To most, Osaka is almost synonymous to blinding neon signs and mouth-watering street food. But there's more of those than what you'll find in the famous Dotonbori. So before I share with you everything about that tourist magnet, let me first take you to Shinsekai.
Shinsekai translates to "new world", and it's not hard to see why it was named that way. Its popping signages and dizzying colors send you right into retro Japan. Clearly, it was dressed up in the peak of that era, and was since left untouched. Nothing says "stuck in the 80's" quite like this place, and that is definitely NOT a bad thing.
To get here, take the ever-reliable rail transit to JR Shin-Imamiya. From the train station, the place itself is a block or two away. You'll know you're in the right place when you see an explosion of colors, shapes and (to most tourists-- foreign) characters. In the middle of the colourful neighborhood stands the Tsutenkaku Tower, which was heavily-inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Although not as tall as its French counterpart, the steel tower has an observation deck where visitors can have a birds-eye view of the metropolitan.
While walking the streets, you'll notice a couple of golden (or in some cases, wooden) statues that may come in different sizes, but look the same. These are icons of Billiken, a deity of good luck or "God of Things as They Ought To Be". Another thing you may see in abundance in the area? Pachinko parlors, or heaven to those addicted with the pinball-like Japanese gambling game.
Shinsekai looks absolutely wonderful in daylight, but I'm sure it looks just as stunning at nighttime! However, the neighborhood has a notorious reputation, perhaps mostly due to its history with the yakuza or Japan's original crime syndicates. Now, the area keeps its infamous rank for being allegedly littered with homeless people; maybe it is for that same reason this vibrant district is left out of most lists of must-see places in Osaka. However, the danger that looms over it is almost outdated, if not undeserved. So if you have at least a morning to spare (before going to the more famous Dotonbori, maybe?), do drop by the district of Shinsekai!
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Note: I did not use Everfilter on the photos (I use Adobe Lightroom for post-processing), but I was actually aiming for that effect. Just thought it worked perfectly with Shinsekai's aesthetic. Hope you guys loved it!