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Osaka's Umeda District: 10 Fun Things to Do - Dining, Shopping, Museums

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Umeda is a major transportation hub in Osaka, offering abundant shopping, dining, and lodging options. We introduce 10 fun things to enjoy during your visit, including tasting Osaka delicacies such as okonomiyaki and takoyaki, and exploring the stunning Umeda Sky Building.

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Discover the Charm of Osaka's Umeda District

10 Things To Do In Umeda, Osaka

Photo by Pixta

Umeda is the northern part of Osaka's Kita business quarter, lying opposite of the Minami area where you'll find Namba and Shinsaibashi.

Lying east of JR Osaka Station, Umeda is a central hub for transportation served by JR lines and private railways that go to Kobe and Kyoto, as well as all of Osaka's subway lines.

The Hilton Osaka and other hotels are located in Umeda, and airport limousine buses arrive and depart from multiple spots in the area, making it perfect as a transit point for travelers. There are many department stores and dining establishments around the station, along with old station buildings and underground shopping arcades, making it convenient for dining and shopping.

The entire area is connected by underground tunnels and crossing bridges, so you can explore each facility even on rainy days. Read on to learn 10 things to enjoy in Osaka's Umeda area.

10 Things to Do in Umeda, Osaka

1. Search for Souvenirs at Shopping Spots
2. Enjoy the Osaka Food Scene
3. Umeda Sky Building
4. Ride the HEP FIVE Ferris Wheel
5. Snack at Tenjinbashisuji Shotengai
6. Explore the Nakazakicho District
7. Visit the Koji Kinutani Tenku Art Museum
8. Tsuyuten Jinja (Ohatsu Tenjin) Shrine
9. Take a Break at SAMURAI CAFE
10. Visit the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living

1. Search for Souvenirs at Shopping Spots

Explore Osaka's Umeda District: 10 Things to Do

Photo by Pixta

Umeda is bristling with commercial complexes, housing three major department stores and many shopping malls. Centered around JR Osaka Station are Lucua and Lucua 1100 which are linked to the station on the north side, and Grand Front Osaka even further north.

Drop in to find trendy items from brand-name boutiques and stores popular with young generations all over the world. On the eastern side of Grand Front Osaka, you can visit Yodobashi Camera.

Head south of the station to find Daimaru Umeda, home to the Pokemon Center Osaka, as well as the Hanshin Department Store, both major department stores in Kansai.

5 Things To Do In Umeda, Osaka

Picture by Pixta

In their basement areas, which sell foodstuffs, they have exclusive Osaka items, so look for souvenirs here. On the east side of the station, the Hankyu Department Store is equipped with cosmetics stores and stores selling desserts and sweets, in winter a beautiful Christmas market is set up!

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2. Enjoy the Diverse Osaka Food Scene

JR Osaka Station and all the stations in the Umeda area are connected by a maze of passages and underground tunnels. If you continue along those paths, you will come across restaurant areas and underground shopping arcades.

If you want to enjoy cheap and delicious Osaka cuisine, head to these places frequented by locals. Shin-Umeda Shokudogai, Hankyu Sanbangai and Whity Umeda have a diverse array of establishments including standing bars, kushikatsu restaurants, takoyaki vendors.

At juice stands and retro coffee shops, you can enjoy the Osaka staple of mixed juice. At Kitashinchi, the spacious quarter south of JR Osaka Station, you can enjoy high-class food like the world-renowned Kobe beef.

This nightlife area has rows of izakayas, restaurants and bars. You can look for restaurants specializing in grilled meat, meat bars and even high-class yakiniku restaurants here.

Popular local ramen establishments are also concentrated in the Umeda area. The tonkotsu ramen pioneer Hakata Ippudo and Osaka-founded Dotonbori Shinza are known around the country. Local favorites Yosuko Ramen and Ramen Kotan are visited by many people after a night of drinking and become quite crowded at night. Let’s look at two representative Osaka dishes that you can taste in the Umeda area.

Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is, without a doubt, something you must try in Osaka. While it can be found all around Japan, okonomiyaki here is unique with its plentiful ingredients variations, including meat and fish, mixed into the batter and cooked together until fluffy.

Staples include negiyaki, containing beef tendon and onions, and butatama, containing pork belly and egg. There are many popular okonomiyaki restaurants in the Umeda area, so be sure to check them out.

Aomoni and the negiyaki-touting Fukutaro serve up okonomiyaki inside Grand Front Osaka.

There are also multiple restaurant branches of Yukari and Tsuruhashi Fugetsu operating in the Umeda area.

Takoyaki

Made by pouring batter onto a hot plate and rotating the batter balls as they cook, takoyaki is one of Osaka’s famous foods. Known as the innovator of takoyaki, Aizuya has branches at the food quarter at the Osaka Station Sakuraguchi entrance and the Umeda Sankoji path.

Inexpensive and bustling with customers, Hanadako and Shioya are in the Shin-Umeda Shokudogai.

At Whity Umeda you can try out ikayaki, a simple kind of okonomiyaki containing squid tentacles, made in a special press and folded over, which can be eaten with one hand. You can also eat Akashiyaki, which takoyaki steeped in dashi stock at Takohachi.

Some places also have spaces to eat the takoyaki inside the store, so you can enjoy the food while it’s warm. However, be careful not to burn yourself, as the crispy outer layer, and the gooey insides of the takoyaki can be very hot.

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3. Take a Stroll in the Sky at the Umeda Sky Building

The Umeda Sky Building is about ten minutes away from JR Osaka Station on foot. The unique shape of this sightseeing spot attracts visitors from all over the world.

The top sections of two skyscrapers are connected by a circular corridor, and you can get up to the corridor through a direct elevator or the escalator. The open-air corridor, 173 meters above the ground, offers a 360-degree panoramic view.

5 Things To Do In Umeda, Osaka

Picture from Osaka: 15 Enchanting Winter Illuminations in 2023-2024

At night, the floor underfoot lights up, making it appear as if you were walking on the Milky Way, creating a magical landscape together with the Osaka cityscape below.

Umeda Sky Building
Address: Osaka, Kita, Oyodonaka 1-1 Google Maps
Access: JR Osaka Station, ten minutes from each Umeda Station
Homepage: Sky Building

4. Ride the HEP FIVE Ferris Wheel

5 Things To Do In Umeda, Osaka

Picture by Pixta

HEP FIVE is a multipurpose commercial complex popular with young generations, with a landmark red Ferris wheel on its roof. Visitors here can enjoy amusement and shopping, along with the Ferris wheel.

5 Things To Do In Umeda, Osaka

Picture Courtesy of Klook

A 15-minute ride is 600 yen, and the Ferris wheel reaches a height of 103 meters above the ground, providing a view of the entire Umeda area stretching all the way to Osaka Harbor. You can also get your picture taken for a fee as a keepsake of your trip.

HEP FIVE
Address: Osaka, Osaka, Kita, Tsunoda 5-15 Google Maps
Access: JR Osaka Station, five minutes’ walk from all Umeda Stations
Homepage: http://www.hepfive.jp/

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5. Snacking at Tenjinbashisuji Shotengai

5 Things To Do In Umeda, Osaka

Picture by Pixta

Stretch your legs and travel a little outside of the Umeda area to experience local lifestyle at Tenjinbashisuji Shotengai. This shotengai, or shopping street, is said to be Japan’s longest, stretching out for 2.6 kilometers!

Rows of standing sushi places and cheap restaurants, historic tea houses and knife shops, as well as inexpensive and popular stores, make up Tenjinbashisuji.

There are plenty of foods available for takeout like croquettes, kushikatsu, wagashi sweets, so walk and eat as you enjoy chatting with the shopkeepers.

Tenjinbashisuji Shotengai
Address: Osaka, Osaka, Kita, Tenjinbashi Google Map
Access: Right by Tenjinbashisuji 6-chome Station (Tanimachi, Sakai, Hankyu Lines) or Temma Station (Osaka Loop Line)

6. Explore the Nakazakicho District

5 Things To Do In Umeda, Osaka

Picture by Pixta

Just on the outskirts of Umeda lies the Nakazakicho district, a charming district with a retro ambiance with alleyways lined with local shops and cafes. A great place to unwind, Nakazakicho is brimming with classic and modern cafes and street art making the area a popular spot for Instagrammers.

For those who love flowers and art, we recommend stopping by Picco Latte for a sweet treat!

5 Things To Do In Umeda, Osaka

Picture courtesy of AutoReserve

Renowned as Osaka's trendy district, Nakazakicho offers an eclectic array of thrift and branded stores, showcasing a diverse selection of fashion and home goods. Among its notable spots is YAMASTORE, a vintage shop renowned for its quirky and vibrant interior.

With its vibrant artistic scene, the area is an ideal destination for art enthusiasts, offering a plethora of art galleries and street art. Noteworthy mentions include Wall Share, a company devoted to spreading the joy of street art and wall paintings across Japan, infusing the surroundings with bursts of color and fresh perspectives.

Another notable attraction is SUNABA, an art gallery featuring a diverse collection of artworks and artists. The gallery, named after a sandbox, aims to foster a creative space where artists and enthusiasts of all kinds can converge to engage with art in a playful manner.

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7. Visit the Koji Kinutani Tenku Art Museum

5 Things To Do In Umeda, Osaka

Picture courtesy of Klook
Nestled within the Umeda Sky Building, the Koji Kinutani Tenku Art Museum welcomes visitors with a stunning display of vibrant art crafted by the renowned artist, Koji Kinutani.

The museum is divided into two distinct zones, offering guests an immersive experience with captivating artworks comprising paintings and sculptures that skillfully integrate various mediums and techniques, including VR experiences. These pieces depict powerful and striking scenes, showcasing creatures and deities from traditional Japanese folklore and iconic landmarks.

5 Things To Do In Umeda, Osaka

Picture courtesy of Klook
Kinutani's striking surrealist art often captures intense and impactful scenes. However, the artist also draws inspiration from his time studying abroad in Italy, where he paints European townscapes and reimagines them within his unique realm of color, chaos, and surrealism.

Visitors can also enjoy spectacular views of Osaka while relaxing in the clouds at the Sky High Cafe. The interior is a captivating display of rainbow colors, particularly enchanting during sunset.

8. Tsuyuten Jinja Shrine (Ohatsu Tenjin)

5 Things To Do In Umeda, Osaka

Photo by Pixta

Tsuyuten Jinja Shrine is a 1,300-year-old shrine popular among couples and those wishing for love. Once discovered on an island, the shrine is now situated near the Ohatsu-Tenjindori Shotengai.

5 Things To Do In Umeda, Osaka

Picture by Pixta

One of the intriguing stories associated with this shrine revolves around the true events that inspired the kabuki play "The Love Suicides at Sonezaki." This play narrates the tragic love story of Ohatsu and Tokubei.

Tokubei, a soy sauce merchant, becomes enamored with Ohatsu, a courtesan. Despite having previously rejected his uncle's arranged marriage proposal, Tokubei finds himself entangled in a series of betrayals, unaware of a clandestine wedding arranged without his knowledge.

Adding to the turmoil, Tokubei finds himself obligated to repay a loan. After diligently amassing the required sum, one of his closest friends requests to borrow the money and promises to return it before the deadline. Trusting his friend, Tokubei agrees. However, to his dismay, he later uncovers that his friend denies borrowing the money and publicly accuses Tokubei of falsehood.

5 Things To Do In Umeda, Osaka

Photo by Pixta
Faced with an insurmountable debt and the revelation of an arranged marriage to a woman he does not love, Tokubei finds himself in a dire predicament. Overwhelmed by despair and in a display of unwavering unity, Ohatsu stands by his side as they make the fateful decision to end their lives together at the shrine, choosing not to be separated from each other.

"The Love Suicides at Sonezaki," a work by playwright Chikamatsu Monzaemon, is one of the most popular plays for bunraku (traditional Japanese puppet theater) and kabuki, captivating audiences to this day. The shrine commemorates this tragic love story through statues and paintings portraying the ill-fated couple, surrounded by endearing rows of heart-shaped ema.

Visitors have the opportunity to explore this shrine adorned with heartfelt ema and acquire exquisite charms. Additionally, the site features another shrine dedicated to ensuring safe childbirth.

Tsuyuten Jinja Shrine (Ohatsu Tenjin): Map
Official website: https://www.tuyutenjin.com/

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9. Take a break at SAMURAI CAFE

5 Things To Do In Umeda, Osaka

Picture courtesy of Klook
Just a short distance from Umeda, the SAMURAI CAFEoffers an exciting and lively atmosphere, brimming with entertainment. Visitors to the café can anticipate an evening filled with laughter, as they witness comedic samurai performances featuring fights, dances, and more.

These performances are accompanied by guides in both Japanese and English and do not adhere to a specific storyline, ensuring each show is a unique experience. The legendary samurai directly engage with the audience, involving them in their spirited acts, guaranteeing a personalized and interactive experience. Additionally, guests have the option to dress up as a samurai while immersing themselves in this highly amusing spectacle!

5 Things To Do In Umeda, Osaka

Picture courtesy of Klook
SAMURAI CAFE is conveniently located approximately a 30-minute walk from Umeda or a quick 4-minute train ride followed by a 6-minute walk from Higashi Umeda Station, ensuring easy accessibility for visitors. It's important to note that the cafe is open exclusively on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

10. Visit the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living

5 Things To Do In Umeda, Osaka

Picture courtesy of Klook

The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living is an engaging and interactive destination not to be missed! Transport yourself back in time and meander through Osaka’s diverse historical periods, as the museum showcases a traditional Japanese townscape, highlighting attractions and amenities from the Edo, Meiji, Taisho, and Showa periods.

Additionally, the museum boasts miniature town displays, historical artifacts, and impressive exhibitions, allowing guests the thrilling opportunity to explore the facility wearing a kimono. To cater to international visitors, audio guides are available in Chinese, English, Japanese, and Korean, ensuring a globally accessible experience.

From Higashi-Umeda Station, the museum is a mere 4-minute train ride followed by a 3-minute walk. For those seeking a more adventurous route, it's a picturesque 30-minute stroll from Umeda, with the option to stop by Nakazakicho along the way. Please note that the museum is closed on Tuesdays.

FAQ

Which is better Namba or Umeda?

When deciding between Namba and Umeda in Osaka, Japan, consider your preferences and activities. Namba is known for its vibrant nightlife, entertainment, shopping districts like Dotonbori, and cultural experiences, while also offering proximity to major attractions like Osaka Castle.
 
On the other hand, Umeda is a bustling business district with upscale shopping centers like Grand Front Osaka, proximity to transportation hubs, and attractions such as the Umeda Sky Building for panoramic views of the city. Namba appeals to those seeking a lively atmosphere, diverse dining options, and street performances, while Umeda caters to shoppers, business travelers, and those looking for modern amenities and easy access to transportation. Ultimately, the choice between Namba and Umeda depends on your preferences for entertainment, shopping, dining experiences, and overall ambiance during your visit to Osaka.

Is Umeda Station the same as Osaka Station?

Umeda Station is not the same as Osaka Station, but they are closely connected. Umeda Station serves as a major railway station in Osaka and is interconnected with Osaka Station. While Umeda Station primarily serves the Hankyu Railway, Hanshin Railway, and Osaka Municipal Subway lines, Osaka Station is a larger transportation hub that serves multiple railway lines, including JR West lines such as the JR Kobe Line, JR Kyoto Line, and JR Takarazuka Line. The two stations are in close proximity in the Umeda district of Osaka, making it convenient for passengers to transfer between various railway networks and travel within and beyond the city.

Is Kita the same as Umeda?

Yes, Kita is essentially the same as Umeda in Osaka. Kita is the Japanese word for "north," while Umeda is the name of the district located in the northern part of Osaka's central business district. Therefore, when people refer to Umeda, they are often talking about the Kita area in Osaka. Umeda is one of the bustling commercial and entertainment hubs in Osaka, known for its shopping centers, department stores, office buildings, restaurants, and transportation networks.

Is Umeda Sky Building worth it?

Yes, the Umeda Sky Building in Osaka, Japan, known for its observation deck and unique architecture, is often considered worth a visit by many for its panoramic city views and futuristic experience. Factors like personal interest in cityscapes, architecture, and unique attractions, as well as considerations of cost and time, can influence whether a visit is worthwhile. For those who appreciate these aspects, the Umeda Sky Building can be a memorable and worthwhile stop while exploring Osaka.

What is the history of Umeda?

Umeda in Osaka, Japan, boasts a history that spans centuries, evolving from a pivotal feudal-era transportation hub to a bustling modern district. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Umeda experienced rapid urban development, becoming a prominent commercial and business center. Following World War II, the district underwent reconstruction and revitalization efforts, emerging as a key economic hub in Osaka. Umeda's fame as a transportation hub is underscored by landmarks like Osaka Station, contributing to its growth and significance.
 
Today, Umeda is renowned for its iconic skyscrapers, including the Umeda Sky Building, serving as a vibrant cultural and entertainment hub with a lively urban atmosphere, reflecting Osaka's transformation into a dynamic and thriving urban destination in Japan.

What is the most convenient station in Osaka?

Osaka Station is considered the most convenient hub in Osaka due to its central location in the Umeda district, serving as a major railway station with connections to diverse train lines like JR, Osaka Loop Line, Hankyu, and Hanshin railways. Besides its extensive rail network, the station integrates shopping centers, dining options, and hotels, making it a bustling hub with easy access to various attractions, establishing itself as a key transportation and lifestyle center in the city.

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Discover Umeda, Osaka's Exciting Central Area

There are several stations in the Umeda area, including Osaka Station and Umeda Station, creating confusion for any first-timers. At the same time, there is also a thrill in wandering through corridors and stairwells and finding hidden gems and unique stores.

Station information booths are located in JR Osaka Station in front of the Central Gate and the subway Umeda Station

Enjoy a quintessentially Osaka experience in the ever-evolving Umeda area.

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