We left Kyoto on our 5th day in Japan for Osaka. Taking the JR Special Rapid Service train from Kyoto train station, we choose to disembark at Shin-Osaka station as we needed to transfer onto the Midosuji subway to get to our hotel in Namba. The journey is less than 25 minutes and cost ¥560. Alternatively, you can take the Shinkansen for a mere 12 minutes ride costing ¥1,420. Unlike the JR Special Rapid, the Shinkansen do not proceed to Osaka Station City. Either way, doing the transfer at Shin-Osaka is less hectic than doing so at Osaka Station City. (Wonder why it’s called ‘Osaka Station City’ instead of ‘Osaka City Station’.)
The journey from Shin-Osaka to Namba by subway takes 15 minutes and cost a further ¥280 and payment is made by Icoca card. Once luggage has been stored at our hotel, Red Roof Plus, we headed for Shinsaibashi shopping street. It’s a short 450 meters walk from our hotel to the start of Shinsaibashi shopping street, just meters away from the ‘Glico Man’ landmark along Dotonburi river. Naturally one will walk through Dotonburi, the happening area to Shinsaibashi, but we’ll leave that for a posting of it’s own.
Shinsaibashi is a long stretch of street lined with shops you can’t see the other end. It is perpendicular to Dotonbori and is said to be the longest covered pedestrian shopping street in Japan. There are hundreds of shops located here and probably one of the first place most visitors end up spending time in Osaka. Walk down Shinsaibashi to experience Japanese astounding love for consumer retail. Some of the stores are western companies while others are local.
A commercial pedestrian street, it stretches from the Namba station to well past the Shinsaibashi station. Shops of all kinds and for all ages lined under a roofed street. Because of it being sheltered, it is a great location to shade away from the sun or rain and do some window shopping to pass time. There are traditional tailors, western clothing, footwear retailers, restaurants, fast food outlets, jewelers, and boutiques featuring the latest fashions. At the arteries of Shinsaibashi street, you find major department stores, brand retailers, independent fashion boutiques, tea shops and cafes. Being there on a Sunday around lunch time, the crowd wasn’t big which was an unexpected surprise.