Namba Walk is an impressive expanse of shops and restaurants, squirrelling through subway Midosuji Line Namba station at a length of 715m from east to west. It’s a fascinating, and very commercialised, way of utilising dead space in an underground station. Having travelled on more than one subway system in Japan, I can attest that Namba Walk isn’t an unusual feature. For now though, let’s delve deeper into Namba, and marvel at what it has to offer.
Shop at your stop!
As previously mentioned, it’s basically an underground shopping mall. Instead of having vacant, crudely lit tunnels to connect the various subway lines (I’m looking at you London), the empty space is instead filled with glossy shops and trendy eateries. Neat right? Namba is a huge station, one of the major interchanges for Osaka, with some lines a 5-10 minute walk away. Providing you aren’t in a rush to catch another train, you can entertain yourself on the walk.
Massage chairs anyone?
Surprisingly though, it’s more than just sell sell sell. The area is basically two aisles on the north and south, split into three zones. It houses five open areas too, with the “whale zone” being my favourite. Here, there is a beautiful bronze statue of a breaching whale, and is an area dedicated to relaxation and meeting friends. You won’t see that at Cockfosters. Also, check out “Ark Park”, on 1st Avenue, home to replica porcelain panel paintings depicting the works of Chicago’s Art Institute.
The breaching whale, whale park’s centrepiece.
With shops and restaurants open from 1000-2100 daily, there’s plenty of time to soak it all up. Namba station also has an array of convenience stores, such as Lawson’s and Family Mart, which are 24 hours, so you can always grab an espresso when needed on that early morning commute. Another bonus? There’s free wifi throughout.
One of the many shops Namba Walk has to offer.
Even if you aren’t using the station itself, Namba Walk is a great rainy day activity. See if you can find the bakery that sells kitty shaped bread…
Check out the website for a downloadable floor guide, and news and events here. Available in Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean.