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Osaka |  ©  Toomore/Flickr
Osaka | © Toomore/Flickr

The Best Things to See and Do in Osaka's Amerikamura District

Picture of Judith LaFaver
Updated: 30 September 2017

Amerikamura, a.k.a Amemura, is the center of creative fashion and entertainment for young people in Kansai. Originally named “American Village” due to the area’s focus on importing Western merchandise, there’s really not much about this place that resembles the U.S. except for a huge statue of liberty replica. This is where punk, goth, Lolita and club meet to create a unique atmosphere for shopping, eating and generally hanging out. American Village might seem a bit extreme with its loud music and funky fashion, but with this Culture Trip guide to the best things to do in Amerikamura, it’s bound to be one of the highlights of your vacation.

Hang out with locals at Triangle Park

If you only do one thing in Amemura, make it Triangle Park. The unremarkable looking concrete triangle located in the middle of Shinsaibashi has been at the center of pop culture in Osaka for years. This is the hangout of Osaka’s more alternative crowd and the best place to come looking for fashion trends. Do as the locals do and grab a drink from the nearby Family Mart and mingle.

2-11 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0086 

Browse Japanese fashion magazines in Osaka’s coolest bookstore

Before nice bookstores were a thing, there was Standard. Literally the standard of a great bookstore in the Kansai area, Standard has been a haven, helping the denizens of this unique area find guides to the coolest restaurants, the best fashion and lifestyle magazines, as well as gorgeous photography books by leading Japanese photographers. Besides printed materials, Standard sells Japanese designed homewares and stationery. There is also a relaxing café on the bottom level. Feel free to flip through a book or two in the café while you sip on a coffee or tea. Don’t forget to order a brownie – one of the best in Osaka.

Krista Grand Building , 2-2-12 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0086 

Drink the best cold brew coffee in Osaka

Japan may be one of the biggest coffee consumers in the world, but their coffee preferences haven’t always been the most popular with aficionados. While Japanese baristas are some of the most technically skilled in the world, beans are often darkly roasted to the point of being burned. Lilo coffee in Amermura is one of the first places in Osaka to jump on board with the concept of “third wave coffee” and really devote to the idea of great beans prepared well. Lilo’s coffee has a variety of beans and each one is roasted to perfection to bring out the subtle flavors, making for a great cup of joe.

Shinsaibashi M Building 1-1-1-28 Nishishisaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0086 

Dance the night away at some of Kansai’s best clubs

When Japan tried to crack down on clubs and keep people from dancing, that didn’t stop Amemura clubs from getting their groove on. Known for the liveliest nightlife in the Kansai area, Amemura clubs are blasting beats till the sun comes up. With most clubs not opening their doors until well after the sun is down, an overnight stay in the city is an inevitability for many party goers. A few well known clubs in the area include the infamous JouleGhost Ultra Lounge and Circus.

Shop for quirky Japanese fashion

Often compared to Harajuku in Tokyo, Amemura is the place to find cute, unique, or just plain strange fashion. Kinji in the Big Step building is the best spot in Osaka for affordable vintage shopping and has two separate stores that house all of their adorable retro Japanese clothing and shoes. There is also a great resale section for more traditional styles. Those into Lolita fashion will be thrilled with all the stores available in Amerikamura, like the well-known Angelic Pretty.

Take a trip to Wonderland at Alice on Wednesday

Don’t miss the chance to fall down the rabbit hole by visiting Alice on Wednesday, a theme store dedicated to Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. Enter the store through a tiny door set in a book cover and arrive in the magical world of Wonderland. The white room is filled with sweet treats of every kind including “eat me” cookies and “drink me” glass vials of blue liquid. The red room stocks Alice themed merchandise like jewelry, hair accessories, and tote bags.

Asahi Plaze Shinsaibashi 2-12 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0086

Eat some of Osaka’s best takoyaki

For decades Koga-ryu has been serving the most popular takoyaki in Amemura and the Shinsaibashi area. What started out as just a humble store front in Amemura has turned into a Kansai wide corporation with 12 stores located across 6 prefectures. While Koga-ryu are enjoying this success, they stay firmly dedicated to using the freshest octopus in their takoyaki. They offer standard takoyaki with bonito flakes and takoyaki sauce, but they also make a couple of unusual versions like the black pepper and mayonnaise, as well as a soy sauce option. Grab an order to go and snag a bench at Triangle Park for a truly classic Osaka experience.

2-18-4 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka 542-0086

Indulge in Japan’s longest soft cream

Pop Sweet in Amemura claims to have the longest soft creams in Japan, and while they can’t exactly offer hard proof, they do have really really long ice cream cones that measure in at 15 inches (40cm). A sword-like ice cream cone only costs 300 yen and comes in vanilla, chocolate, and mixed varieties. Besides being long, the ice cream is sweet and creamy and happens to look really great in Instagram photos.

2−11−9 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0086

Go back in time to play vintage pin ball machines

Amerikamura is filled with dedications to popular culture everywhere so it makes sense that one of Japan’s only vintage arcades would call the area home. The Silver Ball Planet is a retro pinball arcade housed in the Big Step building and is a perfect place to start or stop any Amerikamura trip. They have machines from the 60s, up to modern times, and prices are affordable with the most expensive machines being 100 yen for one play. Don’t miss a chance to try out oldies like the Evil Knievel and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to relive those bygone days before Gameboys.

1-6-14 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0086

Hang out at the wildest Halloween party in the world

Those traveling through Kansai during Halloween must take a detour to Triangle Park for one of the most epic Halloween parties in the world. Halloween has only gained popularity amongst Japanese people in recent years, but they know how to do it right. Amerikamura shuts down traffic on Halloween weekend and thousands and thousands of people come in elaborate costumes to dance, drink, and just walk around and enjoy themselves. It’s almost looked down upon to show up in anything less than a handmade costume that’s been in the works for months leading up to Halloween. So even if you don’t have a homemade Pikachu outfit, do not miss this once a year extravaganza and experience Kansai at its craziest.

Halloween at Amemura | © Judith LaFaver