Fukushima is a cool Osakaneighborhood with a growing reputation as a tourist hub. It’s well-known primarily because of its superb proximity to downtown Umeda— it’s only one train stop or a short walk away. Fukushima is both upscale and funky with fancy hotels and shopping centers sitting next to neat creative spaces and hipster bars. There’s also a monthly fortune telling festival!
Bar hop your way through hip haunts located under the train tracks or stroll along the Dojima River for stellar night views…
Tourists typically end up in Fukushima because it’s a nice area to stay in. However, if you’re already in the neighborhood, don’t be so quick to leave — have a look around! You can find shopping, shrines, and historical sites nearby without worrying about the crowds of places like Umeda and Namba.
Let’s dig deeper into why you should put this exciting area on your Osaka itinerary.
The (Curious) Gate Tower Building
From street level, this might appear to be a typical, if not uniquely cylindrical, office building. But crane your head back and you might think you’re hallucinating — there’s a freaking highway running straight through it!
The result of a decades-long land dispute settled in the 1980s, this building is a sight to behold. And yes, there are people working up there. Extra durable construction and soundproof walls keep the employees toiling above the highway safe and productive.
While it doesn’t include any highways or other roads going through it, the Minami Corporation Building is also worth checking out. Designed by famous architect Yabe Matakichi and constructed in 1934, this historic site was originally a bank. It now houses the Minami apparel company but is registered as a historic property for its striking Greek columns and stone construction.
Hanshin Hotel Spa
Upscale Hanshin Hotel may not be affordable for everyone, but its lavish onsen(hot spring) facility is open to the public and surprisingly affordable. The day spa plan costs ¥2,700 and includes access to multiple baths, a jacuzzi, and their “relaxation room” equipped with massage chairs. Treat yo’self!
Fukushima Shopping Street
After taking a soak, you’re ready to search for unique bargains on Fukushima Shopping Street. This retro road was recently renovated to revitalize the community, and it’s working! There are tons of interesting shops and tasty restaurants to explore. It’s easy to find thanks to the large UFO-shaped neon sign with “Fukushima” written on it.
Fukushima Tenmangu Shrine
Tucked away among lush greenery, this ancient shrine is atmospheric and peaceful. It’s smaller and less famous, but also less crowded than it’s sister shrine Osaka Tenmangu,which hosts the annual Tenjin Festival.
The nightlife alone makes Fukushima worth the trip even if you aren’t staying there. Bar hop your way through hip haunts located under the train tracks just outside Fukushima Station, stroll along the Dojima River for stellar night views, or check out one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants. We recommend Torisho Ishii for yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), Hanakujira for oden (stew), or Sobakiri Karani for artfully handmade soba noodles.
Perhaps the highlight is the monthly fortune telling festival, an event unique even among Japanese. On the fourth Friday of every month, the festival is held on Fukushima Shopping Street, which is locally known for divination. Even if you miss the festival, you can get your palm read anytime! We predict that you’ll have a great time either way.