See also: 30 Best Things to Do in in Osaka
Umeda, situated in the northern part of Osaka, and happens to be one of the much-loved places around this Kansai city of Osaka. Umeda might be a small area, but due to its high connectivity and hidden tourist spots, it has amassed recognition and popularity from all over the world. Sophisticated restaurants, peaceful shrines and uncountable shops are the main places to visit in this interesting, bright site in the Kansai area.
HEP 5 Ferris Wheel
Umeda area is literally known for its Ferris Wheel, called as HEP 5 Ferris Wheel. The ticket of going on the wheel is just $4.50 (i.e. 500 yen), its affordability making it even more attractive. The fun ride is a part of HEP 5, a popular shopping center found in Umeda. It is a huge enough ride, around 106 meters in height and paints a beautiful and breath-taking picture of the entire district as you gradually reach the top. The entire ride, i.e. limited to one completely safe round, takes around 15 minutes to complete. It has pretty lights embedded in its structure, making it an amazing thing to look at after its dark. Some food stalls can be found at the foot of the wheel, where you can enjoy a snack or two.
Umeda Sky Building
Umeda Sky Building is one of the well-known landmarks of Umeda. It is a spectacular building, alternatively known as the ‘New Umeda City’. The structure stands tall at 173 meters, a quiet 10-15-minute walk from Umeda Station. The structure has two towers, going up to 40 floors, connected at the 39th floor nestles a powerful Kuchu-Teien observatory, i.e. ‘Floating Garden Observatory’, that gives a picturesque 360 view of the Osaka area. It has actually been included in ‘The Top 20 Buildings Around the World’ by the United Kingdom’s ‘The Times’. The building is primarily corporate in nature, with offices mostly found on almost all the floors, except the basement floor, which is a perfect imitation of a town from the Showa period. The building in itself is quite ethereal, beautiful in architecture and beautiful symmetry.
Grand Front Mall
One of the well-known places in Umeda is the Grand Front Mall. It was established fairly recently, in the year 2013 and yet, it has become one of the busiest places around town. The huge structure is located on the northern side of Osaka station, which happens to be right in the middle of the Umeda area. The sprawling building is primarily a shopping complex, more than 270 stores, segregated into South Building and North Building. The South Building is primarily filled with fashion and beauty shops, restaurants, among others, whereas the North Building has shops of furniture and daily necessities, along with restaurants, hotels and showrooms. Outlets of popular shops, such as Bag ‘n’ Noun and Steve Alan are also within the building. One of the fancy hotels in the whole of Umeda and Osaka the InterContinental Osaka is also situated in this mall.
Tsuyu no Tenjin Shrine
If you need some peace right in the middle of an urban setting, then walk some 5-minutes away from Hankyu Umeda Station and you will find yourself facing Tsuyu no Tenjin Shrine. Established more than 1000 years ago, the shrine is not secluded to some hilly area or some quiet places, as most of the shrines are but is actually situated right in the middle of the hustle-bustle of the city, wedged among buildings. There was a beautiful doll play, written in the year 1700, which made use of this shrine as its setting. The name of the protagonist in the play is Ohatsu, which is also why the shrine is known by the name of ‘Ohatsu Tenjin’. As the play was actually a romantic story, the shrine has become famous for getting romantic blessings. In fact, you will find heart-shaped tags hung around the shrine, tied by people who come there seeking romantic success.
Joypolis is a famous Japanese amusement park and a gaming arcade chain, first established in the year 1994. It has since then opened branches in cities like Yokohama, Tokyo, Quingdao and also in Umeda. It is located on the 8th and 9th floors of HEP 5 building in Umeda, providing various fun rides and amazing games. The Ferris wheel is actually a part of Umeda Joypolis, though it has become a popular enough ride to be considered as a solitary landmark. The floors, decorated with bright neon lights, are always filled with enthusiastic children and eager teenagers. The only thing here to remember that kids below 15 years of age won’t be allowed inside the premises after 7 PM, whereas children below 17 years of age have to leave by 10 PM.
Hankyu Higashi Dori Shopping Street
Umeda certainly is the shopping capital of Japan and one of the famous places in there is the Hankyu Higashi Dori Shopping Street. The street is a close network of shops, where one can find literally anything they wish to purchase. The name ‘Hankyu Higashi Dori’ translated means ‘Hankyu East Street’. The name stuck around because of the area’s location; it is situated on the east of the Hankyu Department Store. The street gives off happy and cheery vibes, what with all its colors and authentic Japanese charm. Along with shops and cafés, there are pinballs joints and karaoke shops in and around the area. Some well-known restaurants here are Buzz Umeda, Marisqueria Gozo (a Spanish restaurant) and Babbino.
The Hankyu Umeda Main Store
The Hankyu Umeda Main Store was opened in the year 1929 and will just complete a century of existence in a few years. It has a wonderful reputation of being the fashion leader of the area. You can access it from the Hankyu Umeda station, as it is situated right over it. The upper floors consist of some high-society restaurants while the lower floors are filled with many shops and department stores; the two basement floors, considered as great food floors, are filled with numerous food joints. The branches are spread all over Japan; however, the flagship store is located in Umeda and that is why it is one of the most visited stores around. This elegant and bright store also offers a service counter where people from abroad can wait around, while the process for their duty-free tax refund is being completed.
By now, you would’ve understood how Umeda is the king of shopping centers. Here we have is Daimaru Umeda which is a departmental store, having its strong presence all over Japan, especially western Japan. The Umeda branch has got more popular after its complete renovation in the year 2011. The store looks quite aesthetic and people have claimed to get comfortable and easy shopping experience, thanks to Daimaru’s spacious stores. Outlets of popular stores can also be found in the Daimaru, including that of The Sanrio, Uniqlo, Tokyu Hands and even the Pokémon Center. The 14th floor offers gourmet dining options whereas the Basement floors, i.e. B1 and B2, is well-known as the ‘Feast Paradise’. Once you enter Daimaru, you will not come out with empty hands – that’s for sure.
Whity Umeda is a big underground shopping centre and is considered to be, in fact, one of the popular and huge shopping malls in Japan. It can be accessed from Hankyu Umeda Station – one of the entrances is directly connected to Umeda station - and even JR Osaka Station. The walls down there are primarily white in color, which lends the name to the mall. There are restaurants in Whity Umeda, tucked in between more than 150 stores, which sell everything, from medicines to fashion products. The mall can become quite confusing if it’s your first visit there, as it virtually seems to stretch along forever. The Whity Umeda wakes up at 10 AM, while the shops close at 9 PM and restaurants by 10 PM.
Yodobashi Umeda happens to be a paradise for gadget buffs. The store is located on the north side of JR Osaka Station and is one of the most-visited branches of the country. The Umeda store is a large area, extending over 13 floors, filled with anything and everything electronics. As is characteristic of the stores over there, the lower floors offer Yodobashi’s gadgets and electronics, whereas the upper flowers consist of clothing shops, cafés and restaurants and parking area. From mobile phones to even electric shavers, all of the things provided fittingly fall in the affordable range. It is a heavenly electronics place and with reasonable prices, don’t you think?
Shin-Umeda Shokudogai is classically known as ‘Food Street’ as it is lined with more than 100 restaurants, cafés and bars, ready to provide you with deliciously awesome food. What is now known as a food paradise started with just 18 shops - they still stand proud among the newer additions. Try eating the food in hashigo dining style; it is where you enjoy one snack at a place and move on to the next to enjoy another snack. The place offers dishes from multiple cuisines apart from Japanese, including Chinese, Indian and Western. The eateries are spread over two compact underground floors, under the tracks of Osaka Umeda Station. One can see the majority of tourists and office workers frequenting the place, thanks to its easy access from the station.
Hanshin Umeda Honten
Hanshin Umeda Honten is a department store, famous as the flagship store of the store. It is located in the Daihanshin Building, which is right across from the Umeda-Osaka station. The 1st to 5th floors are dedicated to women’s clothing – as is a feature of each and every Japanese store – with latest and affordable fashion trends. The 7th floor is dedicated to men’s fashion. It is, however, much well-known for its food mall, located in the basement and the exclusive shop if Hanshin Tigers, one of the beloved baseball teams in Japan, on the 8th floor. Daihanshin Building is currently undergoing a redevelopment project, where they will be merged into one huge complex; due to the store being people’s favorite, it is kept in operation throughout the redevelopment.
Umeda Ohatsutenjin Kobe Beef Yakiniku
Umeda Ohatsutenjin is a pretty little restaurant located at a short walking distance from Higashi Umeda station. Near the entrance is a sign, written in Japanese, which spells out ‘Kobe Beef yakiniku for grown-ups’. The dishes served there are elite and sophisticated, something only ‘grown-ups’ can handle with grace. Once you enter, a flight of steps will lead you to the restaurant, a petite one with only 12 seats around. The chef’s counter is right next to the tables, all arranged in a parallel line; this way, you can have a pleasant interaction with the chefs. The dishes offered here obviously revolve around everything beef. Some of the popular ones are raw beef sampler, ultra-grade grilled Shabu, beef tongue tasting platter and the legendary 8-dish Kobe beef meal.
Techno Bar Dfloor
Techno Bar Dfloor, nestled comfortably among the tall buildings of Umeda, is a place people are always seen frequenting. The owner put some thought into the designing of the place, which is why the bar is vibrant and lively and always playing techno music, instead of the ‘top 20 songs’. In fact, the bar actually significantly symbolizes techno music and happens to be a futuristic rendering of the essence of such music. Another important point to note is that since the barstool seats are Bluetooth compatible, you can play your own music – strictly techno, mind you.
Hankyu Sanban Gai
Hankyu Sanban Gai is a heavenly shopping center, closely connected to Hankyu Umeda station. It is halfway under the ground while two floors are located above the ground. There is a highway bus terminal, a Kinokuniya bookstore and even a Big Man screen found dispersed over the upper floors. The lower floor houses a variety of quality pubs and restaurants, whereas the lowest level has some hobby and interior design stores and Kiddy Land. A significant point of attraction here is Junpei Mitsui’s amazing Lego structures of ‘Hankyu Umeda Station’ and ‘Aquarium’; tourists are usually recommended to visit the artworks of Japan’s most popular Lego Builder.
Umeda is primarily known as the shopping center of Osaka, but there are a lot of hidden places and things to go to and experience in this sprawling city. Make sure you visit these unique places in Umeda, which are generally avoided in the light of all the huge shopping store it offers.