Nipponbashi – Otaku Sacred Land in Osaka

Nipponbashi

When it comes to sacred land of otaku, the first name that springs in your mind is definitely Akihabara. However, Japan is not only about Tokyo, although about a third of the population lives in this area. There are other large cities and in those cities there must be a considerable number of otaku. Those can hardly travel to Tokyo’s Akihabara to go shopping, which means there have to be other anime/manga/game shopping districts the size exponentially responding the number of population. In other words, somewhat smaller than Tokyo’s Akihabara, as Tokyo is the largest metropolis.

Nipponbashi

In Osaka, the third largest city in Japan and the biggest city in Kansai region, there’s a shopping district called Nipponbashi, which is often compared to Tokyo’s Akihabara. Nipponbashi, like Akihabara, is known for its many shops which specialize in electronic tools, and otaku interests. The area is centered along Sakaisuji Avenue, extending from the Ebisu-chō Interchange of the Hanshin Expressway in the south, to Nansan-dōri in the north.

Nipponbashi

During Edo Period, this district was called Nagamachi but later was renamed to Nipponbashi. This name refers to the bridge of the same name, which crosses over the Dōtonbori canal.

Nipponbashi

Den Den Town, or Denki no Machi, are alternate names for this district, due to its wide variety of stores selling electronics. The shops are famous for their negotiable prices, and several retailers are even tax and duty free. Another alternative name is Akihabara of West Japan.

Nipponbashi

Nipponbashi is the haven for Kansai otaku and harbors many distinguished anime, manga, game and other otaku goods stores such as Tora no Ana, Melon Books, Gamers, and Mandarake. There are also numerous maid cafés in Nipponbashi, varying in its thematization and services.

Nipponbashi

In 2009, Nipponbashi Project for promoting business in the area was launched and artist Itou Noizi designed the image characters Neon-chan, and her little sister Hikari-chan. They are both very lovely. Neon-chan even has a seiyuu and that is Matsuoka Yuki.

Nipponbashi Project

Neon (left) and Hikari (right)

Nipponbashi

If you travel to Osaka, make sure you visit this district. You’ll definitely not regret it.