Nipponbashi, Kuromon Market and the Umeda Sky Building

On our final day in Osaka, we decided to visit Nipponbashi, also known as Den Den Town, the destination of otakus (a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests, commonly related to anime and manga). It is Osaka’s most popular area for electronics, anime, manga, videogames and action figures, so obviously Ry couldn’t miss out!

However we got a little distracted when we stumbled across Kuromon Market, a 2 minute walk away from the subway station.

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I’m so glad that we found this gem as it was one of the highlights of our first trip to Japan!

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Kuromon Market is a 600 meter-long market with 170 stalls which offer fresh fish, fruit, meat, vegetables, noodles and more. The market is known as ‘Osaka’s kitchen’ because many of the city’s chefs purchase their ingredients here. It has more locals that tourists, which is always a great sign that you’re getting authentic Japanese food, rather than food catered to tourists.

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With over 190 years of history and tradition, the market is well-known nationwide. However the number of tourists has increased drastically, therefore more restaurants now serve lunch.

The amazing aromas of fresh grilled fish, shellfish, meat and fried snacks wafting through the air are bound to make your mouth water! We ate so much delicious food as we strolled along the market searching for more tasty conquests.

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Although some shops were full of people tucking into raw fish so early in the morning, we couldn’t quite stomach it, so decided to wander around a little more and pop back later for lunch.

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They even had my favourite…prawn sashimi!

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We also came across a crowd enchanted by a tuna cutting show.

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You can also purchase the freshly cut tuna and eat it right there and then.

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As you may be able to tell from my photos, I love seafood so this is easily the best market I’ve ever been to.

The food is so affordable too!

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Ishibashi Shokuhin is a stall that has been open since 1974, serving an authentic taste of Oden, one of the most popular home cooked meals in Japan.

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It’s a winter dish that consists of several ingredients such as boiled eggs, daikon (white radish/mooli), konjac and processed fishcakes stewed in a light, soy-flavoured dashi broth. Ingredients vary according to region and between each household.

This shop has been featured on overseas TV, too! We’ll have to go back and try this next time 😉

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I turn around for a second and Ry’s found a shop selling doughnuts.

Typical.

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I went for some lovely clams!

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These little sticks of squid stuffed with quails’ eggs were also delicious and kinda adorable.

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Seafood so fresh that it can be eaten raw or barbecued if you’d prefer!

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CHOP CHOP.

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This stall towards the end of the market does the most incredible fish cakes!

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The sushi and sashimi looks incredibly fresh too.

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After wandering around the market, we decided to check out the shops in Nipponbashi before heading back for lunch.

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Casual giant bug on top of a building…

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Although Den Den Town is named after all the electronic stores in the area, it also includes maid cafes, toys stores, game stores, hobby shops, music shops and some duty free shops.

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The shops carry new, retro, obscure and international items.

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Sailormoon!

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Cosplay shops.

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We also discovered a few adult shops…

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Orange is the new black’s inspo 😉

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Oh, Japan!

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After a few hours of checking out the shops, we’d worked up quite an appetite and headed back to the market.

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First stop, fishcakes!

They were incredible…we may have gone for seconds 😉

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If you’re ever in the area, you NEED to try the deep-fried soft shell crab burgers!

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They give you the whole crab and it just tastes divine; the crab is so fresh and juicy while the bun is light and fluffy!

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My mouth is watering just thinking about it…

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Ry also went for a takoyaki ball taco thing which unfortunately didn’t live up to his expectations.

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However it made for an excellent impression of a duck.

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Mmmm, strawberries.

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White strawberries!

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These are the best strawberries that we’ve had in our lives and they’re available all year round!

If I lived in Japan, I’d be eating these all day, every day.

They’re THAT good.

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Even better with condensed milk.

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Of course, we couldn’t leave the market without grabbing some sashimi…

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We went for a pack of juicy scallops and they were so fresh, sweet and cheap! 😀

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Finally, Ry managed to drag me away from all the food and we headed over to the Umeda Sky Building which is the nineteenth tallest building (173 meters) in the Osaka Prefecture.

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The building features a rooftop observatory on the 39th floor called ‘The Floating Garden Observatory’.

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The observation platform of this observatory is a bridge connecting the two towers of the Umeda Sky Building, whose roof features a doughnut shape that provides an unobstructed 360-degree view.

From the observatory, you can not only see all of Osaka but as far away as Awaji Island.

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Due to its great height, its rather nippy up there so after we’d admired the views, we popped down to the café on the floor below to enjoy the views with a couple of hot beverages.

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While offices occupy most of the building’s other floors, the basement floor of the building houses the Takimi-Koji gourmet street. This is a replica of a Japanese street in the early Showa Period in the 1920s. There is also an urban garden with walking trails and water features.

Unfortunately we didn’t check this out, so feel free to share your photos with us if you’ve been/are planning to visit.

When we got back to Namba, we picked up our luggage and headed over to the Shin-Osaka station to catch our bullet train over to Tokyo with sandwiches for fuel.

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Although it was much more expensive than the overnight bus, it took just under 4 hours as opposed to 8 on the bus. Also we wanted to experience it! We remembered our ears popping a little at the start, but after a while it just feels like you’re on a normal train.

By midnight, we’d arrived in Tokyo and a surprising number of restaurants were still open near our hotel in Ikebukuro, so we opted for some Chinese food (mixed veg and chicken, pak choi and tofu with mince).

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After dinner, we wandered around our new surroundings a little more and I sang happy birthday to Ry a few times…turning 25 in Tokyo’s alright.

xxx

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