First weekend in Osaka
First weekend of free time! I jumped on my bike and went to Kitasenri station, to catch the train to Osaka city center…
As usual, lots of bicycles everywhere so it’s quite hard to find an empty spot. Moreover it’s impressing how safe it must be around here – some people don’t even lock their bikes or if they do they use very small-sized chains…
Half an hour and I got to Umeda station:
Umeda (梅田) is a commercial and business district in Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan, best known as the city’s main northern railway terminus (Ōsaka Station, Umeda Station). Umeda is a large traffic hub, as well as the principal office and hotel district. It is especially a street lined with large buildings at West-Umeda, Dojima and Nakanoshima, with over 40 skyscrapers in the district. Umeda is also known for shopping: three of the city’s largest department stores (Hanshin, Hankyu, and Daimaru) are located there, as well as several shopping malls, such as Diamor Osaka, HEP Five, HEP Navio, and Whity Osaka.
The district’s name means “ume field”. It was originally written as “buried field” (埋田), because the area had been agricultural and was filled in to accommodate the new train station in the 1870s.
And the fun begins… wherever you turn it’s an unstoppable sequel of unusual stuff… video games that distribute chocolates when you win…
…. busy city-roads landscapes…..
… restaurants publicizing their food by means of accurate plastic reproductions (it’s the rule here: people have to see what they’re going to eat apparently!)…
.. the Kita-Mido temple….
This temple, belonging to the Honganji sect of Jodoshinshu True Pure Land School Buddhism, has its origin in a house for priests constructed in another part of Osaka in 1591 by followers wanting Jodoshinshu to remain active in Osaka. In 1597, the house was moved to its present site, which was called “Tsumura-go” in those days, and began to be called Kita-mido. Since then Kita-mido was popular among Osaka citizens, together with Minami-mido (Namba Branch Temple), but both temples were razed in the Great Osaka Air Raids in 1945. The present building of Kita-mido was constructed in 1964. Incidentally, the avenue linking Kita-mido and Minami-mido is called “Midosuji” with reference to the names of both branch temples.
… and finally the lively Shinsaibashi area at night…..
Shinsaibashi (心斎橋) is a district in the Chūō-ku ward of Osaka, Japan and the city’s main shopping area. It centers around Shinsaibashi-suji, a covered shopping street, that is north of Dōtonbori and parallel and east of Mido-suji street. Associated with Shinsaibashi, and west of Mido-suji street, is Amerika-mura, an American-themed shopping area and center of Osaka’s youth culture. Major stores and boutiques concentrates are found around the area. Shinsaibashi is easily accessed via the subway.
Like many place names in Osaka, the Shinsaibashi shopping district gets its name from one of the many “Machi-bashi” (town bridges) that were built and managed by the local merchants. Shinsaibashi was a much loved, landmark bridge that spanned the Nagahori-gawa canal.