Translated by Shinji Takaramura
Nipponbashi: An Otaku-town in Kansai
Looking to satisfy your Otaku needs in Kansai? Nipponbashi may just be your spot!
Written by FujimotoHiro
Photo by Janne Moren
Japanese pop culture equals anime, and anime equals Akihabara,Tokyo. This is a popular image.
But did you know that there is also a powerful cultural town in Kansai? The name of the town is Nipponbashi,Osak,Osaka.
"Ponbashi," the Electric Town
Nipponbashi, nicknamed "Ponbashi" is known as an "electric town" with many radio and audio equipment stores. There are also stores that handles items that is difficult to find at volume-sales store, such as high-end audio cables and small-sized amateur radio sets.
Many signs, such as Panasonic and SONY, appear in the main street, so you can see what this place is like.
A town in Tokyo has the same kanji, but pronounced "Nihonbashi." It is completely different from Nipponbashi.
Photo by starlam
There are some stores that handle parts for handmade PCs, so PC users in the Kansai area also frequents Nipponbashi.
Due to the number of tourists from overseas, duty-free shopping has become possible. Visitors from abroad can buy Japanese electric appliances at a low price.
"Ponbashi" the Otaku Town
Near the main street, there is a street where anime shops such as Animate, Gamers, and Toranoana, along with modeling and action figure shops such as Kotobukiya and Volks, line up. It is called "Otaroad" where "otaku" people from all over the Kansai area gather on holidays.
Along with the shops handling the latest anime items, there is a shop that handles out of date models of Gunpla; a shop where you can buy vintage game machines such as PS1, Famicon, and SEGA SATURN, in mint condition; an air-gun shop frequented by the survival game players in the Kansai area; and a model train shop.
Nipponbashi sponsors the anuual Nipponbashi Street Festa, an event famous for cosplayers coming together from all over Japan. During this period, 240,000 people visit this town. For further information, please take a look at the following article.
The 2D Idol of Nipponbashi
In Nipponbashi, you will come across Neon chan, the official town mascot. She was created by the fanous illustrator Noizi Ito, who designed characters for the "Haruhi Suzumiya" series and "Shakugan no Shana." Neon chan is a local "moe(萌え)" girl.
Where to Go
If you can't decide where to go, visit "Nipponbashi Information."
The staff, who knows the in and out of this area will help you. Maps and pamphlets in English, Chinese (both simplified and original), and Korean are also available.
There is also Neon chan goods that can only be bought here, so it's the perfect place to buy a souvenir.
Nipponbashi has a different charm from Akihabara, so please take a look if you come to the Kansai area.
Address: First Floor, NTT Nipponbashi Building, 5-8-21,Nipponbashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka City, 556-0005
Open Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closed from January 1st to 3rd.
Language: The staff is not multi-lingual, but sightseeing maps in English, Chinese, and Korean, are available.
Station: Ebisucho station (Osaka Municipal Subway, Sakaisuji Line)
Access: Nipponbashi Information is right in front of the 1A exit of the Ebisucho station.
Official HP: http://www.denden-town.or.jp/annaisyo.html/