Osaka fashion: Namba and its independent spirit
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The magic of the Kansai region is the huge diversity which can be found throughout this part of Japan. This applies to the high octane nature of Osaka with huge skyscrapers, buzzing fashion and a city which is a powerhouse in its own right. Alternatively, you have the high culture of Nara within a short distance of time and for visitors to Kansai or locals who like to travel; then you are clearly spoilt for choice.
Osaka is full of life and in Namba you can feel the vibrancy of Osaka culture and this applies to fashion, entertainment and manzai. I often find aspects of Tokyo life easy because the comfort zone reality applies but in Namba you can feel a real “edge” and “vibrancy” which is hard to find in Tokyo.
Namba also ticks for 24 hours and the night time aspect of Namba applies to the sexual nature of the Dotonbori area and other forms of entertainment where people can unwind and forget about the seriousness of life.
During the day Namba is awash with different types of activities and the fashion scene is extremely vibrant. Added to this is manzai which is a unique comedy style and the famous Yoshimotokougyo School is located in this part of Osaka. Therefore, you will often see many young students practicing outside in one part of Namba and it is refreshing to see the younger generation so happy and not worrying about what others think.
Fashion is also buzzing and Namba ladies have their own distinct fashion and style. This also applies to the different thought pattern because the confidence factor and more outgoing style seems more natural. Often in Tokyo, you can feel a more timid way of life outside certain notorious areas but Osaka culture on the whole is more open and energetic.
In Namba you have trendy and fashionable areas like Amerikamura and Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade. Also, electronic areas and manga can be found and Nipponbashi Den Den Town is popular. Meanwhile, the Dotonbori district is famous for entertainment and the innocence and vibrancy of manzai can be felt alongside trendy fashion areas and the seedier nature of nighttime.
This part of Osaka is also blessed with a nice waterway system and it is a nice place to relax and sit out and you will see many tourist boats on busy days. This also latches on to the genuine buzz of Namba. Therefore, even if you are by yourself you feel that you belong because of the ambient atmosphere.
Fashion in the Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade and adjacent area surrounding this shopping complex is awash with fashion stores and you have a huge choice. Also, true to the nature of Namba, it is also a fusion of trendy boutiques with an independent spirit alongside well-known chain retail stores.
Fashion is really fascinating in Namba because of the options which are available. This applies to the high fashion of expensive department stores and influential brands alongside trendy boutiques which have a more independent feel. The combination compliments each other and for this reason you will see many different styles and the more you venture, then the more you will see the alternative side of fashion in Namba.
In the area called Amerikamura you have a reported 3,000 shops to pick from and the choice is really diverse and clearly you need time out to wander and find stores which have that special feel which each individual person is looking for. The youthful nature and buzz of this part of Osaka can be felt and domestic boutiques like Urban Research, Ships, Anna Sui, Stussy, and countless others, can be found in this vibrant and fashionable area.
Other places to visit in Namba are Namba Parks, National Bunraku Theater, Hozenji Yokocho Alley, Kuromon Ichiba Market (Emmeiji Market) and Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum. Also, for pure energy then the Dotonbori area is a must and it is nice to relax along the river and this applies to shopping, entertainment and many food outlets.
At night Dotonbori changes because the area is awash with stunning ladies and a different Namba comes into being during the night time and early hours of the morning.
Overall, Namba is a must place to visit in Osaka because of fantastic fashion and the natural raw energy which can be felt.
Osaka certainly is not in the shadow of any other major city in the world because it is a huge and highly developed city. Osaka is extremely vibrant and in Namba you will feel the raw energy and atmosphere of a place which is alive at all times during the day.
http://www.infomapjapan.com/sight_Namba.phtml (Info about Namba)
http://www.osaka-info.jp/en/search/detail/shopping_5160.html (Namba Walk info)
photo from http://www.flickr.com