Trains run circling the center of Osaka on the Osaka Loop Line. Each of the total 19 stations is full of personal charm, well-served by neighboring popular spots and must-see sites. We put the spotlight on our Osaka Loop Line, and want you to “get off at all stations and enjoy a relaxing trip” in this project. In the last edition, we started at Osaka station on the outer track course (via Tsuruhashi), enjoying various encounters up to Teradacho station. This time we will tour the west side of Osaka City from Tennoji Station to Fukushima Station. We invite you to get going!


Superb collaboration of retro & pop!

 Tennoji Station is a terminal in the south of Osaka City, a busy area on a par with Kita and Minami. Large scale redevelopment is in progress including Kintetsu Department store being rebuilt to eventually become the tallest in Japan. It is an area with generosity and width; a large fashion building complex is adjacent to the downtown retro face, there is also the tourist site charm of Tennoji Park and Shitennoji temple. This mix and match culture may be what makes Osaka what it is?

Transfer stations
JR West: Kansai Main Line (Yamatoji Line), Hanwa Line
Osaka Municipal Subway: Midosuji Line, Tanimachi Line
Hankai Tramway: Uemachi Line (Tennojiekimae Station)
Kintetsu Railway: Minami Osaka Line (Osaka Abenobashi Station)

Welcome to “Shinsekai”, the town of Tsutenkaku and cutlets on a skewer!

When you head for the East exit after getting off the train, the famous Tsutenkaku tower appears to spring out from the edge of the platform. You can make the acquaintance of the god “Billiken” in the fifth floor observatory. Stroke his sole, and good luck will come to you. Stores with the flavor of the Showa period (1926-1989) crowd the foot of Tsutenkaku; cutlet-on-a-skewer restaurant known with “Do not dip the cutlet in sauce twice!” a popular bar, stage hut, playhouse, shogi house, etc. The elaborate signs are quite worth seeing by night with glittering neon rivaling Dotombori. You have a whole day of enjoyment! “New Star” is a ‘smart ball’ game center, loved in this town as a popular leisure activity. You can play pinball for as little as \100 (25 balls) and win sweets and stuffed animals depending on the number of balls you earn. When asked, the staff say they have more tourists than regulars these days. From seniors to young couples casually having fun, however, under 18-year olds are not admitted even with parents. Please try this leisure for adults where you can go back to your childhood and frolic.

Transfer stations
JR West: Kansai Main Line (Yamatoji Line) Nankai Electric Railway:
Nankai Main Line, Koya Line
Osaka Municipal Subway (Dobutsuenmae station): Midosuji Line, Sakaisuji Line
Hankai Tramway: Hankai Line (Minami Kasumicho station)

Shrine hopping for improving fortune!?

The first impression of the station is that it is “rather clean”. It is no wonder because Imamiya Station is the newest station on the Osaka Loop Line. Go through the gate and head westward to Imamiya Ebisu Shrine. Next you will arrive at Okuninushi Shrine, northwest from there. They are the homes of gods for brisk business and matchmaking respectively. Here, it is said your fortunes will improve after you visit these two shrines and make a votive offering while praying. Osaka Kizu wholesale market has supported restaurants and retail stores in “Osaka, a gourmet town” from the olden days. A hot spring facility has newly opened in this fall. You can wash off the fatigue of your trip!

Transfer stations
JR West: Kansai Main Line (Yamatoji Line)
Nankai Electric Railway: Nankai Main Line, Koya Line

Common man atmosphere restaurants here and there…

 “Ashiharabashi Station” on the Osaka Loop Line was the first to have an elevator installed. Unlike downtown, the residential area gives you a quiet impression. A lot of the neighborhood restaurants have a common man atmosphere, but some of them are long established or popular restaurants. Maybe you can find little known gems, different from things to be found downtown. Strolling to the south will lead you to Osaka Human Rights Museum (nickname: Liberty Osaka). You should not miss it if you want to learn about respect for human rights.

Transfer stations
Nankai Electric Railway: Koya Line (Ashiharacho Station)

See, touch and taste. Fully appreciate the charm of the Ryukyu kingdom!!

 The gigantic UFO-like “Kyocera Dome Osaka” is right before your eyes when you get off at the station! Actually the dome stands in the neighboring Nishi Ward, but it is a symbolic fixture of this “Taisho” town. A full bus service is available from the station, an everyday mode of transportation. The “Ferry boat”, a unique mode of transportation is in the bay area by the sea. Taisho ward has a large population related to the ancient Ryukyu kingdom and Okinawa. Especially many are from Okinawa in the Hirao district, a 10-min bus ride from Taisho Station, thus it has the moniker of “Little Okinawa”. Enjoy the distinct atmosphere and genuine taste!

If you want ingredients for Okinawa dishes, “Sawashi Store” on the east edge of Hirao Shopping Street is the place to go. Goya, Okinawa noodles, taco rice are displayed on tightly packed shelves. Fresh groceries including vegetables are delivered weekly for freshness. Ukon tea and guava tea are popular with the health-conscious. When I had hard time making a choice, the salesperson suggested I should take a walk around while nibbling on a “sataandagi (Okinawa donut)” (grin).

Transfer stations
Osaka municipal subway: Nagahori Tsurumiryokuchi Line

森ノ宮駅

For those who are interested in railways and those who aren’t…

Bentencho station has a unique structure; the subway station is situated on top of the elevated Osaka Loop Line. This came about because the ground around here was too soft to allow underground excavation. Traditional downtown scenery and high- rise buildings mingle in the neighborhood, enabling you to get a feeling of time slip, i.e. you turn a corner and the scenery changes just like that.

The Modern Transportation Museum offers lots of exhibits such as genuine trains and steam engines for railway enthusiasts and others. Transfer stations
Osaka Municipal Subway: Chuo Line

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Go through a long tunnel under the river … next ward!

The train glides into the platform, railway cars appear painted with colorful popular characters. It is a train heading toward Universal City station, closest to Universal Studios Japan. The Aji River, an approx. 8-min walk from Nishi-Kujo station, was said to have been bustling with boats when Osaka was known as the “kitchen of Japan”. Today both sides are connected by the “Aji River river bed tunnel” which replaced the former ferry boat.

First go down via elevator, walk the narrow path for about 80m to emerge above ground, and you will reach the neighboring Nishi ward. Experience the river floor walk with local residents for a perfect tale of your travels. Transfer stations
JR West: Sakurajima Line (JR Yumesaki Line)
Hanshin Electric Railway: Hanshin Namba Line

A market handling tasty ingredients. Restaurants which serve tasty meals

The town is famous for eateries using rigorously selected ingredients from a simple Japanese style pub to restaurants, even ethnic ones. No wonder, because Osaka Municipal Central Wholesale Market is in the south of the town with a lineup of fresh seafood and seasonal vegetables/fruit. The total volume of business at the Central Wholesale Markets is the second highest in Japan (as of 2009) after Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. A market tour is also available (prior request required). If you get off at Noda station with its Central Wholesale Market, you would expect to enjoy a truly tasty meal. So we visited “Zakobazushi Honten”, not far from the market. Many of the customers are fish professionals such as bidders and brokers. This restaurant is proud of its 80-year history since it was established in 1931. You can call it “a pro to satisfy pros”. According to the third generation owner, “It is best for customers to enjoy fish in season. I would like them to savor broiled, stewed and fried fish, and end with sushi.”

Transfer stations
Osaka municipal subway: Senichimae Line (Tamagawa Station)

Fukushima Station

Osaka has prospered as a “water town” since the olden days, and now it is in the stage of rebirth. One of its symbolic entities is “Hotarumachi”, a waterside town approx. 5 minutes walk from Fukushima Station. It has numerous faces such as a broadcasting station, hall, restaurants and residential area, a spot where you can still feel nature even in an urban setting. By the way, this is the final destination of the “Journey around the entire Osaka Loop Line”. How about trying your luck? At “Fukushima Shotendori Shopping Street”, now a special feature of this town, there are lots of fortune tellers with the watchword of “Sell and tell your fortune”. We guarantee you will see the ‘destination of Fate’ railway!?

Transfer stations
JR West: Tozai Line (Shin Fukushima Station)
Hanshin Electric Railway: Hanshin Main Line

 Finally the “Journey around the entire Osaka Loop Line” returns to our starting point, Osaka Station. How did you enjoy the tour of total 19 stations in our mail magazine? To those who thought it was interesting, as well as those who were not satisfied, we implore you to confirm the charm of Osaka with your own eyes, feet, and tongue next time.

今年の花火は打ち上げ側で!?大阪市・花火大会の継続に協力しよう!
大阪環状線の発車メロディが中止になったわけ。そこには、誰もが聞いて納得の事情があった!? 

There is a well 2m in length and 3.5m in width in the basement of JR Tennoji station. Originally water came out of a number of springs and wells around Shitennoji temple in Tennoji ward and the seven major places were known as the “7 good water sites”. Tennoji station was constructed right above the subterranean water vein, and the pumped up water is used for toilets and sprinklers. By the way, the “Kamei well” in Shitennoji is the only remaining place where the water is confirmed to be among the original “7 good water sites”. Is it only me who feels that the underground water of Shitennoji station is truly blessed?

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We have delivered you the latter half of “Journey around the entire Osaka Loop Line”. We hope you liked it. Each station has a distinctive face, while you are always embraced with warm kindness wherever you go. Even I, a Naniwa native, ended up seeing the magnanimous folk of Osaka in a new light. By the way, next time we will guide you to the “OSAKA Hikari Renaissance”, an Osaka special feature since its inception in 2003. We will give you a solid report on this ever-evolving event. So expect great fun!!


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