Takashimaya Osaka: A Treasure Trove of Kansai Goods Right Next to Namba Station
Takashimaya Osaka is a leading department store conveniently connected to Namba Station in Osaka, Japan, hosting a wealth of shops and restaurants. For this article, we were guided through this long-standing Osaka icon by one of their knowledgeable PR staff to uncover the best local products and souvenirs they have to offer. If you’re planning a shopping trip to Osaka, don’t miss this exclusive guide to Takashimaya Osaka!
Mar 31 2023 (Mar 30 2023)
*This article was written in collaboration with Takashimaya.
About Takashimaya's Osaka Store
Takashimaya Osaka is a long-standing department store housed in a grand-old building on a 78,000 m² plot in the bustling commercial center of Namba in Osaka, Japan. It is the largest-scale store of the Takashimaya Group, and one of Osaka’s most iconic examples of modern architecture. It is directly connected to Namba Station on the Nankai Electric Railway, and is perfectly located for travelers to drop by on their way to Kansai International Airport for a meal and last-minute shop.
Takashimaya Osaka’s B1 floor presents a wealth of food, like confectionery and delicacies from around the country, along with books and stationery. The 1st floor hosts women’s accessories, cosmetics, international brands, and jewelry; the 2nd to 5th floors are for men’s and women’s clothing and sporting goods; the 6th floor has children’s clothing, toys, and household goods; and the 7th floor has an exhibition hall holding events, plus a tax refund counter. Each floor also has a “Pop-up Station” where craftspeople, creators, and brands from across Japan sell their wares for a limited time, so you never know what treasures you’ll encounter! For something to eat after shopping, the 7th to 9th floors are packed with a collection of renowned restaurants and cafes.
7F – 9F: NAMBA DiNiNG MAiSON
One of Takashimaya Osaka’s biggest appeals are its three floors of 36 restaurants. Options range from Japanese food, like “kaisendon” seafood bowls, “yakitori” fried chicken, and tempura, to Taiwanese, Korean, and Western cuisines. Highlights include Fukutaro, a popular okonomiyaki restaurant with lines out the door; Maguro Entoki, originally from the Kuromon Market and famous for its “maguro” tuna bowls; and the long-established Mimiu, who serve their specialty “udon-suki” consisting of udon noodles in a special dashi broth with plenty of fresh toppings. In addition, the Japanese restaurant, ON THE SQUARE, offers nutritious sets of soup and side dishes.
After being guided through the restaurant floors, we were taken to an eatery serving “kuwayaki,” a rare Osakan specialty. Kuwayaki is a type of “kushiyaki” (grilled food on skewers) that spread after WWII from locals grilling food on hoes due to a shortage of iron plates. This one-of-a-kind dish is available at Kushiyakitei in Takashimaya Osaka, who cook with a variety of techniques like steaming, deep frying, and broiling, in addition to traditional grilling, to yield a wide range of textures.
6F: Add Homespun Beauty to Your Daily Life
“Mingei” refers to “products that ordinary people need in their everyday life.” Yanagi Soetsu, a philosopher dubbed the “father of the Mingei Movement,” believed that “beauty” could be found in common and utilitarian objects made by nameless artisans, calling such objects “mingei” (from minshuteki kogei; common people’s crafts). In an age filled with mass production, handmade items add rustic texture and authenticity to our lives. Keen to find out more, we headed down to Takashimaya Osaka’s mingei area on the 6th floor.
Osaka Naniwa Tinware
Tinware is thought to have arrived in Japan about 1,300 years ago. Initially, it was as valuable as gold and silver, and only the privileged in the Imperial Court, powerful Shinto shrines, and the aristocratic and samurai classes could afford it. However, after mass production started in Osaka during the Edo Period (1603-1868), it was adopted by the general public as a local craft. In 1983, tinware was recognized by the government as a Traditional Craft of Japan.
Tin is softer and more difficult to manage than other metals, and is often processed by hand, reflecting the skills and experience of the craftspeople. Tin is rust-resistant and prevents bacteria in liquids from propagating. It also has fantastic heat conductivity, keeping drinks at just the right temperature. It is an excellent craft that combines beauty, practicality, and durability.
The city of Sakai in Osaka is one of Japan’s three major producers of knives, and is particularly famous for its handmade “uchihamono” (forged blades), the go-to for many professional chefs. To make these knives, soft iron and steel are heated and stretched through hammering to become denser and stronger. The resulting knives are sharp and durable, and will cut food without damaging the fibers or cellular membranes to retain peak freshness and flavor.
Takashimaya Osaka has showcases full of top-tier Sakai knives. While they all look wonderfully sharp, it's important to actually hold a knife before buying it to make sure that it suits you, so don’t hesitate to talk to a salesperson. There are also a variety of utensils such as slicers and more, making it paradise for those who love to cook!
B1: Gourmet Food + Osaka Products and Souvenirs
The most popular floor of a Japanese department store is usually the “depachika” (combination of “department” and “chika,” meaning basement). These floors are packed with ready-to-eat foods, confectionery, and seasonal delicacies to treat yourself to or purchase as gifts. With the help of Takashimaya's PR team, we picked out our favorites!
GOKAN is a popular pâtisserie with branches in the Kansai region. It focuses on “people,” “freshness,” “seasonality,” “terroir,” and “quality ingredients” to make confectionery that bring out the natural flavors of ingredients by working with farmers around Japan and creating tailored recipes.
Our colleague from Kansai suggested GOKAN’s famous “Lemonsan,” a moist, fluffy cake with chocolate combined with the rich aromas of sour lemons grown under the bright sun of the Setouchi region. As we visited just before Valentine’s Day, there were also a bunch of limited edition chocolates on sale, like the “Matcha Truffle Gokan Kyonoha*,” which mixes sweet chocolate with the gentle bitterness and aroma of Uji matcha green tea. We can’t wait to see what enticing flavors they come up with next time we visit!
*A limited-time product, no longer available.
Bâton d'or comes from Glico, one of Japan’s leading confectionery companies, and has stores in the Kansai region and Fukuoka. The name means “golden stick” in French, and the main flavors are “Sugar Butter” and “Chocolate.” While appearing similar to Glico’s classic “Pocky,” it flaunts an original recipe made with a generous helping of clarified and fermented butter and a smooth chocolate coating of Ecuadorian cocoa, known for its floral aroma.
In addition, Bâton d'or sticks are rested for several days to allow the butter and chocolate to combine to form an even smoother texture. Other flavors include white strawberry and matcha green tea, alongside limited-time renditions such as V.S.O.P brandy (winter only). We always make sure to pick up a bunch whenever we’re in Osaka!
Ek Chuah is a Japanese chocolatier that seeks to “go beyond reproducing the flavors of European chocolates by connecting them with Japan’s climate and natural features.” It selects seasonal ingredients from around Japan to create chocolates that suit the Japanese palate, yielding an innovative lineup with unique flavors that catch the eye.
Asking the staff for a recommendation, we were told that the “Salted Chocolate” is an excellent all-rounder. The natural salt topping gives it a kick of umami, balancing beautifully with the rich flavor of the chocolate—definitely one to try!
We were also delighted by the limited-time Valentine’s Day chocolate* developed jointly with Yamatsu Tsujita, a long-established Japanese spice company. This pack of five chocolates each has a different, offbeat flavor - chili pepper, yuzu, sansho pepper, sesame, and nori seaweed. It’s hard to imagine such potent ingredients pairing with chocolate, but we've heard nothing but positive reviews! We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on Ek Chuah to see what other strange and wonderful flavors they invent!
*A limited-time product, no longer available.
“Kaki no tane” is a rice-based, peanut-sized Japanese snack with a salty soy sauce flavor and a hint of chili that goes well with alcohol. Kakitane Kitchen makes them three times bigger than usual with a hollow inside for an even more satisfying and addictive bite.
Kakitane Kitchen’s kaki no tane also come in a variety of tantalizing flavors, all showcasing the ingenuity of the creators and essence of the ingredients. Popular choices include “Zeitaku Cheese,” and “Takoyaki Sauce,” which is only available in Osaka. After much debate, we went with the Takoyaki Sauce and “Wasabi Soy Sauce” flavors. Takoyaki Sauce perfectly replicates the rich, savory flavor of the sauce used on “takoyaki” (octopus batter balls), and the Wasabi Soy Sauce has an invigorating kick of spice that whets the appetite. It’s easy to see why Japanese people love kaki no tane so much!
Meika Hyakusen presents a wide assortment of confections from across Japan, including a bunch from Osaka. Of the many choices, our eyes were immediately drawn to the “Strong Coffee Manju,” made through a collaboration between Fukujudo Hidenobu, a renowned traditional Osaka sweets maker, and the beloved coffee shop Marufuku Coffeeten. Manju are a flour-based treat filled with sweet bean paste found throughout the country. Curious to see what a coffee-flavored manju tastes like, we grabbed some and sat down to eat.
Upon opening the package, we were greeted by the enticing aroma of coffee. Taking a bite, we found the coffee’s bitterness and sweetness of the brown sugar to be a heavenly combination, instantly explaining why they often sell out as soon as they are stocked! Meika Hyakusen also sells limited-edition products on specific days, and many of the hit items are long gone by closing time. So, if you find something that piques your interest, don’t wait around!
Essential Services for International Customers
5% Off Shopper’s Card
Takashimaya offers the Takashimaya Shopper’s Card to international tourists, so if you are eligible to shop tax-free, you can pick up a Takashimaya Shopper’s Card by showing your passport at a shop counter. With this card, you’ll receive 5%* off from purchases over 3,000 yen (excl. tax). The card for each Takashimaya features a different design of Hello Kitty in front of the city’s most iconic sights, making it worth keeping as a souvenir!
*Excludes some shops and brands
Click here for details on the Takashimaya Shopper’s Card
Tax-free shopping is one of the main perks of being an international tourist in Japan. To get your tax refund at Takashimaya Osaka, bring your passport, purchased items, receipts, and the credit card you used to the Tax Refund Counter on the 7th floor.
Foreign Currency Exchange Machines and International ATMs
There is a foreign currency exchange machine on the 1st floor, and an international ATM on the B1 floor of Takashimaya Osaka. If your card can be used internationally, you should be able to withdraw Japanese yen from it.
*Exchange rates and fees vary by bank, so be sure to check with your bank.
How to Get to Takashimaya Osaka
Thankfully, Takashimaya Osaka is very easy to get to! Use the “No. 4 Exit” towards the Nankai Electric Railway or the “NAMBA Nannan E2 Exit” of Namba Station on the Osaka Metro Midosuji Line, Yotsubashi Line, and Sennichimae Line or Osaka Namba Station on the Hanshin Electric Railway and Kintetsu Railway. If you are taking the Nankai Electric Railway, get off at Namba Station and go to the “3F North Gate” and you’ll see an entrance to the 3F of Takashimaya Osaka just to the right.
Takashimaya Osaka is a convenient location for tourists on their way to the airport to pick up brand-name Japanese products, household goods, and souvenirs while dining on some of Osaka’s best food. For some last minute shopping in Kansai, be sure to stop by Takashimaya Osaka!
*Prices, product designs, and other info are accurate as of January 31, 2023.
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.