Famous for its nightlife and fabulous street food as much as its history and architecture, the buzzing Namba district of Osaka is popular with tourists and locals alike. These are six sights not be missed when visiting the port city.

Tonbori River Walk

This promenade by the banks of the Dotonborigawa is popular with locals and tourists and full of fantastic sights and smells. This is one of the top spots for street food, as well as having more than 30 stores facing the river, providing lots of shopping opportunities. The river walk is often crowded, but spectacular when lit up at night, with neon lights reflecting off the surface of the water.

Keep your eye out for the massive Ferris wheel at Don Quijote store, and grab some authentic Japanese food on your visit. This can be combined with a walk along Shinsaibashi shopping street.

Namba Hips

This iconic building was built including the shape of an exclamation mark and houses a huge range of shops, bars, restaurants, spas and sports facilities. In true Japanese style it also has high-tech gaming and karaoke. The area has a great atmosphere, and you don't have to love gaming or singing to keep yourself amused here. If nothing else, the building itself is enough reason for a visit. There are ten stories above the basement, so running out of things to see experience here is highly unlikely.

Nambayasaka Shrine

This once rambling shrine has seen hard times, both from fire damage and as a result of air raids in 1945. Today it stands proud, with a glorious 12 meter high lion head (I thought it looked like a dragon, but I live in Wales so *everything* looks like a dragon to me...). It's not known for sure just how long the shrine has been standing, but it's estimated that it's been present since at least 1069.

The large mouth of the lion is there to munch up evil spirits and many people believe that entering the mouth of the lion will bring good luck. Not so much with a real one, though, so please don't do that.

Hozen-ji Yokocho

It's highly unusual for a place like this to exist in a country that's as cutting edge as Japan. This street feels so out of place as while the rest of the local area is bang up-to-date, walking along this narrow road transports you away from the neon lights and upscale shopping just a few meters away.

It's like taking a trip back in time and it's amazing that such a serene street exists in the middle of the surrounding madness. Here, you can worship the deity Fudo-myo, and pour water over his mossy statue in order to receive blessings.

Kuromon Ichiba Market

Home to one of the main markets in Osaka, Kuromon Ichiba has been established for more than 170 years and preserves the culinary history of the island. Locals flock to the market to stock up on fresh fish, meats and vegetables. The market is well known for being of such a high quality that it attracts wholesale buyers from high-end local restaurants. It's not just food that's on offer at the market, you can also find shoes, clothing and, of course, electrical goods.

There's a lot of street food here, so it's the perfect place to try out the famous Takoyaki, which is a traditional wheat snack filled with meat or fish and cooked in a specially moulded pan.


If you fancy yourself as a foodie, or even if you just like food, this is the place to be. Running from the Nipponbashi Bridge to the Dotonboribashi Bridge, this space is consistently voted the top sight on the island. The iconic Glico Man neon sign stands proudly as a symbol of the area and is the sight of more selfies that you can count. Other notable oddities in the area include a massive crab with moving legs, known as the Kani Doraku (measuring around 6ft high), and the equally quirky Kuidaore Taro figure who plays the drums and looks very much like a geeky white man.

If all that wasn't enough for you, there's also a massive lantern in the shape of a blowfish. Not quite Hootie, but not too shabby all the same. The food along the river is incredible and you could eat in a different place every night and never get bored.