One of the highlights of traveling through Japan is discovering the pockets within cities that each offer something different to explore. Shinsekai might have taken some time to become fully developed, but the end result was well worth it.
One of the hallmarks of the Shinsekai district is the Tsutenkaku Tower. The surrounding area within the district also offers a myriad of fun and entertaining distractions for tourists and locals alike.
The History Of The Shinsekai District Development
The Shinsekai district began development before the war, but the efforts had to be halted once the war began. The area went barren for quite some time.
Once the National Industrial Exposition in Japan in 1903 had people flocking to the area, the focus came back to making Shinsekai a booming district.
Shinsekai has been a tourist area for quite some time, even before the war. It became a place to let loose and have fun once the war ended, and there were many efforts to get the district rebuilt and revitalized.
You can stumble upon the Shinsekai district in Osaka, just outside of Osaka’s downtown Minami area.
A Unique Blend Of Two Tourist Destinations
One part of the Shinsekai district was inspired by Paris, arguably one of the areas around the world that brings a vast number of tourists. The other part of the district was modeled after Coney Island in New York.
While these two areas are drastically different from one another, they come together to create a unique district in Osaka that must be discovered and explored.
The Tsutenkaku Tower was constructed in 1912, but unfortunately, the war halted the development before it could be completed. However, in 1956, construction began again.
The tower seemed to have been inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, though the end result doesn’t look anything like the Paris icon.
The tower boasts an astonishing 337 feet currently, with an observation deck at the very top that allows beautiful views of Osaka.
There is also a fairly new open-air deck where you can enjoy a nice breeze while overlooking Osaka.
You can visit the Tsutenkaku Tower any day of the week from 10 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for just 900 yen. If you want to see the open-air deck it does cost an additional 300 yen, and the open hours are from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The Shinsekai district is known for a lot of things, including the kushikatsu. Kushikatsu is food that is battered and deep-fried on a skewer. It’s the perfect indulgent street food that you can enjoy while strolling through the district.
There are many restaurants in Shinsekai that offer a range of kushikatsu, and you can find anything from deep-fried meats to vegetables to desserts.
They are also open from day to night, so no matter when you’re making your way through the Shinsekai district, you can enjoy a delicious meal.
One of the most famous restaurants for kushikatsu is Daruma. It’s located close to the Tsutenkaku Tower and tends to attract a lot of visitors.
If you’re willing to wait in a bit of a crowd to get your hands on some of their delicious kushikatsu, it’s well worth the effort. You might even run into some celebrities while you’re there.
If you’re looking to indulge in some self-care while in Shinsekai district, you’ll want to stop at Spa World. Spa World features relaxing pools that have natural spring water flowing through them.
One floor is Asian-inspired, and the other is European-inspired. The pools are usually separated by gender and you can enjoy the pool’s sans-bathing suit if you choose to.
Spa World is open for extended hours, from 10 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. the next day. You can visit the spa for 1500 yen. You will pay an additional 1450 yen if you want to stay there late at night, between 12 midnight and 5 a.m.
There are no specific days that the spa closes, but they do close occasionally for safety inspections and cleaning.
Other Attractions Within Shinsekai
Shinsekai is a great place to visit when you are looking for interesting food to eat. Apart from the perfectly prepared kushikatsu, there are also restaurants where you can try fugu, the famous blowfish delicacy.
There are also many other restaurants serving delicious Japanese fare for very affordable prices.
Some of the foods you should try when in Shinsekai are ramen and udon, which you can find all throughout the area. There are also places that serve delicious yakiniku, which is Japanese barbecue-style meat.
There are plenty of izakayas as well, which are Japanese bars, that are a must-try.
You can also explore many affordable shops that offer Japanese-inspired fashion and more types of clothing. If you’re looking for interesting activities, you can find some lively clubs dedicated to games.
There are clubs where you can enjoy playing shogi, which is similar to chess, or mahjong. There are also pachinko parlors, which are filled with mechanical games that are similar to arcade games or casino machines.
Shinsekai offers a unique sense of nostalgia with its retro-inspired atmosphere. As you walk through the streets of Shinsekai, you’ll see different stands and displays of Japanese wares throughout the years.
These displays are also designed with retro accouterments to further inspire a nostalgic feeling.
If you want to take in all the sights of Shinsekai before making stops, you can ride around the area on a rickshaw.
It’s not very expensive, and it offers you the ability to take in the area in a way that you may not be able to do while walking without getting tired.
There are some pockets within the Shinsekai district where homeless people congregate, as well as other illegal activities to be aware of.
This has led to Shinsekai having a somewhat negative reputation, although it is easy to avoid those areas should you feel unsafe. That being said, Japan is a safer country than most.
Part of what leads to the negative reputation of the Shinsekai district is that it is one of Japan’s less affluent areas. It was also once a hub for criminal activity in the late 90s, but that criminal activity no longer exists as it once did.