While Tokyo’s Akihabara is certainly the most famous otaku cultural center in Japan, Osaka’s Nipponbashi, Denden Town as it’s often called, should not be overlooked! Boasting its own unique charms, Nipponbashi not only has maid cafes, a huge assortment of stores to satisfy every nerdy craving, and fun arcades to visit but also stays true to its ‘electric town’ moniker (Denden Town is an alternative for ‘Denki Machi’ which means Electric Town) as a destination for all sorts of electronics and components. Best of all, Osaka’s history as a merchant city means you’re sometimes able to do a little haggling to try for a super bargain. With intros out of the way, let’s leap into western Japan’s otaku dreamland!
Nipponbashi Denden Town Info
|Location|| Nipponbashi Information Center|
5-chōme-9-12 Nipponbashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka, 556-0005
|Cost of Admission||Free|
|Hours of Operation|| Nipponbashi Information Center Hours: 11:00 - 19:00|
Nipponbashi Information Center Phone: 06-6655-1717
Nipponbashi Information Center Website: http://www.denden-town.or.jp/
Most stores: 10:00 - 20:00, some open later/close earlier
As a rather large shopping district, Nipponbashi has a lot to offer with stores and cafes that cater to many different tastes and hobbies. A good place to start is the official Nipponbashi Information Center which is located roughly in the center of Denden Town and offers free maps available in a variety of languages that point out the stores, restaurants, and cafes sorted by type along with various flyers and magazines for even more information, a no-fee currency exchange machine, and even original character goods featuring Neon and Hikari, the official mascots of Nipponbashi which were created by famous Haruhi Suzumiya character designer Noizi Ito.
If you’re still not sure where to start and want to get straight into the action we recommend heading to Otaroad (Otaku Road) where you will be completely surrounded by all kinds of cool places to check out including a giant quadruple-threat building that houses Animate Nipponbashi (sells all kinds of new anime merch, focusing on recent series), Melonbooks (Doujin specialty store), Lashingbang (second hand anime merch and doujins), and C-labo (trading card game store). Some other famous retailers nearby include GAMERS (which actually focuses on manga and anime despite its name), Gee (anime and cosplay goods), an official Kotobukiya store (model kit company famous for Frame Arms/Frame Arms Girl), a huge Volks (high-end model and toy company) showroom and store, and the headquarters for JUNGLE (a model and figure shop that has a lot of Tokusatsu figures along with the usual anime/manga/game ones).
These are really only scratching the surface though! Nipponbashi has other stores specializing in things like retro games (such as Retro TV Game Revival, Surugaya Specialty Shop, and Super Potato), HAM radio and security equipment (like Nichiei-musen and Izumi), and even guns like the aptly named GUN SHOP FIRST (to be clear they’re airsoft guns, this is Japan after all!). If you’re a Gundam fan also be sure to check out Joshin Super Kids Land, a huge multi-story store dedicated to the famous mecha series. As mentioned before Denden Town is true to its name and has many electronics, hardware, appliance, and component stores too, good places to buy things like robot kits, PC parts, DIY arcade sticks, power tools, refrigerators, etc.
If you’re tired of shopping, Nipponbashi has many food and drink options ranging from the ever ubiquitous konbini (including a special Dragon Quest-themed LAWSON) and cheap and delicious ticket curry restaurants all the way to delicacies like Kobe beef! There are also a number of maid and cosplay cafes for those looking for a unique experience (e-maid, Maidreamin, Cafe Doll, etc.) and large arcades where you can find the latest rhythm and light gun games, UFO catchers, and more! There’s even a miniature Tekken museum at the NAMCO arcade in Nipponbashi, so don’t forget to stop by if you’re a fan!
Nipponbashi also hosts Japan’s largest cosplay event every March, Nipponbashi Street Festa, which closes the roads to cars and opens up the entire space for thousands of cosplayers and enthusiasts alike. A one-of-a-kind event with huge diversity in cosplay, visiting during Street Festa is the most exciting time to visit and shouldn’t be missed for cosplay fans!
Since Nipponbashi is right between two of Osaka’s other famous districts, Shinsekai (New World) and Dotonbori, it’s easy to enjoy them all together just by walking! One final thing we’ll note is that there are quite a few “adult” specialty stores as well, often right next to regular stores or on the top levels of large buildings. Most of these are clearly identified, even without knowing Japanese, but keep vigilant if that’s not what you’re looking for!
Overall, Nipponbashi/Denden Town is a fantastic place to visit if you find yourself in Osaka, especially if you’re into otaku pursuits like collecting anime goods, model kits, gaming, or cosplay or just someone looking for a good price on a fancy rice cooker. Nipponbashi is relatively small but densely packed with tons of awesome, making it approachable and friendly, just like the Kansai region is as a whole. There’s plenty of deals to be made and treasures to be found. If your adventures in Japan lead you to Osaka, we think Nipponbashi Denden Town is worth your attention!
We hope you enjoyed this Anime Hot Spot! For more information about cool places in Japan and more, be sure to stick around Honey’s. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below, thank you for reading! ほなさいなら〜