Den Den Town (Nipponbashi)
The commercial district was once known for second-hand stores. Today, it is often compared to Tokyo’s famous Akihabara Electric Town. Some of the more popular, and idiosyncratic, stores include Super Potato, which specializes in retro video games, and Gee! Store, the place to find a wide variety of costumes and other clothing. Parallel to Sakaisuji Avenue, on the street locally known as Ota Road (short for “Otaku” or, geek) fans of Japanese pop culture can find such stores as Yellow Submarine and Animate, which have huge selections of game and anime/manga merchandise. Alongside endless entertainment shopping, Nipponbashi boasts a wide variety of cafes and restaurants.
Special Otaku-themed guided tours of Osaka typically visit Den Den Town. Taking one of these tours is a great way for non-Japanese-speaking visitors to get access to places that might otherwise feel off-limits.
Things to know before you go
- Den Den Town is a big hit with Japanese pop culture fans: a visit offers insight into Japanese youth culture.
- Some of the shops sell tax- and duty-free items—carry your passport.
- There are several hotels in the area, should you wish to be based there.
How to get there
Den Den Town is located near Nipponbashi Station, on the Sennichimae and Sakaisuji Lines of the Osaka City Subway. To get there from JR Osaka Station, take the Osaka Loop line to Tsuruhashi then transfer to the Sennichimae Line to Nippombashi. Den Den Town is around a 5-minute walk from the station and is clearly signposted.
When to get there
Opening hours vary by store but are typically from around 10am to around 8pm. The best time to visit is on the weekends when crowds of cosplay-dressed youngsters arrive to shop and pose in their wild outfits. Held around the spring equinox, the Nipponbashi Street Festa attracts thousands of cosplayers.
Dragon Quest-Themed Lawson
A huge hit with gamers, Den-Den Town’s branch of Lawson (one of Japan’s most ubiquitous convenience store chains) is covered in murals depicting characters from the role-playing video game Dragon Quest and also sells themed merchandise. Visitors entering the store even hear the game’s sound effects as they walk through the door.