As the main entertainment district in Osaka, you’ll never run out of things to do in Namba.
Located in the southern (“Minami”) part of Osaka, Namba is home to an endless selection of restaurants, shops, and clubs, and some of the top things to do in Osaka including Namba Yasaka Shrine.
With the broad selection of tourist attractions in Namba, you may have trouble deciding how to spend your time. From cultural sites and public parks to sprawling department stores, Namba has got it all.
Not sure where to go in Namba? Plan your Namba itinerary with this guide to the best places to visit in Namba…
Table of Contents
- What to do in Namba: Top attractions & best places to visit
- Browse the shops and entertainment venues on Dotonbori Street
- Search for upscale boutiques and trendy shops in Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade
- Taste the local cuisine during a trip to Hozenji Yokocho
- Discover the latest electronics in Den Town
- Shop for fresh seafood and fruit at Kuromon Market
- Take a photo of the lion’s head at Namba Yasaka Shrine
- Watch puppets perform at the National Bunraku Theater
- Take a break from the urban landscape with a stroll through Namba Parks
- Best hotels in Namba
What to do in Namba: Top attractions & best places to visit
Browse the shops and entertainment venues on Dotonbori Street
Dotonbori is the main street that runs through Namba. The streets are lined with a little bit of everything, including stores, theatres, clubs, cafes, and restaurants.
It’s the central entertainment district and foodie destination. It also includes access to some of the top things to see & do in Osaka, including the famous Kani Doraku crab sign and the Glico Running Man sign.
The street runs on both sides of Dotonbori canal. Each side contains high-rise buildings and neon signs with shops and restaurants on the bottom levels. It’s best to visit at night, with the neon lights reflecting on the canal.
Search for upscale boutiques and trendy shops in Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade
Your Namba sightseeing tour will likely include stops at several shopping destinations, including Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade. The 600-metre long shopping complex is a covered street with shops on both sides. It’s also right next to Dotonbori.
The shopping arcade includes a mixture of shops. If you’re looking for authentic local wares, you can find traditional stores such as teahouses and kimono shops. It’s also home to many modern chain retail shops, drugstores, and trendy boutiques.
If you’re not interested in high-end goods, visit the side streets next to the shopping arcade. You’ll discover a treasure trove of smaller shops selling everything from woodblock prints to handmade souvenirs.
Taste the local cuisine during a trip to Hozenji Yokocho
Hozenji Yokocho is one of the best places to visit in Namba to explore local cuisine and get away from the modern streets of Osaka. It’s about a five-minute stroll from Namba Station.
Walking on Hozenji Yokocho takes you back to an older Osaka. It’s a stone street flanked with old buildings containing small cafes and restaurants.
Visit in the evening to enjoy the full atmosphere of Hozenji Yokocho. The street is quieter compared to other nighttime spots and beautifully lit with the storefront lanterns.
When you reach the centre of the street, take some time to stop and admire the moss-covered Buddha statue outside of Hozenji Temple.
Discover the latest electronics in Den Town
As with many Namba points of interest, Den Town is another destination full of shops. People compare it to Akihabara district in Tokyo. Both spots are full of shops devoted to electronics, video games, and pop culture.
It’s a bright shopping street. The buildings are plastered with anime and manga advertisements. You’ll see cosplayers, maid cafes, and dozens of small video arcades.
Depending on when you visit, you may also get to enjoy live music and interesting street performances. Keep in mind that Den Town is also one of the busiest places in Osaka, so expect large crowds.
Shop for fresh seafood and fruit at Kuromon Market
After viewing some of the top Namba attractions, you may need something to eat. Find fresh seafood, fruit, vegetables, and meat at Kuromon Market. It’s a covered street spanning over half a kilometre.
You’ll pass close to 150 stalls, shops, and restaurants. The sprawling market is a great place to take in the smells of fresh food and find something to eat. Stop in at one of the restaurants to try essential Osaka dishes, such as Takoyaki (fried octopus) and Fugu (pufferfish).
The market is open all day but many of the shops start closing after rush hour. The best time to visit is the early afternoon. You’ll find more shops and smaller crowds.
Take a photo of the lion’s head at Namba Yasaka Shrine
If you’re trying to decide what to do in Namba after you tire of shopping, get your culture fix at Namba Yasaka Shrine. While the district has several shrines, Namba Yasaka is a unique destination.
The shrine resembles many other shrines, featuring traditional Japanese architecture surrounded by statues and carefully manicured topiaries. The unique feature is the lion’s head stage next to the shrine.
Constructed in 1975, the lion’s head stands close to 12 metres tall. The stage is in the centre of the lion’s mouth. The gaudy design of the lion is a complete contrast to the traditional look of the shrine next door. Snapping a photo in front of the stage is one of the most popular things to do in Namba.
Watch puppets perform at the National Bunraku Theater
The National Bunraku Theater makes the list of top points of interest in Namba, thanks to its performers. The Bunraku performances include three sets of performers. The plays include tall puppets, musicians, and a singer.
The singer (chanter) and a musician sit in a separate stage between the main stage and the audience. While the musician plays traditional instruments, the chanter recites the lines for each character. Unlike other performances involving puppets, the puppeteers remain visible during the play.
The performances are in Japanese but the theater provides earphones with English translations.
Take a break from the urban landscape with a stroll through Namba Parks
Osaka is a modern city full of concrete sidewalks and large buildings. If you miss the greenery and want to know where to go in Namba to see plants, visit Namba Parks. It’s not really a park but it includes several gardens.
The shopping complex includes a high-rise building with 120 shops. The central rooftop park crosses several city blocks and climbs more than eight levels. You’ll pass lawns, streams, ponds, and waterfalls on the outdoor terraces and gardens. To avoid getting lost, pick up a map of the complex from the information desk when you arrive.
Best hotels in Namba
If you’re looking to experience all the best things to do in Namba, staying at one of the best hotels in Namba is a must. The district has some of the city’s best places to stay, and, with its central location, Namba is the perfect place to base yourself while exploring Osaka.
- Sotetsu Fresa Inn Osaka Namba: One of the more affordable options in central Namba, this no-frills 3-star hotel delivers surprisingly spacious rooms with a host of excellent amenities.
- Hotel Monterey Grasmere Osaka: Conveniently connected directly to Namba Station, this 4-star hotel is the top mid-range pick in the area thanks to its great location and four on-site eating options.
- Swisotel Nankai Osaka: The top luxury hotel in Namba, this 5-star property offers superb rooms with excellent views out to Osaka’s skyline in a perfect central location.