The Best Markets in Osaka

Osaka | © Pedro Szekely/Flickr
Osaka | © Pedro Szekely/Flickr | Osaka | © Pedro Szekely/Flickr
Photo of Brooke Larsen
Osaka Hub Writer6 July 2018

Osaka is a city filled with marketplaces – from bustling shopping arcades to outdoor flea markets. Most are open year round, giving you the chance to explore unique finds, fresh foods, and a range of quirky souvenirs whenever you visit. Be sure to browse some of our favorite Osaka markets, from must-see tourist attractions to hidden local gems, during your trip.

Shintennoji Flea Market

Buddhist Temple, Market
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Shitennoji. | © Kyoto-Picture / Flickr
Shintennoji was built by Prince Shotoku in 593 AD making it the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan. The temple hosts an antique market on the 21st and 22nd of every month. Around 100 sale tents are erected, housing merchants offering goods like handbags, pottery, and handicrafts for incredibly low prices. Among the craft stores are food stalls serving warm, delicious local street food. Admission to both the market and temple is free, so be sure to check out this busy and beautiful sight.

Ashiharabashi Upmarket

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Upmarket is an energetic food and craft market that happens monthly near JR Ashiharabashi Station on the Osaka Loop Line. This lively event features performances as well as vendors and takes place at three adjacent locations: the JR station plaza, Salt Valley, and a large open-air parking lot. With over 80 unique sellers offering goods like fresh farmed vegetables, handmade clothing and accessories, craft beer, and vegan food, this hip community event will make you feel at home no matter where you’re from. Upmarket takes place on the third Sunday of every month from 10:30am to 4pm (except in the summer months, which are too hot for a day market, during which the Night UP takes place from 4pm to 9pm instead).

Nakanoshima Food Lover’s Market

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This monthly celebration of fresh, local food happens at the Nakanoshima fishing port, located along one of the city’s many interconnected waterways. The Food Lover’s Market provides the chance to shop for locally grown food sold by people who are truly passionate about their craft. As part of an effort to encourage buying local, this market can be a fun and educational look into an ethical food scene that is only recently becoming popular in Japan. Both raw foods and hot meals are sold. Usually held from 11am to 4pm on the first Saturday of each month, this market takes place in the evenings from 4pm to 9pm during the summer.

Kuromon Ichiba Market

Market, Japanese, $$$
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Just as Osaka is known as Japan’s kitchen, Kuromon Ichiba Market is reputed as Osaka’s kitchen. This is because this undercover market, which is 600 meters in length and has close to 200 shops, sells pretty much everything used in Japanese cooking. Many of the shops stock fresh ingredients, such as fish, seafood, and vegetables, that are from regional sources. Many shops also sell cooked food, such as grilled eel, teppanyaki beef, fresh oysters, ramen, and bento boxes.

Ikuno Korea Town

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Embrace another culture while in Japan at Osaka’s Korea Town. Situated not far from touristy Namba, Korea Town is where many local Koreans live and work. The area has developed with scores of Korean shops selling food, daily goods, and even Korean-style clothing. The restaurants are mainly yakiniku style, a Japanese cuisine of grilled meat over charcoal inspired by a similar Korean dish. The town has only been around for about 15 years and welcomes visitors to come and enjoy the delicious food and authentic Korean feel. Opening hours vary depending on the shop.

Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shotengai

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Knives for sale on Doguyasuji. | © tablexxnx / Flickr
Sennichimae Doguyasuji, the best culinary marketplace in town, is also located near Namba. It was built as an approach from nearby Hozenji, one of Minami’s most famous temples. Today Doguyasuji is a 150-meter long covered shopping arcade that sells wholesale items for restaurants, a wide range of utensils like knives, as well as serveware and even plastic models of food that shops use to display menu items. Many of these items have become popular as souvenirs, so this is a great place to swing by during your trip. There are places to take cooking lessons as well.

Shinsaibashisuji Shopping Street

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Tatsuya Suzuki / | © Culture Trip
Shinsaibashisuji is a covered shopping arcade in the heart of the famous Minami district. Shinsaibashisuji has been Osaka’s most important shopping area for 400 years, with hundreds of shops lining this 600-meter long street. From huge department stores like Daimaru and flagship clothing stores like Uniqlo to small independent boutiques, there is something for every shopper and every wallet on this street. There are also scores of delicious restaurants and cafés hidden in the streets and the alleys leading just off it.

Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street

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Osaka Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Arcade, Japan.
Osaka Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Arcade, Japan. | © Tempura / Getty Images

This is the longest shotengai, or covered shopping arcade, in Japan. Spanning multiple kilometers and neighborhoods, Tenjinbashisuji is a wealth of shops, restaurants, cafés, bookstores, and – best of all – a fascinating insight into the daily hustle and bustle of Japanese business owners and patrons. Stroll along the shopping street no matter what the weather and enjoy all the delicious food, souvenirs, and other goods that Osaka has to offer.

Prema Chablani also contributed to this piece.

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