, as many people like to hang out here.
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