Visiting Osaka? You’ll likely spend much of your time exploring the best things to do in Namba. Located in southern Osaka (Minami), Namba is the city’s main entertainment district. Namba is home to an endless selection of restaurants, shops, and clubs. It also sports 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…
What to see & do in Namba
Browse the shops and entertainment venues on Dotonbori Street
Need primer for what to do in Namba? Start by exploring Dotonbori. Centred around the Dotonbori canal, the area is Namba’s main entertainment district. It’s also one of the best foodie destinations in Osaka.
The streets around Dotonbori are lined with a little bit of everything. As you roam, you’ll stumble upon stores, theatres, clubs, cafés, and restaurants.
Dotonbori is also home to some of the top things to see & do in Osaka. Highlights include the famous Kani Doraku crab sign and the Glico Running Man sign.
The streets runs on both sides of Dotonbori canal. Each side contains high-rise buildings and neon signs. Shops and restaurants occupy the bottom levels. Dotonbori is best to visit at night as the neon lights reflects upon 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. Be sure to include Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade in the mix. The 600-metre long shopping complex is a covered street with shops on both sides. It’s located next to Dotonbori.
The shopping arcade includes a mixture of shops. If you’re looking for authentic local wares, you can find traditional stores like 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. The stores sell 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. Within them, you’ll find several small cafes and restaurants.
Visit in the evening to enjoy the full atmosphere of Hozenji Yokocho. The street is quieter compared to other nighttime spot in Namba. It’s quite atmospheric, too. At night, it’s 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 in Tokyo. Both spots are full of shops devoted to electronics, video games, and pop culture.
Osaka Nipponbashi Denden Town is a bright & lively shopping street. Its 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 Den Town is also one of the busiest places in Osaka. Expect large crowds
Shop for fresh seafood and fruit at Kuromon Market
Built up an appetite while checking out some of the top Namba attractions? Find fresh seafood, fruit, vegetables, and meat at Kuromon Market (Kuromon Ichiba). The market occupies a covered street spanning over half a kilometre.
At Kuromon Market, 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 balls) and fugu (pufferfish).
Kuromon 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
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. It features 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
For culture lovers, the National Bunraku Theater is one of top points of interest in Namba. The Bunraku performances here include three sets of performers. The plays features 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 lines for each character. Unlike other performances involving puppets, the puppeteers remain visible during the play.
The performances are in Japanese but the theatre 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. With its central location, Namba is the perfect place to base yourself while exploring Osaka.
- Sotetsu Fresa Inn Osaka Namba is one of the more affordable options in central Namba. This no-frills 3-star hotel delivers surprisingly spacious rooms. You’ll also enjoy a host of excellent amenities.
- Hotel Monterey Grasmere Osaka is conveniently connected 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 is 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.