Shinsekai is known as being Osaka's most chaotic town in many ways. It is such an interesting area to explore. From gazing at Osaka's iconic Tsutenkaku Tower to eating some of the best kushikatsu in the city at Janjan Yokocho, the place is packed with fun things to do.
Shinsekai is where all vibrant Osaka's culture emerges, with neon lights and 3D signboards. But did you know it was inspired by New York and Paris? In 1912, the symbol of Shinsekai, Tsutenkaku was built with a unique architectural design that looked as if the Eiffel Tower had been built on top of Arc de Triomphe. It was such a novel idea back then.
Things to do in Shinsekai
It's so much fun just walking around the area and exploring since there's plenty to see and do in Shinsekai! The atmosphere here makes you feel like you've been thrown back to the 80s. Following is a list of places to visit while you are in Shinsekai.
1. Eat Local Food!
Osaka has a lot of famous cuisines that are called 'B gourmet,' meaning they are cheap and delicious, but not as fancy as food typically thought of as 'gourmet.' Kushikatsu is one of Osaka's famous cuisines. It is deep-fried skewered meat and vegetables. One of Osaka's most famous places to eat kushikatsu is Daruma, the original location of which is located in Shinsekai! If you're thinking of having kushikatsu, this is a great place to try it!
Janjan Yokocho is a popular 'shotengai' street that is narrow and full of cheap and tasty restaurants. This is a great place to come to find some awesome B gourmet foods!
Zuboraya is a popular restaurant specialized in fugu. You can easily find it with a huge fugu balloon hanging from the top of the restaurant. Fugu is another one of the foods that Osaka is known for, and shouldn't be missed before leaving the city!
Osaka is home to a special kind of juice called 'Mix Juice,' which is made of many different fruits. Osaka is really famous for its Mix Juice! This store, Sennariya Coffee, a famous kissaten (old Japanese cafe) is where Mix Juice was born! Make sure to check out when you are in the area!
2. Tsutenkaku Tower
The Tsutenkaku Tower is one of Osaka's icons and is the focal point of the Shinsekai area. There are 7 different floors in the building, each filled with amusing activities and shops. The top floors offer a great view of the surrounding area, and there's even an open-air garden on the very top! This is a fun spot to spend an hour or two while you're in the Shinsekai area!
The tower is open from 8:30 to 21:30 every day of the year, and the admission fee is ¥800 for adults or ¥400 for kids.
Fun fact: Did you know that the tower displays the following day's weather forecast by changing the color of the lights at the top of the tower?
Make sure you rub this guy's feet for good luck when visiting the tower!
3. Isshinji Temple
They also have Shinsekai Inari Shrine, where they have Omikuji made of stones! Omikuji is like a fortune cookie, but instead of cookies normally you shake a box filled with papers with numbers written on them, and you would get a number, then get exchanged with Omikuji, that tells your luck for the year. It is popular and people usually do it on new years.
Shinsekai Inari has a rare Omikuji! It is a form of roulette, where you spin the roulette made of stones, and you refer the number you got to the ones written on the board, and you'll see your luck. It's really interesting, right?
4. Shitennoji Temple
The temple's famous 'Goju no Tou,' five-storied pagoda
Another famous temple in Shinsekai is called Shitennoji Temple. It was built by Shotoku Taishi, who was a legendary politician and prince during the Asuka period in Japan. Aside from all of the legendary work that he did in Asuka period, he was also famous for his ability to understand 10 people talking at the same time! Shitennoji Temple is an old temple with a long history and is located in the middle of the city. Make sure to check it out when you're in the area!
5. Tennoji Zoo
Tennoji Zoo is a large and popular zoo in Osaka! The entrance fee is only ¥500 for adult and ¥200 for children, which is super cheap! The zoo has a long history and is famous for its Indian elephant. If you feel like stretching your legs and seeing some big animals, check out Tennoji Zoo!
6. Q's Mall
If you're looking for some shopping close to Shinsekai, check out Q's Mall! The bustling complex is large and filled with loads of stores!
7. New Star Shinsekai
New Star Shinsekai is located very close to Tsutenkaku, and it is a little game store filled with local atmosphere. Here, you'll see people playing a game called "Smart Ball" which is a pinball-like gambling game similar to pachinko. However, this version is more casual, and you can play for just ¥100. It is a very simple game that anyone can play, and is fun to try!
If you love arcade games or are wondering what old Japanese games look like, you should check Kasuga Gorakujo out! The old-school game parlor has all sorts of old games which were popular years ago. It has an awesome retro atmosphere, and you can play games from just ¥50!
9. Shinsekai Ichiba
Shinsekai Ichiba is a really deep and interesting area to explore. The once-vibrant market is now known as a 'shutter arcade,' since almost none of the stores are open anymore. It is nevertheless fun to look around and feel the Showa-era atmosphere while checking out the shops that remain in business.
I hope you have a wonderful time in the retro Sinsekai area! If you are exploring other parts of Osaka, check out the following areas as well: