5 spots in Nakanoshima to kick back and escape Osaka’s busy streets

Home to tree-lined streets and chilled-out cafés, Nakanoshima is where it’s at if you want a break from city life.

Dojima River in Nakanoshima.
  • Cheong Kamei
  • November 2019

The financial and administrative hub of Osaka is surprisingly quiet and relaxed. Take it slow and have an afternoon of feel-good vibes at these five must-visit spots in Nakanoshima.

1. Brooklyn Roasting Company Kitahama

Coffee and donuts from Brooklyn Roasting Company Kitahama.
The coffee franchise has five stores in Japan — three in Osaka alone.

From favouring third-party certified coffees that ensure farmers are paid fairly to packing coffee beans in reusable cans of tin-steel, Brooklyn Roasting Company is a firm supporter of sustainable farming and trade practices. Get your cuppa at the Kitahama branch, kick back at the outdoor deck, and take in views of Tosabori River.

Address: 2 Chome-1-16 Kitahama, Chuo Ward, Osaka
Tel: +81 6-6125-5740
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2. Graf

Interior of Graf cafe.
Graf sprawls over four floors: the first floor is home to a cafe (above) that also offers workshops, the next is a showroom, and the top two floors house a studio and office.

This cafe and showroom for one of the Kansai region’s leading design studios is located in an unassuming old building. At the core of its approach to designing home décor products is an obsession with function, so take your time to appreciate the tiny but thoughtful details. For example, glasses are made to be about 0.9mm thick to enhance the mouthfeel of whatever you’re drinking and cutlery is made slightly shorter to fit Asian hands.

Address: 4 Chome-1-9 Nakanoshima, Kita Ward, Osaka
Tel: +81 6-6459-2100
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3. Nakanoshima Park

Nakanoshima park.
The are lots of cafes and restaurants nearby — order takeout then head to the park for a picnic.

Osaka’s oldest public garden offers something different throughout the year. In summer, locals head to the riverside beer garden for a cold pint or just to lounge on the lawn. Come spring, the park bursts into colour as some 4,000 roses bloom. But perhaps the most magical time to visit is during the Hikari Renaissance in December, when the park is illuminated by 1.5 million lights.

Address: 1 Chome-1 Nakanoshima

4. Osaka City Central Public Hall

Osaka City Central Public Hall exterior.
The red bricks and bold white lines were a signature of Tatsuno Kingo, the chief architect of many iconic buildings in Japan including the Osaka City Central Public Hall (above) and Tokyo Station.

Inspired by stories of how American businessmen would donate money to build libraries and museums, stockbroker Iwamoto Einosuke decided to use his wealth to build a world-class arts and culture hub in his city. His dream would come true even if he didn’t live to see the completion of Osaka City Central Public Hall in 1918. With its iconic red bricks and dome-shaped bronze roof, the building is an elegant fixture of Osaka’s cityscape and continues to host lectures and performances to this day.

Address: 1 Chome-1-27 Nakanoshima, Kita Ward, Osaka
Tel: +81 6-6208-2002
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5. Nakanoshima Fishing Port

Plate of seafood at Nakanoshima Fishing Port.
Autumn and winter are the best times for fish because they tend to have a higher fat content, which we all know translates to more flavour.

It might not be as bustling as Tsujiki Market in Toyko but being relatively low-key has its advantages. For one, you can tuck into the seafood that’s freshly delivered from all parts of Japan to the port without having to jostle with crowds. Keep an eye out for grilled sanma (pacific saury) and ankimo (monkfish liver), which is known as the “foie gras of the sea”.

Address: 2 Chome-9 Kawaguchi, Nishi Ward, Osaka
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