Osaka's old urban center makes a comeback
Tennoji and the surrounding Shinsekai area are a must-see district of Osaka, containing an array of culinary delights, a world-famous temple and more.
- A visit to the tallest building in Japan, Abeno Harukas
- Trying Osaka's famous kushikatsu (fried skewers of meat and vegetables) in Shinsekai
- A trip to the oldest official Buddhist temple in Japan, with its five-storeyed pagoda
- Shitennoji Temple holds a famous flea market on the 21st and 22nd of every month
How to Get There
Tennoji is a major transit center, so there are many points of access. From Kansai International Airport, take the express train on the JR Line to Tennoji Station. From Osaka/Umeda Station, ride the Midosuji Subway line or JR Osaka Loop Line
Deep for a reason
Osakans use the English-derived word "deep" to describe the area's ambience, referring to the less refined, grittier nature of the streets and establishments.
Though the streets directly around Tennoji Station have recently been redeveloped around the Abeno Harukas, duck into the untouched alleyways to experience how the Japanese get "deep."
Soar above the clouds at the top of Japan's tallest skyscraper
At 300 meters, Abeno Harukas offers a comprehensive view of the entire metropolitan area. Buy a ticket and ride all the way to the top to get a look at the vast city below. The building also caters to shoppers, with high-end consumer goods occupying the first 12 floors. There are restaurants, cafes, an art museum and a hotel located on the premises.
See what Osaka looked like 100 years ago in Shinsekai
Developed in the early 1900s, Shinsekai offers a glimpse into a Japan from generations past. The country began modernizing in the 1860s, introducing western-style design and popular culture into everyday society. Melding with Japan's own sensibilities, what resulted is flashy and bold. Get a first-hand look into this cross-cultural hybridization in Shinsekai , all while drinking cold beer and eating a hefty portion of fried food.
Relax around Tennoji Park
Take a break in the recently redeveloped Tennoji Park . On weekends, the lawns fill with happy young families picnicking and playing in the park, which is overshadowed by the massive Harukas Tower next door. This is the perfect place to get a sense of the surrounding geography before you depart for your next adventure.
Visit Shitenno-ji Temple and discover the origins of Buddhism in Japan
Aside from being the oldest official temple in Japan, Shitennoji Temple boasts a five-storyed pagoda, unique architecture, and many seasonal festivities. The temple is not just a tourist destination, but is popular with the locals, who congregate here especially during the Autumn obon holidays.
They also partake in the Doya Doya festival, when young men—half naked—are drenched in ice cold water. The temple's massive grounds offer refuge from the dense surrounding city.
Delight in Osaka's classic food and drink culture
Notice the slender standing-only bars filled with middle-aged and elderly Japanese? These are called tachinomi (standing bars), and are a particularly common feature of the Tennoji and Shinsekai area. Drink alongside a combination of blue and white collar clientele, who gather at tachinomi for the unpretentious atmosphere and lively conversation.
In addition to tachinomi, head to Shinsekai to try Osaka's famous kushikatsu (deep fried skewers). Get your fill of the assorted thin cuts of meat, fish and vegetables, which are fried to a delectable crisp.
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