Nakazakicho: 7 reasons to visit Osaka's hipster haven

There is a neighbourhood in Osaka that has been revitalised and its narrow streets are now home to an array of tiny shops that are the city's latest hipster haven.

Shop signage displayed on a narrow streets of Nakazakicho street, Japan.
  • Rob Goss
  • September 2018

A stone’s throw away from Osaka’s bustling Umeda area, the narrow streets of the Nakazakicho opens in new window neighbourhood are packed with cafes, art and crafts stores, and small boutiques.

1. Hukulou Coffee

The cat café trend is showing no sign of abating in Japan. At Hukulou opens in new window, besides bonding with some of the cafes dozen or so cats, you can also sip coffee in the company of owls, guinea pigs and ferrets, depending on the day you visit. AS for the coffee, Hukulou use its own Hukulou brand coffee blends, which range from a delicious cinnamon brew to the caramel notes of an Indonesian Toraja.
Where: Nakazaki Nishi 1-9-8

A woman walking in Nakazakicho, wearing a Kimono.
You can hire a kimono for a day at the colourful 89 Café in Nakazakicho

2. 89 Café

Set in two almost-neighbouring buildings, the colourful 89 Café serves up coffee, yuzu (citron) tea, homemade cakes and simple dishes like pasta and hearty loco moco (a Hawaiian-inspired meal consisting of a hamburger patty and fried egg on white rice drizzled with brown gravy). This quirky café also does kimono day rentals so you can dress up in traditional gear to explore the old streets of Nakazakicho.
Where: Nakazaki Nishi 1-9-3

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いつもわたくしどものグラノーラをお選びいただきましてありがとうございます。 いよいよ新体制に向けての店舗改装が始まります。 什器の入れ替え中でも! 可能な限り店頭での販売はさせていただきます。 ですが、ネット販売の対応は一旦お休みさせていただきたいと思います。 運送会社さんとスムーズに商品がお渡し出来る環境が出来るまで今しばらくお待ち頂けますでしょうか? . ネット販売の開始は7月の1週目を予定しております。 ご迷惑おかけ致しますが、どうぞよろしくお願い致します。 新店舗は順調に工事が進んでいます。 その様子も近日中にご報告させていただきます。 #グラノーラ #オーガニックグラノーラ #グラノラ #中崎町 #nakazakicho #organic #granola #organicgranola #新店舗 #城東区 #グラファミ城東 opens in new window

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3. Granda Familio

One of the shops that came about in Nakazakicho as part of the Amanto Project, which was started in 2001 to revitalise the neighbourhood’s old buildings, Granda Familio opens in new window is all about homemade organic granola (that comes with flavours like chai and Earl Grey) and super-fresh, vitamin-rich smoothies – a healthy alternative to the area’s cafes, and just as cool.
Where: Nakazaki Nishi 1-1-18

4. Jam Pot

Like many of Nakazakicho’s shops, Jam Pot opens in new window is not much bigger than your average bathroom, but it crams in as much as it can. The striking white wooden interiors here are home to all sorts of accessories, trinkets and bits of jewellery, all of which are made by Japanese artists. The store also puts on regular exhibitions that showcase the work of local creatives.
Where: Nakazaki 3-2-31

A picture of a pleasant narrow streets of Nakazakicho, Japan.
Nakazakicho has been reborn as a hipster haven with its narrow streets filled with attractions.

5. Green Pepe

You can’t have a hipster area without vintage fashion and accessories, and Green Pepe opens in new window, another store that has breathed new life into one of the old houses here, delivers with its 70s styles mixed in with retro toys, kitchenware and other bits and pieces. It’s a great spot to pick up a vintage handbag.
Where: Nakazaki 3-1-12

6. Irorimura

This enclave of half a dozen small galleries, studios, classrooms and event spaces on the edge of Nakazakicho is the ideal place to check out up-and-coming local artists across a range of genres, from photography to pop art. Better yet, the galleries are free and very welcoming.
Where: Nakazaki 1-4-15

A picture of a vibrant shopping street in Shotengai, Osaka  Japan.
Tengo Nakazaki Dori Shotengai has about 60 shops reflecting old Japan with its covered shops.

7. Tengo Nakazaki-Dori-Shotengai

Running east away from Nakazakicho Station, this covered shopping street (shotengai) is classic old Japan. With modernisation, many shotengai across Japan are dying out, but this one is still vibrant. It’s home to 60 or so cafes, small restaurants and mom-and-pop stores that range from grocers to craft shops so give yourself at least an hour to explore it.
Where: Nakazaki 1-6-1